The Race2Recovery blog: Day 2 of drama

Cathy Tony1 300x200 The Race2Recovery blog: Day 2 of drama

Cathy and Tony

Day 2 on the Dakar brought more drama for the Race2Recovery team. The Wildcat of Tony Harris and Cathy Derousseaux suffered technical problems on the 242 km stage and was assisted by the team’s race truck. The car was repaired and the duo drove on into the night through some of the toughest dunes they’ll face in the rally. They made it back to the bivouac but were concerned they’d missed some way points along the way. The team consulted the rally organisers and although they have incurred significant time penalties, the car has been given a start number for today.

“The last forty-eight hours have been an emotional rollercoaster,” said Harris. “It’s been an incredibly tough start for us, but the car’s fixed, I’ve snatched some sleep and we’re off to the start line. The team’s doing an amazing job. We still have all four cars running and we’re learning all the time.”

rally 300x225 The Race2Recovery blog: Day 2 of drama For Matt O’Hare and ‘Barney’ Gillespie, this was another day of quiet endeavour in their beloved Wildcat ‘Joy’. Regular followers of Race2Recovery will appreciate that ‘Joy’ has often been a troubling cat and today was no different. Rumours circulated in the bivouac this evening that the duo were in trouble, but at 9:20, 40 minutes before the official cut-off, Joy rolled in to camp.

“She kept overheating every 30 km. So we’d stop, take a break and let her cool down,” said Gillespie. “Matt did a brilliant job and she kept going. The last few kilometres were incredible. I’ve never seen dunes like that and we were navigating through them in the dark. This is everything I thought the Dakar would be, and then some.”

Ben Gott and US Marine Mark Zambon had a trouble free day in their Wildcat. “It’s the mental exhaustion that’s the biggest challenge,” says Zambon. “You’re watching three different instruments for seven hours during the stage, while also trying to watch the terrain. The Dakar’s everything I expected, it’s pushing my limits time and again but I know that Ben and I can handle this as a team.” The Anglo-American partnership were joined on the stage by the Wildcat of Justin Birchall and Tom Neathway, who also enjoyed a trouble free run.

Team Principal, Quinn Evans, “this was one of the most challenging first days we’ve ever seen in the Dakar with extremely tough dune sections that caused many experienced competitors a headache. As I go to bed many of them are still fighting their way back through the stage. All our teams have done a great job – for Matt and Barney to navigate back through the night was an awesome achievement. ”

Today the rally moves south from Pisco to Nazca, which includes a 243km special stage.

Race2Recovery is the first disabled team ever to enter the Dakar Rally, the world’s toughest motorsport event. Comprised predominantly of British and American servicemen, wounded in action, the team has set out to prove that serious injuries are no barrier to extraordinary achievement, and to raise money for the Tedworth House Personnel Recovery Centre. Donations to the team’s fundraising campaign can be made at

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