The human spirit is one of ability, perseverance, and courage that no disability can steal away, not even the means of wherewithal. It is natural, the image we form when we hear the word ‘disabled,’ every individual immediately visualizes someone who can’t walk or talk or do everything that others usually take for granted on a recurring basis. But the real disability is that any individual who can’t locate joy in their life and are bitter in nature. Mike Newman who is the CEO of Speed of Sight Charity was born blind due to glaucoma but he developed the enthusiasm in the field of automotive since childhood. He never let the factor of disability haunt him and after serving two whole decades as a bank manager, he was enlightened with an opportunity to fulfill his dream and he left his mark in the speed record of motorcycle recording 89 mph on Aprilia superbike. This was just the commencement of his bewildering achievement since he went on to achieve the car land speed record in 2003 at 144 mph in a Jaguar XJR. Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible, and suddenly you will recenter yourself doing impossible tasks. Mike then rolled the ground by setting three more records with cars, including 176 mph in 2005 in a BMW M5, 186 mph in 2013 in a Porsche GT2, and 200 mph in 2014 in a Nissan GTR, making him the only first blind man on earth to ride a car at 200 mph. Post his inevitable achievement and dedication, he started to meet people who used to be able to drive but developed disabilities, which meant they were unable to drive again and it’s something they really missed doing, so that’s what really inspired him to start Speed Of Sight. Upon exclaiming the biggest boulders that Mike encounters in his journey of serving a good purpose is the monetary donations to keep the purpose of charity as alive as planned. He was prepared for the wherewithal, but in the year 2020, the donations fell rapidly as they were not able to organize a good number of track days.
It’s the constant repetitions of affirmations that lead the pathway to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things began to happen. Speed of Sight Charity is the UK’s only charity that provides the gift of driving to the blind and any individuals who have other disabilities. They have had four cars in their portfolio which are specially designed and built in a customized manner – two racing cars and two all-terrain buggies. They allow individuals of any age group with disabilities to enjoy the excitement and thrill of driving. The vehicles are named after Mike’s guide dogs and are designed with dual controls and twin steering wheels and the buggies are equipped with hand controls. The hype for opportunity is not limited to individuals with disabilities per se, but, if someone is willing to participate, the charity welcomes them happily and blindfolds them to drive the track!
Whether someone is useful and productive would only matter if you value people by their usage of perception. The charity comprises a small team but ensure that they are affiliated with correct licenses and qualifications, so safeguarding is guaranteed at a safe place without compromise. With the core value of providing equal opportunity to every individual, the biggest contribution that Mike has bagged through in the field of the Automotive industry is by giving people an opportunity to drive who had no hope to do so ever.
When we focus on someone’s disability, we are bound to overlook their abilities, beauty, and uniqueness. Mike’s substantial achievements in the segment of world records is astounding, he believes that he is a competitive person and also a bit of an adrenaline junkie, so let’s dive into the list of his world records, so far!
· 2001 – Guinness world record on a motorcycle.
· 2003 – Guinness world record in a car – 144mph (driving Jaguar XJR)
· 2005 – Guinness world record in a car – 167mph (driving BMW M5)
· 2010 – Most loop the loops in a plane – 26 loops the loops in close formation with 3 other planes
· 2013 – Guinness world record in a car – 186mph (driving Porsche GT2)
· 2013 – Guinness world record in a car – 93mph (Powerboat)
· 2014 – Guinness world record in a car – 200.4mph (driving Nissan GTR)
· 2015 – Guinness world record in a racing truck – 120mph
On a professional level, serving an opportunity of driving to the disabled individual is one of the most humbling experiences they can cherish, as well as an uplifting one, it’s something that Mike takes great joy in and something he intends to perform for the rest of his life.
The measure of a man, or woman, or an abled, or a disabled is not so much what they have accomplished, though that has weight. It often is much more though what that they have had overcome to accomplish what they have to cherish today and inspire forever. Mike’s role as a CEO in the Speed of Sight Charity is but not limited to managing and coordinating the operational portions of the charity along with giving heed to the logistical challenges of putting together the track days. He has to be passive in his role and he makes sure that all the cars are running smoothly along with the assurance that they are functioning as they are programmed to within the requirements and abilities. Mike’s vision overall is to attempt to make a £1 stretch as far as £5 in a good day! Mike’s future blueprint is encompassed to keep running successful events across the UK, but ideally, he would like to tick off as many as he can in real-time, so as to not undermine and march towards the glaring goal of the long term. As for extending this out globally, it would be a challenge, but he and his team would probably want to try to offer their driving days out in Europe and go from there towards what they have chosen as their destiny.