The Race2Recovery blog: The Rally can bite at anytime
Dakar veterans will tell you that the Rally can bite at anytime and on the very first day, it bit the Race2Recovery team. Just before start of the first special stage, the Wildcat driven by amputee Tony Harris developed a problem with its front differential. The support team sprang into action, removing a propshaft that allowed the car to continue in two-wheel drive.
Saturday’s stage, just 13km long, was designed a prologue, an hors d’oeuvre for the challenges to come. But in the Peruvian desert, there’s no such thing as easy ride. Four kilometres into the stage, Harris telephoned the team to report a problem with the rear of the car. For now he was stranded in the desert, reliant upon the assistance of the team’s race truck, due to enter the stage in a couple of hours.
The Renault Kerax truck’s role in life is to support the quartet of Wildcats. It carries an array of spares to fix the cars on the fly, and can even be employed to tow them to the end of the stage. In the dunes, the truck’s crew of Mark Cullum, Charles Simcock and Chris Ratter replaced the Wildcat’s rear differential, allowing the car to continue. With the help of a team from Renault trucks, together they worked their way back to the bivouac, finally arriving at 11:00 p.m.
“We knew the Dakar was going to be tough,” said Harris, “and today we learnt just how tough. It’s been a long, long day, but everyone’s been fantastic and it shows the spirit of the Dakar that we were helped by another team. Tomorrow is another day and we’re still in the event. There’s a reason they call this the world’s toughest rally.”
The three remaining Wildcats successfully completed the stage and are looking forwards to tomorrow’s challenge, a 327km loop that includes a 242km special stage. It promises to be another epic day.
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 www.race2recovery.comTagged in: dakar, Race2Recovery, rally, tony harris
Latest from Independent journalists on Twitter