Amputee soldiers enter gruelling rally
For the first time the gruelling Dakar Rally will have an amputee driver and co-driver team entered.
The driving team are part of the Land Rover-sponsored Race2Recovery team of wounded British soldiers that aims to demonstrate enduring human spirit in overcoming the challenges of their injuries and raising money for UK charities, Help for Heroes and the Tedworth House Personnel Recovery Centre.
Land Rover's sponsorship of the R2R project is designed to enable a 31-strong amateur rally team, which includes seriously wounded service personnel, to realise their ambition of completing the world-renowned Dakar Rally Raid. Probably the world's toughest motorsport event, the Dakar will cover over 9000 km in 15 days through Peru, Argentina and Chile in January 2013.
As part their preparations, the team recently completed a major desert training exercise – code named ''Bedouin Adventure'' – in remote regions of Morocco.
Land Rover provided people who have expert Dakar knowledge and also a trio of 110 Defenders for the training exercise.
R2R team driving coach Mark Cullum explained: "Our training in Morocco demanded maximum alertness, good observation, stamina and a flexible mindset."
The team was introduced to the complexities of advanced route selection when faced with negotiating jebels, boulder fields, wadis, sand seas and razor dunes.
Speaking during a brief halt in the Atlas Mountains on the exercise's final day, Captain Tony Harris commented: "Our four days of training in Morocco have been incredibly productive and will prove invaluable in preparing the team for the rigours of the 2013 Dakar.
"Driving more than 500 km per day in temperatures up to 37 degrees and over 2000 metre high peaks en-route to the desert, with rough camping alongside our vehicles for three nights, enabled our team members to experience this unforgiving and demanding environment and develop essential skills for ensuring success on next year's Dakar rally."
The four Qt Wildcat rally-raid vehicles that R2R will enter in the 2013 Dakar are based on the Land Rover Defender and share running gear and some external visual similarities. Several elements of standard Land Rover vehicles are retained on the Wildcat including engines, axles and some cosmetic parts.
More information at www.race2recovery.com.