IF NEW-FOUND movie star and children’s favourite Postman Pat fancied lining up against Lewis Hamilton on the grid at the Monaco Grand Prix this weekend, Leeds duo Dave Taylor and Tom Armitage might have the answer.
The two drag-racing fans have spent the winter upgrading the world-record-breaking post van they built last year from a coin-operated children’s ride.
So, should Pat and Jess feel a need for speed, they can rest assured they can now call on a vehicle capable of 0-60mph in three seconds and a searing top speed of 110mph over a mile in a straight line.
The original van, which set the world record for a coin-operated ride at 101mph over a quarter of a mile in September last year, had a custom-built chassis bolted to a 500cc motorbike engine running on go-kart wheels and tyres.
The newer, faster version which ran at Elvington this week boasts a modified gearbox and runs on nitrous oxide.
“It’s actually faster than your average Porsche or Lamborghini,“ said Dave. “We know because we ran it against a Porsche - although the driver wasn’t happy to admit it.”
Dave - a 33-year-old roofer from Bramley - and 26-year-old fabricator Tom from Pudsey were inspired to build their pocket rocket during trips to tracks around the UK.
“We often saw the children’s rides when we stopped at motorway service stations and turning one into a dragster started as a joke - but then we saw Pat’s van on Ebay for £250 and it sort of went from there,” said Dave
“To be honest, we’re a little surprised we haven’t heard from anyone involved in promoting the new Postman Pat film yet - but we’re ready and waiting. We did get a call from the Top Gear team after the first world-record run in September but, sadly, had to decline because of work.
“However, we’re now thinking about building a new van which would still be modelled on Pat’s but would be a bit bigger. We wouldn’t be able to enter it for any records as it wouldn’t be based on a coin-operated ride - but it would still be a bit of fun.”