Ben Felten of Blaxland named a Commonwealth Games baton bearer

Honoured: Blaxland man Ben Felten and his dog Orson will take part in the Penrith leg of the Queen’s Baton relay on February 4.
Honoured: Blaxland man Ben Felten and his dog Orson will take part in the Penrith leg of the Queen’s Baton relay on February 4.

Ben Felten has represented Australia on several occasions in blind cricket and rowing, and soon he’ll be able to add Commonwealth Games baton bearer to the honour roll.

The Blaxland man will take part in the Penrith leg of the Queen’s Baton relay on February 4.

He was honoured to carry the baton.

“To be a local involved that’s one thing, and with a disability, that’s a real honour,” said the 50-year-old who attended Winmalee Public School and St Columba’s Catholic College as a child.

Mr Felten has a degenerative eye condition. He raced motorcycles until he was 23, and went totally blind at 37.

He will carry the baton with his faithful dog Orson by his side. A month later he’ll face a different challenge – an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the fastest motorcycle ever ridden blindfolded. The current record is 265.33km/hour.

With navigator Kevin Magee guiding him over the radio, Mr Felten will push his limits on the dry salt lake of Lake Gairdner in South Australia.

“To ride that fast is really difficult. You have to steer with your feet. It’s so sensitive. I’m totally focused,” Mr Felten said.

“The more released I am, the straighter I go.

“I’m extremely nervous before I get on the bike … Overcoming your own fears is normal and a good thing. If I didn’t have that I would be too much of a risk-taker and that would be too dangerous,” he said.

“To get on the bike and finish is the greatest adrenaline rush for ages.

“It’s an intense, incredible feeling. It’s so empowering for me to go out there and race a motorbike.”