Blindfolded driver will do a lap of Knockhill for charity

A former motorsport driver who has lost his sight is set for a lap of glory – by driving blindfolded around Knockhill’s race circuit for charity.

John, an avid motor sportsman, has recently lost his sight to such an extent that he can no longer legally drive. It affects him every day, not least as he walks past his Lamborghini-motored high performance Audi – parked.

But, with great thanks to the brave souls at the Knockhill race circuit in Fife, he’ll be behind the driving wheel for a lap in their rally circuit car—blindfolded to drive a lap of the race track on Wednesday, 11 April, at 10.15am.

It’s not the first time he’s given it a go. The last attempt was in a go-kart at the Raceland Karting track at Gladsmuir.

John has partial sight, so to block out any assistance he will wear a blindfold at Knockhill, as he already did at Gladsmuir. He’ll be assisted by daughter Sarah, who will take the passenger and guiding seat in the circuit car.

John had daughter Linda driving the go-kart behind him at Raceland – quite literally keeping him straight.

He laughed: ‘The corners were fine, it was the straights – you didn’t know if you were going straight. Linda had to come and push me back on again.’

John has raced as a Special Stage Rally Driver in Scotland, until he retired to support his daughters’ motorsport careers. Both Linda and Sarah raced in the UK and Europe, Linda in karts and Sarah in single seaters (Formula Ford) in the mid 2000s.

John has a rare genetic eye disorder, Late Onset Retinal Degeneration (LORD, also known as Late Onset Retinal Macular Degeneration) for which there is currently no cure/prevention to the progressive loss of sight, then blindness.

John said: ‘Age doesn’t guarantee it, my mother stopped driving when she was 50, I could keep going to 60.

‘Good health and general well being seems to slow its onset. It’ll never stop it, it can’t stop it, but it’ll slow it. It’s not life threatening but it’s hugely life changing.

‘It’s the unknown, the deterioration rate is unknown. They say it goes in steps, but they don’t know how far away the steps are or how steep those steps are.’

Donations will raise funds for Edinburgh University to carry out medical research for this condition, which has a 50/50 chance of being inherited but affects John and all his siblings.

John has created a JustGiving page can be found HERE,  where people can donate.

Supporters can also take their own blind leap: guess John’s combined lap times in the comments with your donation, and the closest times will win not just the ultimate bragging rights, but also some great prizes, including passes and hospitality to the World of Super Cars at Knockhill on Sunday August 12.