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TTA To Train Driver, Mike Newman, for an Attempt To Set The Blind Land Speed Record In A Race Truck.

You might not have heard of Mike Newman yet, unless you happened to see him on Fifth Gear or on Good Morning Britain, but that could be about to change in the next few months.

Mike, a former bank manager, has a thirst for speed and a deep-rooted passion for motor sports. He’s the five-time Guinness land speed record holder, and currently holds the world records for land and water speed. That achievement is incredible enough, but when you consider that Mike is completely blind, this record of achievement becomes all the more remarkable.

In August 2014, Mike became the first blind driver to break the 200mph barrier; clocking an average 200.5mph and a top speed of 204mph in a 4.6 litre turbo-charged Nissan GT-R. In spite of his achievements, however, Mike remains surprisingly modest. He says all he’s ever wanted to do is make driving more accessible and achievable for people with a disability, and to this end, along with John Galloway he set up the Speed Of Sight charity to provide life-changing driving experiences to people with disabilities throughout the UK.

But never one to rest on his laurels, Mike and his Speed Of Sight team are hoping to add another feather to their caps when they attempt to set the blind land speed record in a race truck. With help and training from the staff at North West logistics training organisation, Transport Training Academy, Mike is hopeful that he may be able to make his attempt soon. All that’s needed before then is to get the logistics in place. Hopefully once the training is completed, Mike will be able to add another world record to his list of achievements.

This is not the first time that TTA and the Speed Of Sight charity have worked together, however.

The charity’s administrator, Jennifer Lee, recently successfully passed her B+E Trailer Training course with the help of the staff at TTA:

“The lovely Julie at TTA taught me how to tow a trailer. It was important that I learn how to do that, because Mike also runs the Speed Of Sight charity on top of his record breaking efforts, and as part of that we need to transport the track cars around the country so we can bring these driving experiences to others. Because I passed my driving test after 1997 I hadn’t been able to help with that previously.”

“But now, after getting my B + E trailer qualification under Julie’s expert tutelage, I can. I couldn’t believe how quick I managed to get through the course. I started training on the Tuesday after the last Bank Holiday and worked through Tuesday and Wednesday morning, and then took my test on the Thursday. That only goes to prove what a good teacher she is.”

“Getting my B + E has made such a huge difference to the charity. I can now help out and that means we will be able to take our driving experiences further and farther, and we really can’t thank Transport Training Academy enough for that.”

So what’s the plan for the blind land speed race truck attempt?

“The plan is to try and set the record, but so far it only remains an idea. We’re still looking at the logistics of the situation with the help of David (Coupe) at Transport Training Academy. We’ve already put our application in to Guinness, now we’re just waiting to hear back from them.”

“Mike’s already had his first taste of life as a HGV driver. He went and sat in one recently and did some reversing and manoeuvring shortly after first meeting with Dave. We’re hoping to make arrangements with TTA to get a lot more training done in the near future.”

Has Mike found the transition from racing car to HGV a bit of a culture shock?

“No – not at all. Mike can turn his hand to a few things. He’s broken records in cars and boats, and he’s even flown a plane. He’s also been doing some chariot driving recently, so I’d say little fazes him. I would expect Mike to take to race truck driving like a duck to water, if past experiences are anything to go by. He’s excited by the prospect and delighted to be getting help and training from the staff at Transport Training Academy.”

If you would like more information about the Speed of Sight charity, or would like to get involved and help support your local community, please contact team@speedofsight.co.uk.

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