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Last Updated: Friday, 9 September 2005, 13:25 GMT 14:25 UK
S African is fastest blind driver
Hein Wagner (Copyright www.motoring.co.za)
Hein is an intrepid sports adventurer (Copyright www.motoring.co.za)
South African Hein Wagner has become the world's fastest blind driver.

Driving a red Maserati V8 Gransport, he notched up 269km/h (167mph) along an airstrip in north-west South Africa

"It is an absolutely awesome feeling. It was over so fast," the 33-year-old said, after breaking the previous 233km/h (144mph) record.

Blind from birth, Mr Wagner is a motivational speaker from Cape Town and was raising funds for the South African National Council for the Blind.

"We've raised 60,000 rand ($9,500) so far and I'm aiming to get 100,000 rand ($15,500)," he told the BBC News website on his arrival back in Cape Town.

'Blind man with vision'

The record was set on an airstrip because blind people are not allowed to drive on public roads, he said.

I'm exhausted, I can see why people don't manage to break records very often
Hein Wagner

"I had five hours training in the car before I made the attempt," he said.

He said he had to drive the sports car, owned by the car dealer Viglietti, without any insurance.

"Unsurprisingly, nobody would risk insuring a blind driver," Wagner said.

"I'm exhausted, I can see why people don't manage to break records very often."

He describes himself as a "blind man with vision" and this is not his only intrepid sporting success.

In 1998 he was part of the South African blind cricket team which won the first-ever blind World Cup.

He has also completed two marathons; climbed 10 of the highest mountains in South Africa's Western Cape region and finished the Cape to Rio Yacht Race in 1993.

His next ambition, he says, is to break the blind world air speed record in a plane.

"I enjoy flying, so I'll investigate that perhaps in the next six months," he said.

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16 Jul 04 |  England
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14 Jul 04 |  Northern Ireland
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13 Jul 04 |  Oxfordshire
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27 Sep 99 |  UK News

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