After the tension and euphoria of yesterday, the celebratory parade through Santiago de Chile was a chance for the Race2Recovery team to drink in their Dakar success.
At 6.30pm local time, Corporal Philip ‘Barney’ Gillespie crossed the finish line in Santiago de Chile to become the first amputee ever to complete the Dakar Rally.
On Friday we stood on top of the dune for three hours. It was 35 degrees Celsius, we could see for over 20km and we could see no-one else.
Yesterday the Dakar Rally crossed back over the Andes to Copiapó, Chile. The journey began with a 392km road section, which should have been a relaxing drive through some of the world’s most desolate and dramatic scenery.
There’s little to report today. The perilous stage from La Rioja to Fiambalá was cancelled due to flooding.
Dakar the longest in this year’s event. This was an 852km epic, from Tucumán to Cordoba that included a 593km special stage. For the Race2Recovery team and their one remaining Wildcat, ‘Joy’, it would present another fearsome test.
Friday, 11 January: Today, the Dakar got high. After six days of dune bashing, the exhausted crews were asked to travel 751km across the Andes in Argentina. Altitude is a strange companion. You can be the fittest person in the world and still get whacked by an irrational sickness at the mountain top.
We’d just crested a dune and we heard this truck coming towards us,” says Gott. “He was hooting his horn but he kept coming and smacked into the back of us.”
Late last night some distressing news reached camp about a road traffic accident involving one of the team’s support vehicles. Justin Birchall, who retired from the rally during stage 4, Lee Townsend, a team mechanic, and the team’s logistics expert, John Winskill, were involved and have been badly injured. They’ve been transferred to a hospital in Lima.
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