RUMMERFIELD, GILLIS PLAN OCTOBER RETURN TO BONNEVILLE ST. LOUIS, Mo. (Aug. 21, 2005) -- Few people understand how to put disappointment behind themselves better than land speed racer Pat Rummerfield. Rummerfield ...
RUMMERFIELD, GILLIS PLAN OCTOBER RETURN TO BONNEVILLE
ST. LOUIS, Mo. (Aug. 21, 2005) -- Few people understand how to put disappointment behind themselves better than land speed racer Pat Rummerfield.
Rummerfield recently set a class record for speed in the Xtreme Freedom Special at the Bonneville Salt Flats, but the record he set was not the one he wanted and he has vowed to return to the world famous salt in Utah and achieve his goal.
"We'll go back to Bonneville in October," Rummerfield said. "Our team is very goal oriented."
Rummerfield's life is a story of stretching out for goals that seem unreachable. After a 1974 passenger car accident left him paralyzed, Rummerfield became the world's first quadriplegic to regain fully functional status. He has since become the Director of Development for the Kennedy Krieger Institute's International Center for Spinal Cord Injury.
The Xtreme Freedom Special, which is owned by Gil Gillis of Camarillo, Calif., has become a marketing tool for Rummerfield's efforts to raise interest in and funds for the Center.
Rummerfield set a record of 119.602 on Aug. 14 in the Southern California Timing Association's F Modified class for cars with three liter, blown engines using fuel. The original plan was to break the overall F Modified record but conditions at Bonneville were so rough that the computer-aided fuel system did not function properly.
"We had hoped to get the car up over 240 mph," Gillis said. "The salt was the roughest I've ever seen it and we just couldn't get the car to run the way it was capable of performing. But we'll go back in October and, if the conditions are right, Pat will get the overall record in F Modified."
The Xtreme Freedom Special is propelled by a front wheel drive transmission. It weighs about 2,000 pounds and has a 160-inch wheelbase. Its Toyota engine can produce about 500 horsepower and the car rolls along on Goodyear Land Speed Specials.
For the time being, Rummerfield will get back to his responsibilities with the Center, but he carries with him a precious memory. While he was at Bonneville, a family approached him and thanks him for the work the Center does toward recovery from spinal cord injuries. A family member had suffered such an injury.
"If we can increase public awareness of the Center's work, then we can keep making progress," Rummerfield said. "That's why we do this."
Rummerfield, who is a member of the Explorers Club, is the Director of Development for the Kennedy Krieger Institute's International Center for Spinal Cord Injury. He is the world's first fully functional quadriplegic. The land speed attempt is part of his effort to increase awareness of the search for ways to overcome spinal cord injuries. More information on the Center is available at www.spinalcordrecovery.org.