Two friends from Romford, who last year claimed to have exceeded the speed of light in a modified Nissan Micra, have admitted that the surprise result may have been caused by ‘Dave forgetting to start the stopwatch’.
Dave Gordon (19) and Wayne Thomas (18) became overnight celebrities in 2011 after clocking a staggering average speed of just over 672,000,000mph on a twenty mile stretch of the M25. The ‘faster-than-light’ speed, previously thought by physicists to be impossible, was achieved in Wayne’s X reg Micra, with tinted windows and large spoiler. But the Essex teenagers have now announced that they have been unable to reproduce the results and that the feat could have been down to a timing error.
‘We knew that my speedo was a bit dodgy, so we timed the attempt using a stopwatch. Dave started it when we passed a sign saying the services were in twenty miles, and stopped it when we got to the services.’ explained Mr Thomas, ‘We took the timings to my dad and got him to work out with a calculator how fast we’d gone. To be honest we were both a bit surprised when he told us we’d gone over six hundred million miles an hour, especially as the speedo only goes up to one hundred and twenty, but we put it down to the new go-faster stripes and UV lights that I'd just got fitted that morning.’
After several failed attempts to reproduce the amazing run in the presence of independent observers, the pair have come to the conclusion that they may have had an equipment failure.
‘Obviously you try to check all these things before announcing your results, but sometimes something gets missed. We checked that we’d definitely gone twenty miles, and we got my brother, who’s got a GCSE in maths, to check the calculations. They were both fine. But we’re now thinking that Dave might have accidentally reset the stopwatch just as we reached the finish.’
Scientists were immediately sceptical of the initial result as Nissan Micras are generally expected to vaporise at such high speeds, or at any speed exceeding 80mph, and Dave has admitted the there were doubts from the beginning.
‘We did both have our suspicions that something could be wrong when we learned that we’d gone faster than light. Especially as we were overtaken by a transit van while we were doing it.’