Jet-Powered Shopping Trolley Races a Garden Shed and a Toilet

The eccentric side of British motor sports
By Tom Ozimek
Tom Ozimek
Tom Ozimek
Tom Ozimek is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times. He has a broad background in journalism, deposit insurance, marketing and communications, and adult education.
September 18, 2018Updated: September 18, 2018

A toilet, a shopping trolley, and a garden shed, all raced at high speed at an event in northern England Sept.15 to Sept. 16, showcasing the eccentric side of motor sports.

The toilet, which a team of young students had rigged out with wheels and an old motorcycle engine, reached just over 70 miles per hour (113.5 kph), breaking Britain’s speed limit for cars.

The shopping trolley, mounted on go-cart wheels, did 91.55 mph (147 kph), with its maker, 59-year-old engineer Matt McKeown, clinging on as he straddled its jet engine.

Fastest of all was the shed, which topped 100 mph at the time trials on the runway at an airfield in Elvington, North Yorkshire.

Straightliners, the motor sports company that organised the event, said all three had set new world records.

An Eccentric Vehicle’s Humble Beginnings

McKeown told The Sun that he built his unusual jet-powered racer from an abandoned cart he found in a ditch.

The engineer told the paper in 2016 that he fitted the trolley with go-kart wheels and affixed a 150 horsepower engine from a Chinook helicopter.

At the time he claimed his vehicle had a top speed of 80 mph (129 kph).

McKeown entered his jet-powered trolley in a motorcycle road race in Worcestershire, England.

On Sept. 4, 2016, McKeown competed in the Shelsley Walsh Hill climb, which hits a steep 1:7 incline at its peak.

According to The Sun, McKeown even managed to beat a number of conventional bikes.

“Everything about it gets very twitchy and unpredictable the faster you go and the stability drops off dramatically, so going out there and pushing over 60mph on the first run, was very, very sketchy,” McKeown told The Sun.

He told the paper that he had fitted his vehicle with a go-kart chassis for stability at speed.

“The trolley has a go-kart chassis because it doesn’t go in a straight line with trolley wheels. You also need a jet engine and a big one which puts about 700lbs of thrust out the back. It is capable of doing 80 mph,” he said.

Reuters contributed to this report.