RACE2Recovery, the group of injured soldiers and civilian volunteers who made history as the first disabled rally team to complete the Dakar rally in 2013, has suffered a setback in their race to the 2014 title.
The team, including Ribble Valley’s Justin Birchall, has been forced to retire its two race cars after Stage 2 of this year’s race, but said it will now focus all efforts on its remaining T4 race truck to keep the dream alive.
Justin, who lives in Middop, near Gisburn, was seriously injured in the race last year, but didn’t let the experience put him off taking part in a support role this time round, and he flew out to South America at the start of the month.
Justin has taken to Twitter to share the highs and lows of Race2Recovery’s journey. Now that both Race2Recovery vehicles competing in the cars class have been ruled out, the team is making the race truck its sole focus to achieve the goal of completing the Dakar for a second year running, but it will have to ensure the vehicle makes it through every stage of the race if it succeeds.
On Wednesday, Justin said: “The roads here on the plains are long and straight and extremely hot, the heat haze can hide a full truck.” Later the same day he also tweeted pictures of long queues for fuel in the South American desert.
On Thursday he said that filling stations had run out of diesel again, and said the team were also having to compete with local wildlife. He said: “We got the fuel, interesting towing a wild Cat for 572km, will sleep tonight, hopefully. Bugs here don't bite, they want to eat you.”
The Race2Recovery team has adopted the motto ‘beyond injury, achieving the extraordinary’ and has raised more than £250,000 for military charities including Tedworth House and Help for Heroes.
To find out more about Race2Recovery, visit www.race2recovery.com. Follow Justin on Twitter at @Dakar_Justin.