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Speed of sight: The world's fastest blind daredevil

updated 7:26 AM EDT, Thu October 31, 2013
Mike Newman broke the blind land speed record by driving at an average speed of 186mph in September 2013. On November 1 he will try to break the blind water record in a powerboat off the English coast. Mike Newman broke the blind land speed record by driving at an average speed of 186mph in September 2013. On November 1 he will try to break the blind water record in a powerboat off the English coast.
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Speed of Sight
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In the hot seat
Man's best friend
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Mike Newman is hoping to break the blind water speed record on November 1
  • The 52-year-old broke the blind land speed record last month
  • Newman was born with glaucoma and lost his sight at age of eight
  • Blind Water Speed currently held by former soldier Mark Threadgold at 91mph

(CNN) -- Ever imagined flying an airplane with your eyes closed? Or driving at nearly 200 miles an hour with a blindfold? How about racing a speedboat in complete darkness?

Sounds crazy? Well take off those blinkers and meet Mike Newman -- the world's fastest blind daredevil.

On Friday, Newman will attempt to break the blind water speed record in a powerboat just off the English coast and secure his place in history.

Being unable to see has proved no barrier to the 52-year-old who is aiming to become the first man to hold the blind speed records for land, sea and air in the same year.

Having already succeeded on four wheels and in the cockpit of an airplane, it is just the sea which stands between him and sporting immortality.

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"To hold all the records would be amazing," Newman told CNN, who is hoping to reach speeds of 95 miles an hour in a top of the range powerboat.

"I first started riding motorcycles 12 years ago when I was pushing 40 and I just went from there.

"I moved on to cars after that and I've loved it. People love all types of different sports but for me it was always motorsport.

"I love the engines, the smells, the noises which come with it. I love all the elements and just because I can't see, it doesn't detract from the experience."

Newman's story is as rapid as it is remarkable.

Diagnosed with glaucoma as a child, Newman lost his sight at the age of eight.

But it was not until some years later that he began his love affair with speed -- breaking blind land records on land and in the air.

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It was 12 years ago that he first attempted to break a record -- riding a motorcycle at 89 mph after just three days practice.

He twice broke blind land speed records in 2003 and 2005, improving from 144mph to 175mph in the space of two years.

In October 2011 he achieved the world blind aerial aerobatic record; flying the most consecutive loops in formation.

I love the engines, the smells, the noises which come with it. I love all the elements and just because I can't see, it doesn't detract from the experience.
Mike Newman

A five times Guinness World record holder, there isn't much Newman can't do.

His charity is now helping others to overcome their difficulties through racing with his team having recently designed and built ten specially adapted track cars boasting dual controls, twin steering wheels.

"The main point of all of this is to make sure that people who aren't able to have these opportunities get that chance," added Newman.

"The charity is doing a great job and although we're only quite young we've made great progress.

"I can't believe the amount of attention we've had. Hopefully it will continue for a while yet."

There will be hundreds of people present for Newman's latest record attempt with television cameras, journalists and photographers all ready to capture the moment.

His exploits have made him into something of a celebrity -- a tag of which he's not too keen on.

That he is blind is not an issue to him -- what everyone else thinks is up to them.

"Whatever I attempt, I do it in my own environment," Newman told CNN.

"If I get on the bus, go to the post office or the supermarket, I'm doing it in my own environment and it's normal for me.

"Being blind doesn't stop me doing things. I don't really think about being a role model or if I've broken down barriers. I'm just doing this to help other people in life."

John Galloway, the team principal, has worked with Newman for over a decade and has watched his friend and colleague meet each challenge head on without showing an ounce of fear.

Being blind doesn't stop me doing things. I don't really think about being a role model or if I've broken down barriers. I'm just doing this to help other people in life.
Mike Newman

"I have known Mike for over 11 years now and never met someone with such self belief," Galloway told CNN.

"He has a driving ambition to chase his dreams and able to catch them. He is a great example to all of us."

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Newman will now turn his attention to breaking the blind water speed record and become the first man to hold all three records at the same time.

Former soldier Mark Treadgold currently holds the record of 91mph but Newman is confident he can surpass that achievement when he hits the water at Torque Harbor, Devon, on England's south west coast.

Newman will be assisted by Andrew Langdon, who owns the race boat Silverline and will offer navigational assistance through helmet to helmet radio communication.

The team believes he can reach 95mph if conditions allow -- a result which would see him become the first man to hold the land, air and sea record in the same year.

"It would be amazing if we could do it," added Newman.

"It's really exciting and I cannot wait for it to happen."

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