The Race2Recovery team, comprised primarily of injured service personnel, today officially launched its campaign to become the first disabled team to contest the gruelling Dakar Rally, in 2013. In the process, the team will be raising money for Help for Heroes which will be restricted towards the Personnel Recovery and Assessment Centre (South) at Tedworth House and inspire the wider disabled community to realise their goals.
Members of the team were featured on BBC Top Gear in the summer of 2011, as they began preparations for their epic journey. However, in the run-up to its first international Rally Raid event, the team officially launched its campaign to the press and sponsors at Tedworth House.
Inspired by the Row2Recovery campaign, which saw injured service personnel complete a 3000-mile trans-Atlantic row in January 2012, Race2Recovery has adopted the same values; determination, honour, camaraderie and inspiring others.
The campaign will culminate in a four-car team taking part in perhaps the last great motorsport challenge, the Dakar Rally. The team will have to race over 9000km in just 14 days over some of the harshest terrain on the planet. The finishing rate of just 40% means that completing the event is an astonishing achievement, even before considering the physical challenges the injured team members will face.
In 2011, the team competed in the Marches 4×4 British Cross Country Championship in a Land Rover Freelander to begin gaining the experience and skills they would need on the Dakar. As the season drew to a close, they also took to their Qt Wildcats for the first time since Top Gear, the vehicles they will actually use on the international events.
Their programme accelerates rapidly in 2012, as they plan a campaign of international rally raids to further develop their skills and experience in the type of conditions they are likely to face on the Dakar.
The first of these is the Tuareg Rally, beginning and ending in southern Spain. However, the competition itself takes place in the deserts of Morocco and unusually for a rally raid, the event is based on two central locations, meaning the support team will be able to learn the intricacies of this type of event without the need to constantly re-locate.
Beginning on 18 March, the event sees seven solid days of competition over the sand dunes of North Africa before returning to Spain for a short navigational section prior to the finish on Monday 26 March.
The team’s second major event will be the Silkway Rally, part of the Dakar series for off-road races. The actual date for this year’s event is still to be confirmed but essentially, it will take teams and service crews from Moscow to Sochi on the shores of the Black Sea. The point-to-point route means that the service teams will have to follow the competing crews, in a similar fashion to the Dakar itself, giving them a much better feel for the demands when they reach South America.
Commenting, Race2Recovery co-driver Corporal Tom Neathway said; “We’re moving into the second phase of the campaign and things are starting to get really interesting. Last year, we learned a huge amount and will continue to compete in the BCCC this year to develop our skills as a team and as individual race crews further.
“However, the Tuareg and eventually, the Silkway will be the first real taste of what we’re likely to face on the Dakar and while we’re all slightly apprehensive, we are hugely excited at the challenges ahead.
“We have had incredible support for our campaign so far, from the public as well as the motorsport community. The Qt Wildcats we will be using on the Tuareg and onwards have had a huge amount of new kit added to them, thanks to our many technical supporters and partners and we’re very interested to see how this all works when we get to Morocco.”
The team’s progress will be followed through the website, www.race2recovery.co.uk and its Twitter feed, Facebook page and YouTube channel, all accessible directly from the website.