Team of injured soldiers completes tough Dakar Rally – writing themselves into record books

FINISH LINE: Victory in Dakar

FINISH LINE: Victory in Dakar

First published in News by , Chief Reporter

A RALLY team of injured soldiers that includes a Bournemouth man has made history by completing one of the world’s toughest motorsport events for the second year running.

As reported in the Daily Echo, the Race2Recovery team has been taking on the legendary Dakar Rally in South America.

The group, sponsored by Land Rover, became the first-ever disabled team to finish the Dakar in 2013 and, by successfully crossing the line in Chile for the 2014 event, they have written themselves into the record books once again.

But it wasn’t easy – their two race cars didn’t make it and it was down to the team’s race truck to take them to the end.

On board was Sean Whatley, who has been a member of the support team as a mechanic and one of 16 in the whole team.

Speaking from South America, Sean told the Daily Echo: “We’re delighted to have got our race truck through to the end of the Dakar. It’s an enormous achievement and a real team effort.

“As one of a team of mechanics, I was regularly working through the night to keep the vehicles in top shape to give them the best chance of coping with the rigours of the Dakar.

“The whole team put in a huge amount of work, with everyone missing out on sleep for the best part of the last two weeks, and I couldn’t be happier that we got the result we deserved. “The initial reaction to the truck crossing the finish line was celebration, followed by relief, as you always know the Dakar can throw up a surprise, right until the end.

“Every year you hear stories about teams coming a cropper on the last day and we desperately didn’t want that to happen.”

In all, 204 vehicles finished the 9,100km rally, just over half of the original entrants.

Race2Recovery has raised over £250,000 for military charities.

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