Blinded Soldier Attempts Ferrari Drive At Knockhill Racing Circuit

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Motorfair -- Scotland's Official & Biggest Motor Show -- Ex soldier, Ben Shaw (25) who was permanently blinded in a roadside bombing in Iraq will drive again for the very first time since losing his sight, when he attempts to lap Knockhill racing circuit in a £70k Ferrari 360 Modena. He will follow that daring attempt with arguably the toughest challenge of his life when he gets married the following day.

Ex soldier, Ben Shaw (25) who was permanently blinded in a roadside bombing in Iraq will drive again for the very first time since losing his sight, when he attempts to lap Knockhill racing circuit in a £70k Ferrari 360 Modena.

After two training sessions on 6 & 9 May, Ben will tackle the circuit on Sat 10 May in front of thousands of supporters at 'Motorfair', Scotland's official and biggest motorshow.

Since losing his sight Ben has shown courage and determination to rebuild his life, with the support of his fiancé, his family and the team at Scottish War Blinded in Linburn. He will fulfil two of his major dreams during the weekend of 'Motorfair' (Sat 10 and Sun 11 May at Knockhill).

Firstly he will drive a Ferrari around the track on the Saturday, driving for the first time since losing his sight at the helm of his company's lead vehicle on a routine patrol in Southern Iraq. This is the first step on Ben's ambitious journey to one-day break the world blind land speed record (currently set at 165mph on a motorbike).

Secondly, after completing the lap, Ben will dash off to make it on-time for his wedding rehearsal on Saturday afternoon before tying the knot with fiancé Louise on Sunday.

Ben explains:
"I've always loved driving and cars and motorsport. Having the opportunity to not only drive again but to do that in front of thousands of people and in a Ferrari at Knockhill will make my wedding weekend even more special. I should reach speeds of around 70mph on the start / finish straight which is unbelievable really. Ultimately I believe that there should be a disabled category in motorsport, not unlike the disabled Olympics."

Derek Butcher, chief executive officer and owner of Knockhill racing circuit said:
"Ben is a fantastic guy - a real inspiration. We're over the moon to be able to give him the opportunity to be coached by one of our instructors and to see him take to the wheel again. For him to do the drive in front of the overwhelming crowds at Motorfair, who I'm sure will give him a deserved standing ovation, is the fitting chance for him to take to the track."

Richard Hellewell of Scottish War Blinded said:
"Ben is our youngest beneficiary. The drive and ambition to succeed that he has shown since losing his sight is a credit to his boundless character."

Knockhill instructor Alan Brunton will passenger Ben and guide him around the track by giving direction based on a clock-face. All the instruction references will relate to Ben's right hand starting at three o'clock.

The two practice sessions will be done in one of Knockhill's Seat cars and he'll only drive the Ferrari 360 Modena for the first time in front of the crowds at Motorfair on the Saturday.

In its 5th year, Motorfair - The Official Scottish Motorshow - is the biggest motor show ever staged in Scotland. New models of vehicles will be unveiled, Scotland's new Morgan Factory Approved Dealer is launched and attendees can win a Chevrolet as well as much much more.

PHOTOGRAPHY, FILMING AND INTERVIEWS
ON-THE DAY OPPORTUNITY:         Friday 9 May @ 11am
LOCATION:                                    Knockhill Racing Circuit, by Dunfermline, Fife
STOCK PHOTOGRAPHY:                Can be supplied on request
TELEPHONE INTERVIEWS:             By arrangement

Notes to editor:
·         Ben will undertake two coaching and testing sessions at Knockhill - Tuesday 6 May at 3pm and from 11am on Friday 9 May (photo, filming and interview opportunities available).

·         Full details of Ben's story of how he came to be badly injured while serving with the British Forces in Iraq can be found at http://poppydrop.com/Ben-h-s-Story.html

·         More information about Motorfair, Scotland's official and biggest motor show can be found at http://www.knockhill.com/motorshow/index.php including the full press pack and details of VIP press tickets and access to our fully equipped media centre too.

·         Scottish War Blinded was founded in 1915 to provide care and welfare to Scottish ex-servicemen and women blinded or visually impaired in the World Wars and subsequent conflicts. More information at http://www.royalblind.org/warblinded/

·         The current world blind land speed record was set in 2003 and is held by Billy 'the whizz' Baxter who achieved and average speed of 165mph on a motorbike
                                                                                                         05 May, 2008

For further information, interviews or access to stock photography please contact Knockhill Racing Circuit

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Raymond Smith
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