Fastest speed in a jet-propelled go-kart
Skylar January
114.5916 mile(s) per hour
United States (Lyons)

The fastest speed in a jet-propelled go-kart is 114.59 mph (184.41 kpm) and was achieved by Skylar January (USA) in Lyons, Kansas, USA, on 8 October 2021.

This has been on Skylar's mind for about 2 years. "I researched different jet engines, evaluated drag coefficients, and kart platforms for about 18 months and then about 6 months of build time to complete the project. There were mainly 3 people involved in this build. I did the research involving drag, drag coefficients and the different components that I needed. My dad, Jim January, helped me with the actual construction of this project because he had the shop and the welding equipment that I needed. My brother, Ryan January, helped with the electrical components. He understood the pulse width modulation controllers that would control the jet controllers and helped me build those."

Skylar is an Agronomist and runs their own company which takes up most of their time. "This was a weekend project that consumed my thoughts and free time for about 2 years. I would be working and then a thought would come in and consume the rest of my day until I could find a solution to that problem. The testing was my favorite part. To test out the electronics and to get a feel for how the jet engines operated, I put 1 of the 2 jet engines used on a moped. There was no law against it so I took to the streets of Lyons, KS and drove the jet powered moped around my hometown. Nobody could believe what they were seeing and I became the infamous jet guy around town. 911 became very acquainted with callers talking about rocket motorcycles to jet bikes. I knew the laws so the law enforcement officers could not stop my testing on the streets as long as I followed the traffic laws. My favorite part is when I was going down the street and a child heard a jet noise, looked up into the sky confused and then plugged his ears as I drove past. He looked at me with disbelief and confusion. His look was priceless. The moped only got 1 mile per gallon of jet fuel so I had to place fuel cans around town to have fueling locations to go anywhere very far. As far as the kart itself, besides for having a fuel line bust, it was very straight forward and I worked out most of the kinks with the moped before transitioning to the kart."

Skylar really pushed the jets to the limits on this record and had to exceed the maximum allowed full thrust time of these jet engines and the jets were starting to overheat. "I would have to add additional thrust to reach A higher speed. Adding afterburners to the jets would increase thrust by another 30-40% but would void the warranty. If I needed to reach higher speeds, this is what would have to happen."

As newton 3rd law of motion states, for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. For every force that the jet engines provide, it would apply that force to the kart resulting in motion in the opposite direction. If the jets are pointed backwards, this would propel the kart forward. The jet engines ingest air, burns jet fuel and spits out hot, faster moving air out the back resulting in thrust. Basically, they are small fans that are spinning at 105,000 RPM and run off of fuel. The shifter kart rolling chassis that I used was a kart that had no engine to supply any power to the wheels. I took off all the weight that I could to reduce the amount of thrust that I would need including sprockets that usually provided power to wheels.

"Growing up, the only book I went for at the Scholastic book fair was the Guinness World Records book. I loved sitting down and browsing all the amazing records and in awe of the people doing these amazing feats. To be in the same book as these people would be a humbling and a dream come true. I can upload more high quality images of the attempt if that means having my picture in the book."