Gruelling is hardly an accurate description. Spend 700km per day in open desert, treading a seemingly endless expanse of dunes at up to 120mph, reach the next checkpoint, eat, plan ahead, sleep for four hours and start again. That is, in essence, an average day during the three weeks of the Dakar Rally, the next chapter in the short yet remarkable history of the Race2Recovery team.
Created by a group of wounded servicemen impassioned by motorsport and cross-country racing, Race2Recovery seeks to raise money for the Help for Heroes Tedworth House Project, which aims to maintain a comprehensive rehabilitation program for British soldiers returning from warzones. From driver to mechanic, a mix of injured personnel and able-bodied civilians (all volunteers) supports the team’s two menacing Qt Wildcat DKR500 vehicles.
CDCLifestyle was fortunate enough to spend a few minutes with driver Captain Anthony Harris, Co-driver Corporal Tom Neathway and Team Manager Warrant Officer Andrew Taylor at last month’s Goodwood Festival of Speed. All three have suffered life-altering injuries ranging from spinal fusion to triple-amputation whilst on tour in Afghanistan.
The most striking element is the resolve these men have. Despite their harrowing experiences, they are determined to forge a bright legacy. Injuries aside these are as dedicated motorsport participants as any other – they adore what they do and are petrolheads to the core. And hard-core they are – triple-amputee Tom describes how rolling over in one of the team’s Wildcats and having to kick through the windscreen to get out was “not the most frightening experience I’ve had whilst racing”. Banter reigns supreme as well – Tony jokes about the mechanics creating an “encouraging” (read “expletive”) warning light to prevent him riding the clutch with his prosthetic leg whilst driving.
Every penny donated to the team goes straight to Tedworth House, hence their profound gratitude to their sponsors. Their impressive finish in Morocco’s Tuareg Rally points firmly towards future success, as does their recent sponsorship agreement with Land Rover. Race2Recovery is a truly remarkable initiative formed by utterly inspirational individuals, and we wish them every triumph in their endeavours.
Written by: Jérôme A. M. Kamm – 29/6/12