THE INSPIRATIONAL Race2Recovery team who became the first predominantly disabled team to complete the world’s hardest race, the 5,600 mile Dakar Rally in January 2013 have notched about another great result at the Jim Clark tarmac rally in the Scottish Borders with first in class in their Castrol Fiesta R2 rally car.
Below knee amputee Tony Harris (32) a former Royal Regiment of Fusiliers Captain who lost his leg as the result of a bomb blast in Afghanistan and founded the Race2Recovery endeavour was behind the wheel with experienced co-driver Quin Evans (39) alongside him to guide the 250bhp Fiesta R2 to a class victory at the two day event in only his second ever tarmac rally. Castrol EDGE and MIS Motorsport who have supported the team since hearing about their wild dreams to compete in the Dakar Rally sponsored the team to enter the event and were thrilled by the result as well as the response from the team’s many fans.
Dermot Hanafin, Chief Executive of MIS Motorsport the specialist motorsport insurance experts and an experienced rally driver himself said, “We were incredibly impressed with the grit and determination of this young team on the Dakar and this result on one of the UK’s best known rallies just proves how committed they are to competing and succeeding in the face of adversity. All of us at MIS Motorsport offer our sincerest congratulations and look forward to more great results in the future.”
Supporting the racers was Team Manager and former Army WO1 Andrew “Pav” Taylor with R2R mechanics Dave Reeve and Chris Ratter keeping the M-Sport prepared Fiesta running smoothly through the narrow, bumpy lanes of the Scottish Borders. Chris Ratter even brought up one of the team’s Wildcat racers to the event to fundraise for the team’s chosen charity of Help for Heroes and the Personnel Recovery Centre at Tedworth House. The 4L V8 beast became a symbol of the endurance and determination of our injured service personnel to push beyond their life changing injuries and achieve something extraordinary by completing the 5,600 mile Dakar Rally through Peru, Argentina and Chile.
The event started on Friday 31st May with a short stage through the town of Duns where Tony got used to his first run out on slick tyres with a spin but recovered to finish the stage with no damage to the car, only his pride. The next two stages were longer and allowed Tony and Quin to settle into their rhythm pushing past other competitors and maximising the capabilities of the Castrol Fiesta R2. With the light running out the team finished the first three stages ahead in their class and competing with a number of the more experienced drivers.
Saturday 1st June started with confused weather conditions and rain overnight so with two long stages to cover in the morning session Tony chose to run on intermediate tyres and was rewarded after the first stage was cancelled for safety reasons with a clean run through Swinton. “The stage was damp and bumpy but the car performed superbly and we were very happy to have got off to such a good start”, Tony said, adding, “Having Quin in the car has done wonders for my confidence and also for highlighting areas of improvement. How he does that and navigate is beyond me.”
Despite the appearance of the sunshine mid-morning and a change of tyres the stages still kept the crew guessing with a mixed surface but with the Fiesta purring nicely Tony started pushing harder to improve his times. Despite improvements on the Langton stages a mistake on Ayton, which saw Tony and Quin miss a stage split, cost the pair a maximum time and bumped them down the overall results. “It was a real frustration as we had been doing well up until that point but it is a lesson we will learn and we won’t make it again”, Tony said, “In summary we had a hugely enjoyable rally and were very happy with the first in class but we know we have to keep improving and with the support of Castrol and MIS Motorsport we will do just that. The car is beautiful and learning where we can push it further and achieve a higher placed finish is the most important for thing for us now.”
To make a donation to Help for Heroes go to www.race2recovery.com and follow them on Twitter and Facebook by searching Race2Recovery.