Motor Sport News - - Historics -


Age: 62 Lives: Worm­ing­ford, Es­sex Blind speed record con­tender

He started com­pet­ing as a teenager “I raced for 20 years be­fore the ac­ci­dent. When I was a teenager I learnt to drive at home and as soon as I was 17 I went rallying at club level. I stopped when I was 20 as I had to go and earn a liv­ing. When I was 17 and 18 I used to mar­shal at Sil­ver­stone. That was the way you used to get free tick­ets. I re­mem­ber one night after ev­ery­one had gone home I went round the grand prix track in my Ford Es­cort 1100, which I did some rallying in.”

He re­turned when he was 40 “By the time I was 40 I had enough to­gether and had enough sense to do the thing I al­ways wanted to do. I car­ried on earn­ing a liv­ing un­til my crash. Be­ing blind is not as bad as be­ing to­tally deaf be­cause at least I can hold con­ver­sa­tions with peo­ple and get away with giv­ing the im­pres­sion that I can see.”

He chal­lenged the ‘Blind Ad­ven­turer’ “Miles Hil­ton-bar­ber, who is also blind, is about 67 but he and his brother both went blind in their early 20s as a re­sult of a hered­i­tary dis­ease. He is a mo­ti­va­tional speaker and when it came to the ques­tion and an­swer ses­sion at the end, I man­aged to get my ques­tion in first. He said he’d been round a cir­cuit and I chal­lenged him pub­licly to a race around a track. But he de­clined, even though he said he’d been round a track in a rac­ing car. He’s also bro­ken the sound bar­rier at the con­trols of a jet.”

He’s start­ing to prac­tice “I’ve still got an Ace Bris­tol, which I’ve had for a few years and I don’t want to part with it. I do drive that out of the garage. My next door neigh­bour has a grass air­field and he is happy for me to drive up and down that. I want to build up the speed grad­u­ally. I’ve found a two-mile run­way at RAF Wood­bridge, which you can hire.”

He’s been around Sil­ver­stone again “The plan is in its early stages but I felt that I still had a love for mo­tor rac­ing. At the HGPCA test day last April I went round the na­tional cir­cuit at Sil­ver­stone as a pas­sen­ger and I still had the feel. I knew where I was in terms of brak­ing points and gear shift points and so on. My real wish was, and still is in a way, to drive round a cir­cuit. I still think I’ve got that in me and I think I’ve got a good sense of where things are.”

He’d love to drive on a track “I’d like to break the speed record with­out hav­ing some­one else in the car and I’m not sure what type of car it will be yet. All this straight line busi­ness is fine but I think it is far more of a chal­lenge go­ing round a cir­cuit.”

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