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Race2Recovery team cross the finish line in Dakar Rally
A TEAM of injured soldiers and civilians have become the first ever disability team to complete the world’s toughest race.
Race2Recovery Land Rover Defender-based Wildcat race vehicle and its crew, of driver Major Matt O’Hare and co-driver Corporal Phillip Gillespie, completed their sensational achievement as they crossed the finish line of the final stage of the Dakar Rally in Santiago, Chile, last night.
The moment was the finale of two weeks of racing that saw the team’s other three Wildcat vehicles fall out of the race at various stages along the way.
Three members of the support team, including logistics expert Major (retd) John Winskill from Durrington, were injured in a crash that claimed the lives of two local people while travelling in convoy with other support vehicles.
And two race vehicles had to pull out, one after suffering mechanical failure, the other due to not reaching sufficient way points.
Captain Tony Harris, 31, one of the rally drivers, who is a below the knee amputee as a result of injuries suffered while serving in Afghanistan, said: “To be standing here in Santiago knowing we’ve finished, two weeks after starting out on this epic journey, feels absolutely brilliant.
" The team have shown huge dedication, going without sleep and putting in some serious hours of hard work, whether as the drivers, co-drivers or support team.
“We’re also very mindful that three of our members weren’t able to follow the whole journey with us after being injured in a road traffic accident earlier on the event.
“We’re very grateful that they have all made a good recovery but our thoughts have always been with those others involved in the accident who were less fortunate and our sympathy remains with their families.”
The team is raising money for the Personnel Recovery Centre at Tedworth House in Tidworth.
To support them go to race2recovery.com.