It takes a bit of a different breed to go land speed racing. It's usually all about engineering and problem solving; the final run itself, as EV proponent and record holder Eva Hakansson told us recently, is more or less a final exam on your engineering project.
Not in this case, however. Ben Felten is taking to the salt flats at Lake Gairdner, South Australia this weekend, on a bone stock Kawasaki ZX-10R, a bike that should be able to approach 180 miles per hour straight out of the box. That's a terrifying speed for the road, but hardly for the salt.
Unless you consider the fact that Felten is totally blind, after Retinitis Pigmentosa destroyed his retinas by his late 20s. Felten founded the Nepean Blind Sports Club, and is the current co-ordinator of the Western Sydney branch of the NSW Sports Council for the Disabled. He can't see a damn thing.
So he's taking a crack at the outright world land speed record for a blindfolded motorcyclist. Which, mind you, he already owns after cracking 156.25 mph (251.46 kmh) last year on a Yamaha R1.
In order to do this, Felten has enlisted the help of former MotoGP rider Kevin Magee, who will ride behind him on a second bike, and give him radio instructions to help keep him pointed in the right direction and on the right line.
On the one hand, there's not much out there for him to crash into, so it's about as safe as blind motorcycling can get. And motorbikes don't tend to fall over as long as they're moving quick. On the other, it's blind freaking motorcycling – high speed blind motorcycling requiring a lot of precision that Felten will have to achieve while trying to listen to radio instructions through high-speed wind blast.
That's pretty wild. We wish Ben and Kevin all the best, and will check in on Monday to see how they went!
Source: Blind Speed
Want a cleaner, faster loading and ad free reading experience?
Try New Atlas Plus. Learn more