The Race2Recovery team started the 2013 Dakar on the 5th January aiming to cross the finish line 20 days later after covering more than 6000 miles. The event started in Lima, Peru on January 5 and finishes, via Argentina, in Santiago, Chile on January 20. click here for Dakar
Since the team has had mixed fortunes; with three cars still racing well and going into stage 4, Race2Recovery had confirmation that the fourth Wildcat of driver Captain Harris and co-driver Cathy Derousseaux, had been eliminated. 'To say we’re gutted is an understatement,' said Captain Harris after his elimination from the race. 'In the back of our minds we thought this might be a possibility. I can’t really explain how Cathy and I feel after all the effort and the two years of hard work and training – it’s like a knife through our hearts and hasn’t really sunk in yet. However, we now have to pick ourselves up and channel our personal disappointment into energy and support for the rest of the team. The Race2Recovery project has always been about the whole team and we still have three Wildcats competing strongly in the rally. Our job is to get them safely over the finishing line now and that has to be our focus. We will be Race2Recovery’s official cheerleaders!'
After Stage 4, Justin Birchall and co-driver Corporal Tom Neathway were forced to retire their vehicle from the race after it suffered mechanical failure as a result of major damage caused by the punishing run of Stage 4. Both Justin and Tom are safe but their Wildcat vehicle was damaged. It was kindly donated to the team by the family of Gordon Chapman, who sadly passed away before he had chance to use the vehicle in his own plans to race in the Dakar.
Tom said on retiring from the Dakar Rally, 'We’re distraught at not being able to continue in the rally and get Gordon’s car to the finish line. We felt very passionate about the fact that we wanted to get to the finish in Gordon’s memory, given the donation of the car from his family after he passed away. However, I hope that we have made the family proud by what we have achieved to date and the fact that the Race2Recovery team is still pushing forward. On a personal note, I’m gutted that after all our training and hard work we have had to retire, but I hope our efforts in the build-up, and in our four days of racing, have helped inspire other people to challenge themselves, no matter what their disability, illness or adverse circumstances. We will now throw ourselves into supporting the remaining Race2Recovery team members that are still competing.'
Messages of support from all over the world are pouring into the team's Facebook page and it's clear that if the R2R team could win the event on goodwill, they'd already be on the podium. At the time of writing, Major Matt O’Hare and Corporal Phillip Gillespie successfully finished Tuesday’s Stage 4 and were confirmed as starting Stage 5. In addition, the crew of Ben Gott and SSgt Mark Zambon, who had been delayed after they stopped to help other teams in difficulty, were confirmed for entry into Stage 5.
11.01.13: An update from motoring journalist Ken Gibson in The Sun click here for The Sun
Live updates from the R2R team can be found at: www.race2recovery.com click here for race2recovery on Facebook via searching for 'Race2Recovery' and www.facebook.com/landrover or on Twitter: @race2recovery, @landrover and @landroverukpr.
People wishing to find out more about Race2Recovery or make a donation to the fundraising campaign should visit www.race2recovery.com click here for race2recovery