Race2Recovery: Beyond Injury, Achieving the Extraordinary recounts the incredible story of the injured servicemen who set out to compete in the 2013 Dakar Rally in a quartet of Bowler Wildcats.
Anybody who has competed on the Dakar Rally will tell you that competing, let alone finishing, the two-week enduro is beyond tough (just ask three-time winner Marc Coma). Try doing so when you’re missing a limb, or in Corporal Philip ‘Barney’ Gillespie’s case, the right leg below the knee.
Many of you may already be familiar with Race2Recovery, a rally team consisting of wounded servicemen, who decided to take on the toughest endurance rally on the planet as part of their rehabilitation. It’s an incredibly heart-warming story, the poignancy of which is emphasised arguably even more by Gillespie’s words upon finishing all 8500 gruelling kilometres:
“I was standing on that podium nearly two years to the day after I got blown up.”
Of the four Land Rover-based Bowler Wildcats that began the assault, only one – the ironically dubbed ‘Joy’, named in honour of the late wife of Peter Harrison whose foundation donated the Bowler – made it to the finish. As well as rhapsodising about the triumphant Corporal Gillepsie and co-driver Captain Matt O’Hare’s efforts, Race2Recovery: Beyond Injury, Achieving the Extraordinary walks its readers through the tribulations that befell the remaining Wildcats. The frustration at being forced to retire a healthy car is particularly moving.
Of the £17.99 (around $27) paid for each copy of the Haynes hardback, £2 ($3) is divided equalled between Help for Heroes and the Race2Recovery Foundation, two charities that look support injured servicemen. For the Race2Recovery crew though, rest and further recuperation – according to team member Captain Tony Harris – is apparently far from their minds:
“I have confidence in myself now and know that I can survive life after the military, and not only survive, but really thrive too. This is just the beginning. I hope.”
– Shots courtesy of Haynes