Pat Rummerfield chases record at Bonneville

RUMMERFIELD ON SCHEDULE FOR RECORD ATTEMPT AT BONNEVILLE BONNEVILLE, Utah (Aug. 13, 2005) -- It takes a special kind of driver to chase world speed records on the Bonneville Salt Flats. In a world where a 200 mph...

RUMMERFIELD ON SCHEDULE FOR RECORD ATTEMPT AT BONNEVILLE

BONNEVILLE, Utah (Aug. 13, 2005) -- It takes a special kind of driver to chase world speed records on the Bonneville Salt Flats.

In a world where a 200 mph pass is routine and even a 250-mph run falls short of the goal, only drivers with grit, determination and great courage can get the job done.

Pat Rummerfield qualifies on all counts. He already holds a record for speed in electric-powered cars and is currently chasing the record for the Southern California Timing Association's F Modified gasoline-powered, three-liter class.

But Rummerfield, who lives near St. Louis, proved everything about himself years ago when he became the world's first quadriplegic patient to recover his fully functional status. Rummerfield was classified as a C3, C4, C5 and C6 quadriplegic after the 1974 accident that put him near death. If he never again climbs into anything faster than the family sedan, Rummerfield will still be known as the Miracle Man.

Saturday, Rummerfield drove the Xtreme Freedom Special in what amounted to a shakedown run. He reached a speed of 116.880 mph.

"Because of bad weather conditions over the past few months, the track is extremely rough," Rummerfield said. "During our initial run, the bad track conditions caused the fuel management system to malfunction, which resulted in an unusually low speed."

The team plans to reach for the class record, which is 251.299 mph, Sunday.

Rummerfield and team owner Gil Gillis, Camarillo, Calif., hope to use the car Rummerfield drives as a vehicle to drum up interest in the Kennedy Krieger Institute's International Center for Spinal Cord Injury. The Center is affiliated with Johns Hopkins.

Dr. John W. McDonald directs the Institute, which has a tax deductible 501 C3 status. McDonald helped direct Rummerfield's recovery and was on the team that worked with Christopher Reeve after the actor suffered a paralyzing injury.

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.

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