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The Race2Recovery blog: This event is epic

race1 300x225 The Race2Recovery blog: This event is epic“At 50km we thought we were out of the rally,” reckoned Marine Staff Sergeant Mark Zambon. “We had a major gearbox problem but we worked with the other Wildcat of Justin Birchall and Tom Neathway and we fixed it in the stage. Then the power steering broke. For 250km Ben Gott drove through the dunes using only the strength of his forearms. Thankfully, he spent a fair bit of time in the gym over Christmas.” Both problems will be fixed overnight.

After the travails of yesterday, these mishaps seemed almost routine for the team. On a day when many more experienced outfits suffered terminal problems, all four Wildcats made it safely to the bivouac. As I write, the cars are being fettled by the team’s mechanics, while the crews work on their notes for tomorrow’s stage, a 717km epic that includes a 288km timed section. The third stage has not been without difficulties for the team’s race truck, though, which broke down and is currently being repaired in the dunes.

race2 300x225 The Race2Recovery blog: This event is epicEverything about this event is epic. There are 459 vehicles in the rally from fifty-three countries and each night, the bivouac is home to 3000 people. There’s a designated canteen, a handful of mediocre showers and sinks that sometimes contain water. Under the lights at night, it looks more like a scene from a Mad Max movie than a motorsport event, but that’s all part of the Dakar’s charm.

At the end of the day, there was even a moment of light relief when a typo in the official results had Tony Harris leading the rally. A souvenir print out will no doubt be making its way back to the UK at the end of January.

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.com

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