World’s Fastest Blind Motorcyclist: Meet Ninja-Mounted Ben Felten

World's Fastest Blind Motorcyclist - Salt Flats
Felten (left) heads out on the course with radio-linked guide Kevin Magee following.

Motorcycle racing—any kind of motorcycle racing—takes a certain degree of fortitude. Now, imagine doing it while being unable to see where you are going. It would take a remarkable person to do that at any level, let alone to go after a world land speed record. You’re about to meet just such a person. His name is Ben Felten, and he’s from Australia.

World's Fastest Blind Motorcyclist: Lake Gairdner
Ben Felten with his Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R on the salt flats of Lake Gairdner in South Australia.

Felten had normal vision from birth. As he grew up, he dreamed of becoming a professional motorcycle racer. After a motorcycle accident in his teens, Felten learned he had a progressive, degenerative eye disease called retinitis pigmentosa. The disease has no cure, and it eventually left Felten blind.

Felten struggled to deal with the progressive loss of his vision. By his mid-20s, his vision was almost completely gone. He decided to overcome the situation and move ahead with his goals in life—motorcycle racing included. That became part of his broader objective of making a positive difference for people with disabilities.

Beb Felten (left) with his radio-connected guide rider, former MotoGP racer Kevin Magee.

“What I once saw as my biggest weakness became my greatest strength,” Felten states as his philosophy on his Facebook page. “It’s about flipping the script, taking what life throws at you and using it to push forward, not back. Stepping stone, not stumbling blocks.”

Felten went on to attend university and set up the Nepean Blind Sports Club. He became the Coordinator for the Western Sydney-New South Wales Sports Council for the Disabled, and helped establish Sailability, a non-profit dedicated to making sailing accessible to individuals with disabilities. In addition to his motorcycle land-speed racing endeavors, he is a motivational speaker.

Felten has earned championships and set records in rowing and cricket, and was a recipient of the Jim Anderson Memorial Award for Distinguished Service to Sport and Administration. He has made it his mission to encourage and support individuals with disabilities to pursue their dreams. Part of that initiative is the In Sight Of Dreams charity.

One of his goals is to establish the Guinness World Record as the Fastest Blind Man in the World. He has already completed one-half of the necessary steps to reach that goal. In March 2018, at Australia’s Lake Gairdner salt flat, he rode solo on a Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R to a world land speed record for a blind individual, hitting 165.730 mph. Former MotoGP racer Kevin Magee rode on a separate motorcycle as a guide to assist with navigation via a radio link. Dark Rider, a documentary that follows the effort, is in the works.

The second step in reaching his goal is establishing the record for a four-wheel car driven by a blind driver. He already started Blind Speed Track Day in 2021 for blind drivers. Felten was preparing to make that attempt in a specially prepared all-electric Toyota Corolla. That record attempt was to have happened during Australian Speed Week 2024 in March at Lake Gairdner. Unfortunately, the event was canceled due to heavy rains flooding the salt flat.

Photography courtesy of Ben Felton

When we contacted Felten, he said that not only does the Guinness automotive world record goal still stand, but he also intends to raise his existing motorcycle land speed record saying, “Speed Week 2024 was canceled due to wet weather, but this will not hinder us from ultimately challenging the Guinness World Record for fastest speed for a car driven blindfolded], and when the salt lake conditions are ideal my navigator Kevin Magee former MotoGP racer and I will challenge our own motorcycle land speed record aiming to exceed 300 km/h.”