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One-eyed drivers?


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#1 bobdar

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Posted 16 March 2001 - 02:19

In our vintage race club, we have found that some drivers with the use of only a single eye actually see quite well, and that others with two eyes apparently can't see worth a damn. Have there been any exceptional race drivers with monocular vision??

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#2 Ray Bell

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Posted 16 March 2001 - 02:29

Jim Palmer (New Zealand Gold Star champion) was fair.

I think I have been told that Niel Allen had very poor vision in one eye, and he was a star. In Australia, you had to have vision in both eyes to get a licence at least from the sixties on.

The issue is depth perception, the ability to judge distance and closing speeds... you can see the importance of that...

Or maybe you cant...

#3 bobdar

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Posted 16 March 2001 - 02:45

Yes, depth perception is certainly the main issue, although peripheral vision is also at question. I have heard that one with monocular vision eventually develops alternate depth perception mechanisms, such as turning their head--sort of a "sequential parallax" (as opposed to simultaneous). An old friend raced this way for years, and most never knew that he was blind in one eye.

Other than Ernie "Swervin" Ervan driving with a patch over his eye, are there others?

#4 Joe Fan

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Posted 16 March 2001 - 06:18

Tommy Milton. He was a two-time winner of the Indy 500.

#5 Rob29

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Posted 16 March 2001 - 09:07

Michael Needell (brother of Tiff) lost a eye from cancer,and did attempt to race in South Africa,with one.Never did find out how he got on as sadly the cancer spread and he passed away soon after.
This is an interesting subject for me as altough I have 2 eyes they only work independantly so I am unable to drive or do anything requiring debth perception.

#6 jmcgavin

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Posted 16 March 2001 - 09:55

did Helmut Marko race again after he lost an eye at clemont-ferrand in 1972??

#7 Ray Bell

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Posted 16 March 2001 - 10:17

I'm fairly sure he didn't, but I could be wrong.... it's happened before. Suffice to say I would have taken note if he did, and I haven't any recollection of taking note.

#8 FLB

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Posted 16 March 2001 - 14:06

I seem to remember a Chris Amon anecdote that Chuck Hulse (a USAC driver who was at Fuji) had only one working eye and ear. Amon, of course, had tried to overtake him on the wrong side...;)



#9 cjpani

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Posted 16 March 2001 - 17:11

Well... not quite single eyed, but Otto Mathe drove with one arm!!!

Best regards,
cjpani

#10 TonyKaye

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Posted 16 March 2001 - 17:42

This was the subject of a thread many moons ago. Two of the most prominent and successful drivers with only one eye were Ernest Eldridge and Tommy Milton, who both held the World's Land Speed Record (the latter unofficially). Milton was also one of the most successful track drivers in the 20's, winning the Indianapolis 500 in 1921 and 1923. It was some years before AAA discovered that he was blind in one eye. He had always passed the vision test because he had learned the chart off by heart. However, one medico was suspicious and showed him a page of a magazine instead. All the other drivers signed a waiver so that he was able to continue racing.

#11 dbw

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Posted 16 March 2001 - 18:03

milton was one of the best miller owners/drivers on record in the US and as i recall, eldrige's injury was sustained in an accident with his miller rear drive in the UK......

#12 merlyn6

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Posted 16 March 2001 - 18:09

Originally posted by bobdar
In our vintage race club, , others with two eyes apparently can't see worth a damn.

Too true!, Which vintage club are you associated with?

#13 Richard Jenkins

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Posted 16 March 2001 - 18:13

Marko never raced competitvely again after his accident whilst Johnny Servoz-Gavin had to retire because of the opposite side of the coin he had double vision.
Phillipe Alliot was the only blind GP driver that I know of....;)

#14 Haddock

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Posted 01 June 2006 - 20:08

I'm pretty sure there was an Austrian rally driver who retired recently, who revealed after the fact that he had been blind in one eye all through his career. I think it might have been Franz Wittmann - I recall that he rallied VW Golfs throughout the 1980s with some degree of success.

I doubt we'll ever see an F1 level driver with monocular vision because of compromised depth perception, but its not a crippling disadvantage at the lower levels.

#15 D-Type

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Posted 01 June 2006 - 21:10

I think there is a big difference between being born with sight in one eye or losing the use of an eye as a child and losing one after you have started racing. In the former case you learn to adapt while in the latter only some do.

#16 Bondy

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Posted 01 June 2006 - 22:10

Hmmmm i have double vision, its corrected with lenses, i still race karts..... over the years i have worked out which is the real object and which isnt so when a lense fell out at Oran Park as i was going through the flip flop i was still able to make it through pretty much ok ;)

#17 Tomas Karlsson

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Posted 02 June 2006 - 07:34

The Swedish driver Gunnar Carlsson lost the sight on one eye in an accident at work in november '64, a couple of weeks after he had got his new Lotus 23B. It didn't stop him from racing and he won the Swedish sportscar Championship in 1965.
But after a race at Solitude in '66 he found that that it was too difficult without any depth perception and quit racing (although he did make a short come-back some years later...).

#18 WHITE

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Posted 02 June 2006 - 07:37

Hmmmmm... a thread to keep an eye on :smoking:

#19 Patrick Fletcher

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Posted 02 June 2006 - 11:56

Norm Butler o-e driver ;) a great guy who had a super fast Mini got me on the first lap in a club race - having a beer at the end of the day I said "that was a great move up the inside of the loop" - he replied "I am so sure I was on the outside of you"

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#20 Gary Davies

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Posted 02 June 2006 - 12:27

I knew we've discussed this before and here it is.

Without repeating my contribution there, I am someone with experience of driving, playing sport and flying an aircraft with vision that was all but monocular (not any more though :) ) and I can happily report that it can be done quite effectively and with little difficulty.

#21 Haddock

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Posted 02 June 2006 - 17:02

Originally posted by Vanwall
I knew we've discussed this before and here it is.

Without repeating my contribution there, I am someone with experience of driving, playing sport and flying an aircraft with vision that was all but monocular (not any more though :) ) and I can happily report that it can be done quite effectively and with little difficulty.


Not only that, but I made *exactly* the same contribution to that thread, and yet I have no memory of ever having written it.

#22 Vicuna

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Posted 02 June 2006 - 20:41

Originally posted by Ray Bell
Jim Palmer (New Zealand Gold Star champion) was fair.


Fair :confused:

If Jimmy P was fair, I wouldn't have minded being fair

#23 Gary Davies

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Posted 03 June 2006 - 01:12

Originally posted by Haddock
yet I have no memory of ever having written it.


Ah, it comes to us all, laddie! :| :drunk: :

#24 Sharman

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Posted 03 June 2006 - 12:59

:lol: Wasn't there a fella called Riley and didn't he have a daughter? I can remember JVB singing about them!!!