The world’s fastest blind motorcyclist Ben Felten will return to the South Australian salt flats next week (March 4-8 2019) to attempt to break his own record.
The Aussie rider became the fastest blind rider on earth on March 19, 2018, at the FIM sanctioned World Speed Trials Australia when Team Blind Speed Kawasaki achieved a land speed record of 272.596km/h.
In 2019, Team Blind Speed will defend their title, as new challengers emerge from Europe and the United States.
Magoo leads the blind
Ben Felten will once again be guided by his navigator, Kevin “Magoo” Magee, on the salt beds of Lake Gairdner, South Australia, riding 2018 Kawasaki Ninja ZX10Rs.
Magoo, a 1980s Grand Prix racer, will also challenge the Australian 1000cc Production Class record, seeking to push past the standing 325km/h threshold.
Magoo uses an analogue radio contact to help him steer with three main voice commands.
“The words we use are ‘go’, when in a straight line,” Ben explains.
“He will say ‘left’ or ‘leeeeeeft’ for a wider turn and ‘right’ for turning in that direction. The way I turn incrementally at high speeds is by putting pressure on the foot pegs. At the finish line and in the pits I navigate with Magoo’s guidance and people are amazed at our level of control.”
Ben Felten has three objectives
The team will keep the contingent of land-speed record challengers around the world at bay, support Magoo’s race for a class record and prepare for the FIM sanctioned World Speed Trials Australia in 2020.
“15 kilometres of full throttle. I can’t wait. Magoo and I are ready to turn into Kawasaki green blurs over the salt.” Ben says.
“Internationally, there are a few guys with very fast bikes who I have a watching brief on. I wish them nothing but good luck. The Great White Dyno is the ultimate leveller, when the flag drops… well you know the rest.
“We are driving to Lake Gairdner as World Record holders. We will leave Lake Gairdner as World Record holders, with the seat time to really let the overseas riders know the score in 2020.”
The team is supported by Kawasaki Australia and BC Performance with sponsors Caring Approach, Dunlop, Rider Collective, AGV Helmets, TCX Boots, Spright and Aussie Made Software.
“We have the best of the best backing us as we hit the salt,” Ben says.
At 16, Ben crashed his bike into a tree and was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa, a degenerative eye condition.
He continued to race motorcycles until he was 23 and went totally blind at 37.
But that didn’t stop him riding and dreaming of being the fastest blind rider in the world.
He set an Australian record for a blind rider in 2014 with 219.96km/h (136.67mph) on his modified Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusa at Temora Airport.
And last year he broke the previous Guinness World Record of 265.33km/h (164.87mph) for a blind rider by just 1.355km/h at the World Speed Trials.