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Johnny Conway
(1948 - )  

Johnny Conway and the 720km/h rocket-powered bike he designed to set new records.
Australian Women's Weekly, Wednesday 1 June 1977, page 4 Source: Trove

Johnny Conway and the 720km/h rocket-powered bike he designed to set new records.
Australian Women's Weekly, Wednesday 1 June 1977, page 4 Source: Trove

Mach 1


The “Mach 1" LSR car design was debuted in Hot Rod magazine’s “Rodding at Random” column sometime back then. It told of a car which looked like a long skinny shoe box, 19 inches tall by 3 feet wide and 34 feet long. It had a 7 foot tall tail fin at the rear of it for stability. It was powered by 32 Sanron twin rotor rotary “Wankel” engines running on nitro methane turning 16 -10 inch in diameter drive wheels. The engines each displaced 152 cu. in. And developed 410 h.p. apiece. That makes it a 13,120 horse power, 16 wheeled, 4,200 lb. wheel driven LSR car with a claimed top speed of 780 miles per hour! 780 miles per hour is well above the speed of sound.
To help with traction the Mach 1 was to run on an 18 mile long rubberized track built specifically for the car. The car used parachutes and a rocket engine in the nose to slow it down as well as H2O2 rocket jets in the nose to help steer it and generate down force. Conway was to lay down in the car steering it while watching a TV screen as cameras were to be used to see the course. Instead of a racing fire suit, Conway was to wear a “ metal alloy suit of armor” 1/8 inch thick 

Source: Sonic Wind March 2008

Johnny Conway and his Sky Leaping

Australia's "Evel Knievel" plans some staggering feats, like a jump over Ayers Rock

JOHNNY CONWAY estimates some 300 million people will watch him on world television when he jumps 1.6km - almost a mile - over Ayers Rock in a rocket-powered bike in the next few weeks.

This is the first of three massive jumps planned by the man who has been dubbed "Australia's Evel Knievel."

(Evel Knievel, a daredevil American stuntman in his late 30s. is reputed to be one of the richest men in the business.) He has worked with Knievel in films and stunt shows in America.

Johnny Conway intends to jump the Sydney Heads (2.4km). in September and the Rip, Melbourne (3.5km) in January. In April 197S he plans to jump the Grand Canyon in America, at a spot where it is 4km wide. He will also attempt to break the sound barrieron land, in a car at Lake Eyre. SA.

He has issued a challenge to Knievel to take part in the Grand Canyon jump in April. (In 74. Knievel attempted to jump his Skycycle across Idaho's Snake River Canyon - he failed.)

Is Conway stupid or just plain crazy?

Neither. He is a conservative 29-year-old engineer living in the Melbourne suburb of Parkdale.

The motorbike has a rocket motor and a rotary engine, fins and a huge deceleration parachute. When it leaves the ramp for the jumps, it will be moving at more than 720km/h, looking more like a rocket than a bike.

Johnny will wear two parachutes in order to bail out safely if necessary. He has spent four years designing both the bike and the cars. He has an auto-motive engineering degree from America, and is a qualified pilot. He has also had considerable experience in racing and stunt driving, in Australia and America.

Johnny's cars are as fantastic and futuristic as his bike. The Mach I world land speed record car. which is powered by 36 twin wedge rotary engines driving 16 wheels, will be used to raise the present world land speed record of 654km/ h for wheel driven cars.

The Mach 2 car will be used initially to break the present rocket-jet car record of 995km/h.

Back to the Ayers Rock jump. After Johnny announced his intentions recently, the Northern Territory Reserves Board said they would not allow the jump. If he does jump, they will prosecute him. Johnny says the jump will go ahead as planned, probably in June, because he has enough monetary support from backers to pay any fines.

Highlights of the jumps will also be included in a full-length motion picture named "Mach 1" after the first car. "Mach 1" will be filmed over the next 15 monthsby an Australian syndicate.

We head for a local park where Johnny shows us that bike. A small crowd quickly gathers. One man asks, "What are you going to do with that, mate?" Johnny replies, "Jump Ayers Rock." The man looks at his children, they smirk at each other, dismiss him as a nut and walk off. But Johnny Conway is as confident as ever.

Australian Women's Weekly, Wednesday 1 June 1977, page 4 Source: Trove



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