Posts Tagged ‘motorsport’

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For as long as I can remember I have always been a fan of the Dakar Rally. Back in the day it use to be “The Paris – Dakar Rally” that set off from Paris, France, during the first week of January. The race route has changed a lot since its inception back in 1979 so its name has just become “The Dakar” but its sole still remains that of the original. The most demanding rally in the world! A true test of  man and machine! This year’s race that kicked off on the 5th of Jan (2013) and lasts for 15 days will take these truly amazing men and machines from Peru through Argentina and completing this epic race in Chile. The machine of choice for these men and women range from purpose built sand eating all wheel drive (4×4) cars / buggies/ pickup’s to almost normal 4 wheel drive cars / pickups with a roll cage fitted to them. Then you have the motor bike and quad bike classes all followed up with the monsters of the desserts the support trucks. Yes as mad as it sounds the support trucks also race! These are no normal MAN / DAF/ Tata trucks I might add. Highly modified 8 wheel drive monsters that have full support kit to keep the bikes and cars going smoothly over all manor of terrain. The machines are truly amazing but its the men and women that pilot these beasts over this grueling race for 15 days that are the inspiration here! I have had the privilege of meeting some of these inspirational people in past years when I use to live in South Africa. Moto-X ace Alfie Cox and South African Off road champ Neil Woolridge  when I use to deliver spare parts and even help out at Moto-X events. Having met some of these inspirational people in the past and been a great follower of the race for as long as I can remember I am really inspired by one truly amazing team this year. Having a great respect for both the race and the people that take part in it I know that this is not a race for the faint hearted. The race has eaten man and machines in the past and its no stranger to death. But this does not stop close on 475 vehicle’s ( Bikes/ Cars/ Quads/ Tucks ) from competing this years event. Nor does the fact that one amazing team is being manned by injured former military service men and women!

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The Race2Recover team who are supporting 4 Bowler Wildcat 4×4’s , 3 service trucks and 3 Landrover support vehicles in this years event. A large team yes with loads of support but what makes them truly amazing is the fact that some of the team are missing more than one limb! Be it an arm or a leg or both and in some cases both legs and an arm. These guys are amazing. They have the right attitude, an IED didn’t stop them so what chance does the worlds most gruelling rally have against these lot! Not a lot I would guess ! So why are these lads and girls who put their life’s on the line over in Afghanistan doing this race? Well I think their moto in their logo above sums it all up rather nicely. They are also doing it to raise funds and awareness for other injured service men and women out there. These guys are just amazing. Last year on TopGear we got to see the guys preparing for this epic adventure with the help of former Stig, Ben Colins. It was great to see the guys in action and to hear bits about their own stories of bravery and personal battles.

The personal battles are far from over as the teams and support crew as they face every thing that the Dakar and South America can throw at them.

As I type this post Race2Recovery had to retire 2 of the Wildcat’s, one due to missing a check point and the other due to mechanical problems. Two race vehicles out this is not the only issues the team have has had to face. On day 5 of the 15 day event one of the support vehicles carrying 3 support members was involved in a head on collision with a taxi Peru. The team members were taken to the local hospital but sadly two people in the taxi died as a result of the accident.  ( full story can be found here – The Gardian )

Race2Recover started the Dakar with the goal of being the first disabled team to complete the event. And this goal has not changed as a result of the past few days of the rally. The team will continue with the remaining two Wildcat’s and the rest of the support team in their 8 wheel drive monsters in order to achieve their goal.

You can keep in touch and send your support to the team via social media via the following links:

Facebook – Race2Recovery 

Twitter – @Race2Recovery

Be sure to visit there page – donate if you can and show your support to the most inspirational team in the most demanding of motorsport events, The Dakar Rally

So it just go to show if you put your mind to anything the body will follow.

Truly inspirational team.

UPDATE —>  Great story published in The Sun Newspaper today – Click here to read it and view some great photos of the team in action.