"Michael lives in the Seattle area," explains Randy, "and travelled to California for surgery on his neck. A mutual friend who knew I was looking for a quadriplegic to help me test a new design, introduced me to Michael-Ryan (M-R). I got M-R set up with my new therapy gloves and, at the same time, realized we have a lot in common." (Pattison heads a foundation that helps fellow spinal cord injury sufferers and he loves cars and racing.)
Unfortunately, following his accident, M-R believed he would never drive a car again, let alone race one. "I told him that wasn't true," smiles Randy, and so it turned out.
When Simmons began to build his Hudson, he designed the passenger-side rollcage so that it would allow the seat to swivel and power out, a custom lift ensuring the navigator gets safely on board. Pattison will be Randy's co-pilot at Pikes Peak and other road races. But the ambition does not end there. Randy has also designed a mouth-piece controller that operates the steering and the throttle. What this means is that M-R and Randy will head to Bonneville with the Super 6, where Pattison will become the first-ever quadriplegic to drive in competition and/or set a record.
"I've seen a lot of people crash and a lot of people get hurt," confirms Randy in a moment of reflection. "It's all about safety when I race." Which isn't to say M-R will be taking it easy when he hits the salt with Simmons. Truth to tell, if Michael-Ryan runs just 50 mph he will get the record, but being the sportsman that he is, Pattison will have something much bigger in mind when he gets on the start line. "M-R's a young guy and he has an ego," laughs Randy, "He wants to go the maximum speed this truck is geared for and that is 230 mph."
Yet there is still some fine tuning to be done, out at El Mirage the tires are limiting Randy's runs to 140 mph, despite the tires spinning at something around 180 mph. Better rubber makes this an easy fix and it will be in place by the time he and Michael roll into Bonneville.
On face value, Randy Simmons is an engaging, friendly, and very skilled automotive engineer. Dig a little deeper and he is an inspiration and his exploits with Michael-Ryan and this sensational Hudson Super 6 will no doubt be well worth following over the months and years to come.
For more information on the work of Simmons and Pattison, along with updates on their adventures, log on to www.acureiscoming.com or call (206) 799-9646.
Inside it's all business with race-proven components providing instant performance data fo
...and a GPS system for the co-pilot.