When the Race2Recovery team competed in Morocco in March 2012 it was their first international test and for many of the team members it was their first desert race too. For the wounded team members this was also going to be their first time back in the desert since they were injured.  Incredibly the team surpassed their own expectations finishing 10th and 25th out of 52 competitors despite minor rolls for both Qt Wildcats and a recurring engine misfire for Ben and Tony.

IMG 0413Tony summed the rally up nicely,

 

“The whole team learnt some hugely valuable lessons from the desert where one mistake led to a Wildcat rolling when it crested a knife-edged sand dune at 90 degrees instead of 45 degrees. Standing testimony to the car’s strength it cracked on as soon as it was back on it’s wheels.

 

Reserve co-pilot Phillip “Barney” Gillespie was asked on a number of occasions to stand in as co-pilot during the rally for other drivers and demonstrated his capability and professionalism when he guided BCCC regular Jonnie Koonja to an overall day win on Day 7.

 

The service team was under the strict gaze of injured team manager Andrew “Pav” Taylor and the team’s Team Principal, Dakar veteran, Pierre De Frenne from Donerre. As a result of their close supervision and fantastic working relationship the service team have returned with slick drills, rehearsed operating procedures and a sound knowledge of their roles and responsibilities which will be vital to the team’s success on the Dakar in January next year.

 

Both cars_water_splashFor those of us with injuries sustained in Afghanistan this was our first return to the desert and it made a pleasant surprise not to be shot at. The sand did cause us some issues but with the use of the Qt Wildcat’s onboard air compressor any sand working its way into the prosthetics was soon removed. Barney and I were both surprised to find that working in the sand on our below knee prosthetics wasn’t as hard we first imagined and didn’t require any “go-go gadget attachment” to clamber up the steep dunes to reach check points. Tom’s legs did suffer in the difficult conditions but a sound plan and great working relationship with his driver meant that they managed to extricate themselves quickly and efficiently whenever they got stuck… most of us got stuck in the sand at least 5 times but soon learnt to read the ground and avoid the worst of it.

 

We were very pleased with the equipment on the cars, in the service team and the nutrition drinks from USN which worked brilliantly at keeping us hydrated despite long periods in the cars. As we developed our routine the whole team began to operate like a military unit which was some consolation given our background.”

 

For their first rally the team did very well indeed and would heartily recommend it as a starter rally for anyone contemplating anything bigger! For more pictures see the gallery link below.