While the World Championship raced in Kuala Lumpur and IndyCar graced the streets of St Petersburg, a race of a different kind was unfolding in Spain.
The Tuareg Rally – an eight-day rally raid, primarily run through harsh desert lands, gravel tracks and mud roads of Northern Africa and Spain – made for its final leg.
Two crews facing the conditions head on were from the Race2Recovery team – a squad made up mainly of injured British servicemen.
Coming home 10th overall in the Orange Plant Wildcat machine were Dave Marsh and Tom Neathway. The pairing endured several mechanical failures and a late roll during the event, but recovered to claim their top ten finish and a stage win on the final day.
Tony Harris and Ben Gott took the second Race2Recovery machine – the RatCat – home 25th, assuming a stage victory of their own on the penultimate day. Despite their fast running, the RatCat crew lost much time due to an persistent engine misfire and a roll on one of the course’s deceptive dunes.
RatCat driver and Race2Recover founder, Captain Harris, noted afterward that:
“Words just can’t express how I feel right now. Our first major goal was to compete in and finish our first international event with two cars and we’ve done it.
“The experience we’ve gained along the way has been first rate. Every day was different and meant that we needed to adopt and develop new skills. We have a long way to go but we have identified our weaknesses now and where we need to develop more.”
Team manager Andrew Taylor added;
“It has been a fantastic effort, not only from the crews but the team as a whole. The support team did an amazing job during the event, keeping the cars on the road and getting them to the finish line.
“We have learned a huge amount, competing outside the UK for the first time including the preparation, planning and not least the time involved that all the team members have given up – I can’t thank each and every one of them enough.”
Out front, motorbike racer Dante Corbani took the overall victory with a time 42 hours and 58 minutes. Race2Recovery’s next outing will be the British Cross Country Championship in April.