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Race2Recovery Team Complete Dakar Rally: The World’s Toughest Race!

Race2Recovery Team Complete Dakar Rally: The World’s Toughest Race!

Icom UK are delighted to announce that Race2Recovery, the group of predominantly injured soldiers who formed a rally team to raise funds for Forces charities, have made history by becoming the first ever disability team to complete the world’s toughest race – the Dakar Rally. The team celebrated their sensational achievement as they crossed the finish line of the final stage on the 19th January 2013. Their Wildcat vehicle, based on a Land Rover Defender was driven by Major Matt O’Hare and co-driver Corporal Phillip Gillespie. Icom UK supported the project with IC-F3002 VHF Commercial Two Way Radios and accessories, for what is still, the most arduous motoring adventure in the world.

Race2Recovery Team Manager, Warrant Officer Andrew Taylor, 40, who suffered a serious back injury after being caught in a suicide bomb attack during active service in the Royal Army Medical Corps said, ‘People from all over the world have been sending messages of support to the team and the closer we got to the finish the more these messages flooded in. The Race2Recovery challenge really seems to have captured the imagination of the public and we can’t thank everyone enough. One of our biggest aims has been to raise money for Tedworth House Personnel Recovery Centre. Many of our team members, their families and people we know have benefitted from the recovery process that supports our country’s injured servicemen and women. I would urge anyone that has followed our team, and is celebrating its success, to visit our website and make a donation to this fantastic cause”.

The Race2Recovery team’s four Wildcat race vehicles took to the start line in Lima, Peru on the morning of Saturday 5th January, signalling the start of 15 days of racing; 9000km of extreme mountain and desert terrain. The first car eliminated from the race was that of Captain Tony Harris and his co-driver Cathy Derousseaux, who were disqualified after they did not pass sufficient way points on Stage 2 due to mechanical issues during the stage. A few days later, the race car of driver Justin Birchall and co-driver Corporal Tom Neathway was forced to retire after mechanical issues, caused by a particularly punishing Stage 4, saw a host of other vehicles also retire. On Stage 6, the car of driver Ben Gott and co-driver US Marine SSgt Mark Zambon hit a ditch at speed and rolled. Whilst they avoided serious injury the damage to the car meant they were unable to continue the race.

However, the team’s Wildcat vehicle ‘Joy’, donated to the team by the Peter Harrison Foundation and named after Peter’s wife, Joy, who sadly passed away in September last year, remained firmly in the race. Suffering from some over-heating problems during the first half of the rally, the team were regularly forced to do more of their driving at night. However, the team’s mechanics were able to do major work to the vehicle on the event rest day, fixing a number of issues and enabling Major O’Hare and Corporal Gillespie to make great progress through the second week.

The Race2Recovery team has rapidly risen to become a fully functioning rally raid team in only 18 months. Beginning their campaign with only one Land Rover Freelander and a handful of members, the team now totals 28 people with four Wildcat race vehicles and fleet of support vehicles including a 4x4 truck that will race the course in order to support the race cars, plus 8x8 support trucks and a number of Land Rover Discovery vehicles to help move the support team and mechanical equipment.

Icom supported the Race2Recovery team with its IC-F3002 commercial two way radios. The two way radios were used during convoy road moves (line of sight comms) allowing the team manager to speak to all team assistance cars and trucks. This enabled safe convoy operations, allowing the team to respond effectively to any incidents or urgent passage-of-information needs en route (breakdown, accident, navigation check etc).

The radios were also used during overnight stops between racing stages. With over 200 race teams, over 2500 people occupied a desert encampment measuring 1km x 1.5km square, the team used the VHF handsets for comms between key individuals as they moved between media events, medical reviews, organiser meetings etc. Thus the Icom handsets formed the core of the team's intra-bivouac comms; enabling very fast response to an ever-changing environment.

Ian Lockyer, Marketing Manager of Icom UK Ltd said of this fantastic achievement, ‘I’m so pleased for the whole Race2Recovery team. To complete the Dakar Rally is an incredible achievement in itself, but to become the first ever disability team to cross that finish line lifts the achievement to a whole other level.’ The Race2Recovery team aims to continue its charitable fundraising beyond the end of this year’s Dakar Rally. The official book, ‘Race2Recovery: Beyond Injury, Achieving the Extraordinary’, will be published by Haynes and FireStep Publishing in March 2013. £2 from every copy will be donated to Help For Heroes (

Donations to the Race2Recovery fundraising campaign for Tedworth House Personnel Recovery Centre can be made at or to donate £5 via mobile text RACE20 £5 to 70070. The team are also encouraging people to follow them on Google+ (Race2Recovery), Twitter (@race2recovery) and Facebook.

Picture courtesy of : ‘Gaucho Productions’

Icom UK Marketing -


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