Glaucoma has meant that Mike Newman, 53, has been blind since birth. Using a specially adapted 5.5 tonne racing lorry supplied by British Truck Racer Dave Jenkins, the record was set on a sunny day at Elvington airfield.
Mike was alone in the cabin but was closely followed in a car by Dave who was providing instructions via radio. Dave said “It’s not to be underestimated, the complexity of the challenge. But it’s also so rewarding to achieve something that is so… ridiculous in a way.”
Mike started a few solo runs in the early afternoon, after a morning of practice with others sharing the cabin with him. Despite the fact that his eyes had been removed at a very early age owing to the glaucoma – the record rules stipulated that he had to wear a black-out helmet.
Before his record-breaking run, Mike said: “I’m respectfully optimistic. Confident, but not blasé.”
A small crowd had gathered to watch the final record-setting attempts after a morning of successful trial runs. These went without a hitch with the target speed of 100mh being smashed with Mike achieving a speed of 120.04mph.
Gina Campbell, daughter of Donald Campbell and grand-daughter of Malcolm Campbell – both holders of land and water-speed record holders – and the women’s World water-speed record herself, was present to watch. She said “it’s something quite extraordinary.”
Father-of-two Mike arrived back elated at his drive. He said: “It’s a great privilege to do this, and it’s a great privilege to be surrounded by these fantastic supporters.”
Mike founded Speed of Sight, a UK which runs driving days for disabled people and their families, centred around inspiring self-confidence and allowing people the thrill of speed. With eight world records, seven of which are Guinness World Records, he is an experienced hand at speed-records. Mike’s previous records saw him fly a plane, drive a motorbike at 89mph, drive a boat at 93mph and in August 2014 he drove a car at over 200mph