The American Challenge for the World Water Speed Record





American Challenge is a consortium of successful business leaders, innovative technical engineers, and motor-sport professionals focused on returning the World Water Speed Record to the United States.


International competition: American Challenge's announcement revives U.S. participation in a rivalry that dates back to the early 1900's.   America has a long-standing history of participation in World Record Challenges.   Currently, teams outside the United States hold both the World Water and Land Speed Records.

Patriotism: American Challenge will elevate American patriotism and showcase our country's leadership in aerospace and high technology.   America's passion for its space program illustrates what can be done when our country unites behind a dream.


The American spirit is built on remarkable accomplishments such as our commitment to put the first man on the moon. An Extraordinary Endeavor: In a time when tens of millions of dollars are spent by many teams for the opportunity to challenge for a sailboat-racing trophy, The America's Cup, there are but a handful of people willing to pursue the challenge of being the fastest, ever.


Pilot: Russ Wicks has committed to bringing the World Water Speed Record back to the United States.   Wicks, who will pilot the American Challenge Craft, is currently known as the "Fastest American on Water".


Management Team: All members of the executive management team have proven track records, each having built successful public and private enterprises.


Technology Team: Members of the American Challenge Technical Team were chosen from among the nations premier high-technology laboratories.   They are leaders in the fields of: Fluid Dynamics, Structures, Stability and Control, Propulsion, Systems Simulation, Materials, Manufacturing, Test and Validation, Safety and Speed Record Operations.   American Challenge has obtained the best aerospace, hydro/fluid-dynamics, boat racing design and manufacturing expertise available anywhere in the world.


Technology Partners: American Challenge has established the world's most innovative interactive business environment.   This collaborative setting creates lasting and meaningful business opportunities for the Team's Technology Partners.


Craft: The American Challenge craft is being designed utilizing interactive 3D virtual prototypes in a CAD-neutral collaborative environment.   Extensive fluid dynamic simulation, wind tunnel modeling, and water tank testing will also be employed.   The craft will then be constructed much like a current military fighter jet, using the latest manufacturing processes.








What do others say about Russ Wicks? Overview: On June 15, 2000, Russ Wicks carved his name in the record books by breaking the World's longest standing major speed record.   Russ piloted the Miss Freei Unlimited Hydroplane across Lake Washington setting a new World Water Speed Record for Propeller-driven boats at 205.494 mph.   For his accomplishment he is included in the 'Guinness World Records Book' and was featured on the cover of the March 2003 issue of WIRED Magazine.


Motocross: Russ has over 25 years of experience in the racing world, including competition in over 700 races.   At the age of ten, Wicks started racing Motocross and became a fully sponsored professional at the age of 15.   He raced 125cc National Motorcross and 250cc Stadium Supercross, and was chosen as a factory support rider for team Honda.


Formula Cars: Wicks headed to France for his first taste of auto racing, where he was one of the first Americans to attend the famous Winfield Racing School and compete in the Pilote Elf Championship in turbocharged Formula Renaults at Circuit Paul Ricard.   Wicks then ran Formula 2000 in Canada and Formula Mazda in the United States, before driving for the Dave White Motorsports Team in Formula Super Vee.   Niki Lauda, Kevin Cogan, Michael Andretti and Danny Sullivan all were former drivers for White.


Indy Cars: During 1996, Wicks participated in several Indy Car test programs including driving for Antonio Ferrari's Indy Car Team.   Russ made history in 1997 when Tony George (owner of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway) re-opened the Speedway, after it had been closed for the month in preparation for the 500, to allow Russ to test for the PDM Indy Racing League Team.   During 2003, Wicks tested the Sam Schmidt Motorsports Infiniti Pro Series car at the California Speedway.


Unlimited Hydroplanes: Only two weeks after testing an Unlimited Hydroplane for the first time, Russ broke the World Water Speed Record for propeller-driven boats.   Wicks averaged 205.494 mph over the measured mile, while hitting a top speed of over 220 mph.   During 2000, Russ also tested the Miss Freei at the Evansville, Tri-Cities, and Seafair events.   Wicks ultimately qualified as an Unlimited driver while testing the legendary Miss Budweiser Unlimited Hydroplane in San Diego.


Business World: Russ has extensive experience in the business world specializing in strategic partnerships.   He is very active in the digital community and resides on the board of the Society for Internet Advancement San Francisco.   Wicks is an accomplished spokesperson and public speaker, and frequently receives invitations to speak at various industry events throughout the United States.








September 1, 2005   Featured on National Geographic Channel

July 30, 2005   Included In Museum of Flight Exhibit

March 9, 2005   Southern California Performance Boating Celebration

March 7, 2005   Intersport Announces American Speed King TV Series

February 14, 2005   American Challenge selects Impact Race Products

October 25, 2004   CreaTVworld to produce American Speedking

October 5, 2004   'Guinness World Records 2005'

August 21, 2004   Brian Towey wins Spec Miata Race

July 30, 2004   ACI Team Member Wins 24-Hour Race In Russia

June 20, 2004   Wicks visits B.A.R Formula 1 team at USGP

May 30, 2004   ACI Team Member Helps Win Indy 500

May 17, 2004   Guest Speaker at JT Open Management Review Board

March 2, 2004   Harbor Properties Sponsors Wicks

November 5, 2003   Times Square Billboards

October 1, 2003   Reality Television Series

September 25, 2003   'Guinness World Records 2004'

August 12, 2003   Rogers & Cowan joins PR Campaign

June 12, 2003   ACI's Brian Towey races Miata Cup

May 25, 2003   Ultimate Athlete Magazine Feature Story on Wicks

May 12, 2003   Evening Magazine Feature

May 7, 2003   American Challenge in the News

May 1, 2003   Keynote Speaker at PLM World Conference

February 5, 2003   WIRED Magazine Features Russ Wicks on Cover

February 3, 2003   Infiniti Pro Series Test at California Speedway

February 1, 2003   Indy Racing League's Infiniti Pro Series Test

January 13, 2003   Wicks returns on "The Motorsports Show"

October 22, 2002   Speed at Sea features Water Speed Record

October 1, 2002   Wicks Visits United States Grand Prix

September 25, 2002   'Guinness Book of Records 2003'

August 15, 2002   "The Bluebird Years"

July 25, 2002   Wicks is the Guest Speaker at the Seattle Yacht Club

June 13, 2002   Russ Wicks is a guest on "The Motorsports Show"

June 7, 2002   American Challenge in Professional BoatBuilder Magazine

June 1, 2002   Motor Boat Yachting features Water Speed Record

January 26, 2002   ACI Design and Technical Summit held in Seattle

January 15, 2002   400 MPH craft design to be unveiled at Miami Boat Show

January 2, 2002   Russ Wicks to fly with U.S. Navy Blue Angels

October 20, 2001   Wicks to speak to the Seafair Boat Club

October 10, 2001   American Challenge Promotional Tour

August 9, 2001   Wicks on NorthWest Cable News Morning Show

August 3, 2001   Quest for the World Water Speed Record

August 3, 2001   Analytical Methods, Inc. Partners American Challenge

August 3, 2001   SDRC to Partner American Challenge

August 3, 2001   Supergraphics to Partner Russ Wicks









On June 26, 1950, on Lake Washington near Sand Point, driver Stan Sayres and riding mechanic Ted Jones became the fastest men on water with a mile straightaway record of 160.323 mph in the Slo-mo-shun IV.   In July of 1952, Stan Sayres raised his own straightaway record to 178.497 in Lake Washington's East Channel.

Donald Campbell in a non-propeller-driven craft obliterated Stan Sayres record on July 23, 1955. Campbell's jet-powered Bluebird II averaged 202.32 mph over a kilometer course on Lake Ullswater in England.


In 1967 American Lee Taylor reclaimed the record that Donald Campbell had taken from Sayres.   Ten years later Ken Warby, an Australian made a successful attempt, which in 1978 he extended to 317.60 MPH.   Warby still holds the record, which has withstood all challenges.



1930's Record broken 11 times by Segrave, Don, Wood and Campbell
1931 (USA) Gar Wood first to break 100mph
1937 to 1949 (GB) Malcolm Campbell, 126.320 mph to 141.74 mph
1950's Record broken 8 times by (USA) Sayres & (GB)Campbell
1950 to 1954 (USA) Stan Sayres 160.323 mph & 178.497 mph
1955 to 1966 (GB) Donald Campbell 202.32 mph to 276.33 mph (1955, first jet-powered)
1967 to 1976 (USA) Lee Taylor 285.213 mph (1967, last record broken by USA)
1977 (Australia) Ken Warby 288.60 mph
1978 (Australia) Ken Warby 317.60 mph



ken-2.JPG (11077 bytes)

The Worlds Fastest Man on Water

The Record
317.60 mph / 511.11km/h
8th October 1978
"Spirit of Australia"
Blowering Dam
NSW Australia

Refer UIM certificate (Click Here)

spirit.jpg (83999 bytes)




1930's & 1940's (GB) Record broken 11 times by Campbell, Eyston & Cobb
1963 (USA) Craig Breedlove first to break 400 mph
1963 to 1982 (USA) Breedlove, Green, Arfons, Gabelich
1965 (USA) Craig Breedlove first to break 600 mph
1970 to 1982 (USA) Gary Gabelich 622.407 mph (1970, last record broken by USA)
1983 (GB) Richard Noble 633.468 mph
1997 (GB) Andy Green 714.144 mph & 763.035 mph

America's Cup:

1851-1983, Cup Held by Americans
1983 (Australia) Bertrand, Australia II
1987 (USA) Connors, Stars & Stripes
1988 (USA) Connors, Stars & Stripes
1992 (USA) Koch/Melges, America3
1995 (New Zealand) Coutts, Team New Zealand
2000 (New Zealand) Dickson, Team New Zealand
2003 (Switzerland) Coutts, Team Alinghi



Russ Wicks





American Challenge, Inc.
14150 NE 20th Street, Suite 102
Bellevue, WA 98007

For more information please call Brian Towey at (541) 490-6904











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American Challenge jet boat rear view




Technical Partners:

Autodesk, Inc.
Analytical Methods, Inc.
Cimtech, Inc.
Z Corporation

Marketing Partners:

radius Group, Inc.
SuperGraphics, Inc.



Adventure Signs & Graphics
Alki Auto Body
A Perfect Image Photo
BrightWorks Custom Painting
Marine Hardware, Inc.
Impact Race Products
Uflex Marine

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