Troops rally for Dakar challenge
BEYOND INJURY - ACHIEVING THE EXTRAORDINARY: The Race2Recovery team meets before shipping out to South America for the 2013 Dakar Rally.
LONDON, England - The Race2Recovery team, a group of predominantly injured soldiers aiming to become the first disabled team to complete the gruelling Dakar Rally, visited Tedworth House Personnel Recovery Centre (PRC) in Wiltshire, England.
The team met up with its race and support vehicles before being shipped out to South America.
The team demonstrated its race vehicles, including Land-Rover based Wildcats, a 4x4 race support truck and huge 8x8 service area support trucks.
The team, whose motto is "beyond injury – achieving the extraordinary", consists of injured servicemen and support personel.
With less than 50 days to go until the start of their 2013 Dakar Rally challenge, Race2Recovery has already raised R1.4-million for Tedworth House, which is one of six PRCs that have been established as part of the UK's Defence Recovery Capability.
Captain Tony Harris, one of Race2Recovery’s drivers who is a below-the-knee amputee as a result of injuries suffered in Afghanistan, said: “I’m delighted that Race2Recovery is able to come together as a full team one last time before we wave goodbye to our vehicles when we ship them to South America for the January 2013 Dakar Rally.
Team navigator Corporal Tom Neathway, who lost both legs and his left arm as the result of a booby trap explosion in Afghanistan, said: “It’s great to come together as a team to celebrate the fact that, in only 18 months, we have established a highly capable rally raid team and that we’re set to race in our ultimate goal, the 2013 Dakar Rally.
One of the civilian members of the team is Cathy Derousseaux, goddaughter to Dakar legend and three-time winner Pierre Lartigue, competed in the Africa Eco-Race and is a two-time winner of the French Women’s Rally Championship.
She said: “It’s an honour to be part of such a fantastic project and to race as part of a truly inspirational team. I’m pleased that I can bring my rallying experience to the team but I’m also very aware that the Race2Recovery team, in a very short space of time, has become a strong and skilled outfit in its own right.
"We’re determined to complete the Dakar and I have full faith in both the race and support crews that we can achieve our goal. We’re also over the moon that the campaign continues to raise money through its charity fundraising which is benefitting Tedworth House Personnel Recovery Centre.”
On November 7, 2012, it was announced that Race2Recovery had been awarded the first ever grant from the Endeavour Fund, set up by The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.
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The 2013 Dakar course stretches over 9000km, beginning in Lima, Peru on January 5, 2013, before winding down through Peru, into Argentina and then into Chile for the finish on January 20, 2013.