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Film crew behind Kevin Magee Horsham visit

Laurie Pearson, Matt Baker, Ben Felten, his dog Orson and Kevin Magee at the Horsham Motorcycle Club track at Dooen. Ben Felten, with Kevin's help, broke the world record for fastest blind rider.

MEMORIES: Horsham motorcycle racing legend Kevin Magee, right, with blind motorcycle rider Ben Felten at Horsham Motorcycle Club’s Dooen track. The pair are the subject of a documentary chronicling Felten’s pursuit of a landspeed world record for a motorcycle ridden blindfolded. They are pictured with, from left, Laurie Pearson and Matt Baker. Felten’s dog Orson also features. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER

By Colin MacGillivray
Horsham motorcycle racing legend Kevin ‘Magoo’ Magee made a rare visit to his hometown at the weekend with a world record holder and a Belgian film crew in tow.
Magee visited Horsham Motorcycle Club’s Dooen track as part of a documentary chronicling blind motorcycle rider Ben Felten’s pursuit of the landspeed world record for a motorcycle ridden blindfolded.
Magee has been Felten’s coach and mentor for several years, feeding him instructions via radio to help him steer.
Felten finally broke the world record last year at Lake Gairdner salt flats in South Australia with an average speed of 266.685kmh for a two-way run.
He and Magee continue to work together as he tries to push the record further.
Magee, a former Grand Prix motorcycle racer who ranked in the top five in the world in 1988 and 1989 seasons, admitted he did not get back to Horsham often, but was glad to be home.
“A Belgian film company is doing a documentary on the whole story and they wanted to know a bit about where I came from,” he said.
“The best place to start was the Dooen motocross track in Horsham, because this is pretty much where my career took off. I don’t get out here very often, but I love the place.
“We started building the motocross track out here when I was in form four at Horsham Technical School, and we used to have Horsham Motorcycle Club meetings in the technical drawing room at school.”
Felten said Magee had been the perfect coach for his world record pursuit.
“My dream as a kid was always to ride motorcycles at the highest level,” he said.
“I eventually gave up racing and riding when I was 25.
“My eyesight gradually deteriorated until my left eye went at 32, and by 37 I was totally blind.”
After a stint playing blind cricket for Australia, Felten said his thoughts again turned to motorcycle racing.
“I realised there was a world record for the fastest speed on a motorcycle ridden blindfolded, and that was what I went for,” he said.
“I wanted to get someone to help me out and give me some guidance, someone with a racing history who could support me.
“I sent an email to Kevin and the subject line was, ‘out of left field’.”
Felten said the pair hit it off immediately after establishing contact.

Kevin Magee at the Horsham Motorcycle Club track at Dooen. Ben Felten, with Kevin's help, broke the world record for fastest blind rider.

Kevin Magee at the Horsham Motorcycle Club track at Dooen. Ben Felten, with Kevin’s help, broke the world record for fastest blind rider.


“Magoo has been with me right from the very beginning,” he said.
“He’s turned up at every practice session and taught me a lot about riding bikes.
“I was a pretty good racer in my day, but I’ve learned a lot from Kev and we’ve developed a real bond.
“For me, being totally blind and riding really fast, I have to have complete trust in my navigator.
“Riding the bike is the easy bit; trusting your life in someone else’s hands and being able to have confidence is the most important thing.”
Magee said it had been a terrific experience for him as well as Felten.
“To give someone an opportunity, in a situation where they’re 100 percent blind, to do what he’s doing is amazing,” he said.
“It’s obviously quite difficult from my point of view.
“You’ve got to be very controlled with what you do and how you do it.
“Ben can be a little bit gung-ho. He really wants to get on with it and sometimes you have to calm him down a bit.”
Horsham Motorcycle Club committee member Laurie Pearson said it was a privilege to have Magee, Felten and the film crew visit.
“We opened the Kevin Magee Room back in the day and there’s a lot of memorabilia there,” he said.
“It’s a thrill for Kevin to see what’s been collected.”
Felten said he would be eternally grateful for Magee’s support.
“I’m having a ball,” he said.
“To achieve my childhood dream of being able to race motorbikes, Magoo has given me the greatest gift of all.”

Laurie Pearson, Matt Baker, Ben Felten, his dog Orson and Kevin Magee at the Horsham Motorcycle Club track at Dooen. Ben Felten, with Kevin's help, broke the world record for fastest blind rider.

Laurie Pearson, Matt Baker, Ben Felten, his dog Orson and Kevin Magee at the Horsham Motorcycle Club track at Dooen. Ben Felten, with Kevin’s help, broke the world record for fastest blind rider.

Matt Baker, Laurie Pearson, Ben Felten and Kevin Magee at the Horsham Motorcycle Club track at Dooen. Ben Felten, with Kevin's help, broke the world record for fastest blind rider.

Matt Baker, Laurie Pearson, Ben Felten and Kevin Magee at the Horsham Motorcycle Club track at Dooen. Ben Felten, with Kevin’s help, broke the world record for fastest blind rider.

Laurie Pearson, Matt Baker, Ben Felten and Kevin Magee at the Horsham Motorcycle Club track at Dooen. Ben Felten, with Kevin's help, broke the world record for fastest blind rider.

Laurie Pearson, Matt Baker, Ben Felten and Kevin Magee at the Horsham Motorcycle Club track at Dooen. Ben Felten, with Kevin’s help, broke the world record for fastest blind rider.

Laurie Pearson, Matt Baker, Ben Felten and Kevin Magee at the Horsham Motorcycle Club track at Dooen. Ben Felten, with Kevin's help, broke the world record for fastest blind rider.

Laurie Pearson, Matt Baker, Ben Felten and Kevin Magee at the Horsham Motorcycle Club track at Dooen. Ben Felten, with Kevin’s help, broke the world record for fastest blind rider.

The entire May 8, 2019 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!

Short URL: http://www.theweeklyadvertiser.com.au/?p=77824

Posted on May 15 2019

Posted by on May 15 2019. Filed under FEATURED, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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