The world is full of iniquities, curiosities, and people who want to push boundaries we never even knew were set there in the first place. It is on that note that I’d like to introduce you to the surprisingly competitive world of toilet racing.
In some sense, I really should not be as shocked as I am that trying to create the world’s fastest toilet is actually a thing that multiple people have attempted — and succeeded — to do. No matter how hard we might try to deny it, this world has a such a fascination with toilet humour that there has to be hundreds of people out there at least who are willing to say that they are the proud driver of a speedy porcelain throne. But I was shocked nonetheless, and now I’d like to invite you to think outside the bathroom alongside me as I take you on this journey.
I’d like to introduce you to four masters of the commode: Edd China, Colin Furze, and Jolene Van Vugt and Paul Sender.
First on the list is Edd China, who won the 2011 title of World’s Fastest Toilet in the Guinness Book of World Records with his “Bog Standard”. If China’s name sounds familiar, it’s because you might have seen him as the mechanic and presenter on Discovery Channels Wheeler Dealers. Or, maybe on Top Gear, Scrapheap Challenge, or Fifth Gear. He even has his own YouTube Channel.
See, China has made a business out of world records. Aside from the toilet, he’s known for creating the fastest shed, bed, and milk float, alongside the world’s largest motorised shopping cart. So, it’s not really a surprise that this is the guy who would kick off the whole fastest toilet fiasco and secure the title quickly.
The Bog Standard one is a pretty loose interpretation of ‘toilet’ as we Americans would consider it. Instead, it’s more along the lines of a British toilet — so, a motorcycle with a sidecar tub, sink, and laundry bin. There’s no actual toilet involved, presumably because that is, uh, kinda weird. Still, he set the bar high for the rest of the world: the Bog Standard cruised to the title at 68km/h.
But how can anyone be content with a fast toilet that doesn’t actually include a toilet? Plumber Colin Furze certainly didn’t. In fact, he went all out to make this an incredibly accurate portrayal of what it’d be like to use a toilet really really fast: trousers around the ankles, newspaper, flushable water in the basin, and all.
This thing is kind of awesome. This is what I’d imagine when I picture the world’s fastest toilet — and then some.
It’s equipped with a 140 cc motorbike engine tucked away under the seat, a shifter in the form of a toilet cleaner, and it also almost reaches England’s national speed limit.
Colin’s portable potty made its record attempt at the Shakespeare County Raceway, where it set a solid record of 84km/h in 2013. It’s still a record that’s itching to be broken.
But there’s been some controversy. Any good racing series needs a touch of drama, and the toilet competition is no different.
You see, somewhere in between Edd China’s water closet and Colin Furze’s actual toilet came Jolene Van Vugt. The Canadian stuntwoman touring with Nitro Circus is claimed to have set the record for the fastest toilet in 2012 when she hit a maximum speed of 74km/h within 100 meters at a showing in Australia. She was, effectively, faster than China, but her record would have been beaten by Furze.
The only problem was, she was never issued an official recognition by the Guinness World Records. GWR guidelines dictate that you need to perform two 100 meter runs and take the average speed from there; it seems that she didn’t perform this crucial step and thus lost out on the chance to hold the record.
Some people think that’s ok, though. Van Vugt’s toilet was set up in a go-kart-like contraption, but it wasn’t built by Van Vugt. Nitro Circus engineers were behind the design and crafting of the speedy latrine, and Van Vugt was just responsible for hopping on and banging out 100 meters as fast as she could. Some people, of course, argue that she was denied a World Record — and it seems unlikely that it will be looked into now, given that an even faster toilet outshone hers a year later, anyway.
Which brings us to Paul Sender. His fast toilet is, essentially, a port-a-potty on wheels. With a 1000bhp Boeing turbine engine because of course it does. He’s blown everybody out of the water because this absolute beast can reach speeds up to 70 mph. Yeah, sure, it cost him £5,000 to make the dang thing, but it also shoots fireballs as long as 9.14m away, so, really, who’s the winner here?
Sender, like Van Vugt, hasn’t had his contraption officially recognised by the GWR, but I feel like being known as The Guy Who Put A Boeing On A Port-A-Potty is kind of all the accolades I’d ever need in life.
It’s quite the phenomenon. What is it about the early 2010s that made people want to hop on their toilets and zoom off into the sunset? Are we spending too much time on the toilet that we start wondering so how can I make this more interesting? Or is it just the fact that toilet humour is a timeless classic and making jet-powered port-a-potties is literally the peak of humour?
All I know is, I’d love to see China, Furze, Van Vugt, and Sender come together to form an official FIA-sponsored toilet racing series.