Brave driver does blind laps of racetrack to raise cash for research

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AMAZING video shows a former motorsport driver robbed of his sport by blindness getting back on the racing track.

John Playfair hurtled around the circuit aided only by his daughter giving instructions to turn left or right.

The clip shows John, 61, complete three laps of the 1.3 mile track at Knockhill, Fife, with his helmet taped off to remove what little sight he has left.

John, from Longniddry, East Lothian, is raising money for research into the rare genetic eye condition that will render him completely blind.

The condition is hereditary and John fears his daughters, Sarah and Laura, could be affected.

Sarah, who accompanied her dad on the lap, posted to Facebook earlier this week: “A little teaser of John’s blind lap at Knockhill.”

The farming contractor decided to take on the challenge to raise funds for Edinburgh University to research Late Onset Retinal Degeneration (LORD).

John, from Longniddry, East Lothian, is raising money for research into the rare genetic eye condition that will render him completely blind.

The video was posted so that social media users can guess the lap time and win prizes.

In the clip, Sarah, 33, can be seen sitting in the passenger seat as John gets ready to start the car.

Looking understandably tense at times, Sarah urges commands such as “left, left, left” and “hard right” to keep her dad on track.

Despite not being able to drive for a year, John shows off his motorsport technique learned over many years.

John can be heard saying at the end of the clip: “It was a bit nerve wracking, the visor was down right from the start and it was, yeah, nerve-wracking.”

Sarah said: “I’ve been doing this for a long time, sitting beside people in cars while they go around race tracks – fair enough not with a blindfold on, but still.

“It’s been a total lifestyle change for my dad, and he’s still discovering different things that he can’t do.

“So he’s put his effort into the fundraising and seeing what he can do. He’s more concerned about it affecting us, than what’s happening to him.”

The condition is hereditary and John fears his daughters, Sarah and Laura, could be affected.

Asked what motivated him to take on the challenge, John said: “I’ve spoken to the clinicians and they say that it won’t be as big a problem for the next generation, with stem cell research and medication they will have, but they need the money. And this is why I’m doing this, Edinburgh University are one of the main research places in the world for this as far as I’m aware.

“It’s difficult as it’s only a matter of time until I lose my sight, and I’m learning how to work in an office instead of outdoors. I wanted to

On social media, Jen Blackwood said: “Just amazing to watch the two of you.”

To donate and take a guess at John’s lap time go to: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/blindlap

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