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Last Updated: Wednesday, 13 August, 2003, 17:17 GMT 18:17 UK
Blind man breaks speed record
Mike Newman
Record-breaker Mike Newman at Elvington Airfield
A blind man is claiming a world record by reaching a speed of 144mph in a 58,000 car.

Mike Newman was alone behind the wheel of a Jaguar XRJ 4.2 car during the record bid at Elvington Airfield, near York, on Wednesday.

The 41-year-old, who has been blind for most of his life, now claims the land speed record for the blind after exceeding the previous record of 141mph.

Mr Newman, a bank manager from Sale, Cheshire, carried out the bid in aid of Guide Dogs for the Blind.

He was in constant radio contact with his stepfather, also named Mike Newman, who was following him and giving directions.

The car on the runway
Mike Newman was guided by his father in another car

The father-of-two, who already holds one world land-speed record for the blind for riding a motorcycle at 89mph, also wants to break another bike record by completing a one-and-a-half mile race circuit.

In an emotional celebration, in which he hugged his wife Kristen, 15-year-old daughter Becky, son Sam, 13, and guide dog Ross, Mr Newman said it felt fantastic to have broken the record.

"I'm so happy. This car is top, I love it and I'm going to cry when I give it back. It goes like the clappers," he said.

Spectators watched Mr Newman drive the car in extremely windy conditions at an average speed of 144.75mph over two runs.

He reached 142.8 mph on his first run, driving into the wind on the 1.9 mile long runway.

Mr Newman senior, 48, said: "He's had to work really hard, he's done really, really well."

Earlier this month, Billy "the Whizz" Baxter laid claim to the world blind land speed record with an average 165mph on a motorbike.

But the Guinness Book of Records said it had not yet received evidence of the record from either Mr Newman or Mr Baxter, and that in the meantime the current record remained 141mph by Alistair Weaver in an Audi S8 in 2002.

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04 Aug 03  |  Wiltshire
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09 Sep 02  |  England

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