Able2Do Anything: Sports

Track day for disabled people is huge success

driver in an adapted racing car with marshals helping

A charity has given disabled people the opportunity to sit behind the wheel of racing cars for a very special track day at Castle Combe Circuit.

There was a range of adapted cars at the famous racetrack, some which could reach speeds up to 120mph (193kph).

The event was organised by the Speed of Sight charity, launched in 2012 by Mike Newman, who has had blindness since birth, and John Galloway.

Newman had always wanted to drive fast cars, even from a child, but knew his disability would be a barrier.

But that didn’t stop him, he holds records for fastest speeds achieved in cars, planes, boats and motorbikes.

Knowing the thrills and adrenaline which comes from putting your foot hard on the pedal Newman wanted others to share similar adventures. 

"We give them the ability to enjoy the exhilaration, the excitement and the thrill of being behind the wheel when normally they would not get the chance," he told BBC News.

On Wednesday the charity invited disabled people to Castle Combe Circuit so they could race around the infamous track, known as the home of motorsport in the West Country.

Each driver had their own instructor as they controlled adaptable racing cars and buggies operated by dual controls.

Safan, who is registered blind, took part in the event, he loved every minute of the experience.

"It was really good and really well instructed. I had a good time on the track.

"You do feel a bit anxious because you don't know when to turn so you've just got to have complete faith in the driver next to you.

"It's a great feeling. This is obviously a famous track. I am a Williams fan so I love the fact I have been around the same track as Damon Hill," he said.

One of the instructors, Stuart, is in charge of safety measures such as controlling levels of steering or braking depending on how quickly drivers adapt to their cars.

"I know we change people's lives. We give people belief in themselves,” he explained.

"For some it's just a great experience. But it's always a different person getting out of the car than the one getting in.”

[ Mike Newman received a British Empire Medal in the 2023 New Year's Honours List for his service to disabled people. ]

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