The Race2Recovery (R2R) team of wounded soldiers planning to enter the 2013 Dakar Rally with support from Land Rover, successfully conducted a major desert training exercise – code named ‘Bedouin Adventure’ – in remote regions of Morocco last week. By undertaking the most gruelling off-road racing challenge in the world next year, R2R is determined to demonstrate enduring human spirit, with the Dakar event’s first ever amputee driver and co-driver entry overcoming the challenges of their injuries and raising money for Help for Heroes and the Tedworth House Personnel Recovery Centre. The provision of training and expertise by Land Rover’s renowned Land Rover Experience (LRE) team boasts members who have expert Dakar knowledge, having participated in the annual endurance race on multiple occasions.
For the training exercise, Land Rover supplied three 110 Defenders with diesel engines and manual transmissions, being ideal training tools. R2R team driving coach Mark Cullum explained, 'Our training in Morocco demanded maximum alertness, good observation, stamina and a flexible mindset.'
Driving south east from R2R’s coastal base at Essaouira, 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 2,000 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.'
Land Rover’s sponsorship of the Race2Recovery 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 covers over 5,000 miles (9,000 km) in 15 days through Peru, Argentina and Chile in January 2013. 'While constantly focusing on the core rally-raid driving disciplines of ‘traction, ground clearance and stability’, our time in Morocco exposed team members to a wide range of very different terrains for the first time,' said Cullum. 'The biggest lessons learned were ground appreciation – the surface can change surprisingly quickly – and the importance of maintaining momentum over varying terrain, while simultaneously demonstrating mechanical sympathy for the vehicle.'
The four Qt Wildcat rally-raid vehicles that Race2Recovery 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. Fans and potential supporters of Race2Recovery can follow the team’s progress and make donations at www.race2recovery.com. For more information on the Race2Recovery campaign and how to support the cause, go to www.race2recovery.co.uk, click here for race2recovery