How 3,500 litres of water, 40 tubes of insect repellent and 16 prosthetic limbs helped amputee servicemen finish world’s toughest rally

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The whole story of how a group of injured servicemen became the first team with disabilities to attempt and finish the Dakar Rally is about to be published in a book, supporting Help For Heroes.

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The official book starts with the determination of the 28-strong team, including six amputees, to prepare for the demanding 5,500 mile race across the sand dunes of South America. The two weeks of racing includes action photos and views from key team members as three of the four vehicles fell out of the race but they rallied to keep the final car ‘Joy’ in the competition.

 

Corporal Phillip Gillespie, who lost a leg in Afghanistan after standing on an IED, and Major Matt O’Hare from the Race2Recovery team crossed the finish line in their Land Rover Defender-based Wildcat in Santiago, Chile last month.

 

Race2Recovery was conceived by Captain Tony Harris, 31, and Corporal Tom Neathway, 28, who met at Headley Court in Surrey as part of their rehabilitation after suffering injuries in Afghanistan. For Capt Harris, an encounter with an IED in 2009 resulted in the amputation of his left foot, while Cpl Neathway lost both legs and his left arm after triggering a booby trap in 2008.

 

In total the 28-strong team used the following supplies in their Dakar endeavour:

16 prosthetic limbs

11 race suits

13 crash helmets

28 kit bags

22 sets of race wear underwear

170 t-shirts

11 pairs of race boots

8 sat phones

10 radios

4 laptops

40 tubes of insect repellent

30 bottles of foot powder

3584 litres of water (8 litres of water per team member per day 8 x 28 x 16)

 

Race2Recovery is the first recipient of a £100,000 grant from The Royal Foundation Endeavour Fund, set up by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry to enable wounded and injured servicemen and women to take part in challenges and expeditions that will assist with their recovery.

 

The story will be published on March 14th 2013 with £2 from every copy going to support the Help For Heroes-run Tedworth House Recovery Centre in Wiltshire.

 

Race2Recovery: Beyond Injury, Achieving the Extraordinary by Stephanie Temple (Haynes and FireStep Publishing) £17.99 haynes.co.uk/race2recovery

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