That extra something

That extra something

19.11.2012: The Race 2 Recovery crews are made up of British and American servicemen who were gravely wounded in action.

The Race 2 Recovery crews are made up of British and American servicemen who were gravely wounded in action. Their disabilities will not make them feel any less capable when the rally kicks off in Lima on January 5. Their number one goal: proving that there is life beyond injury.

The Dakar sets the scene for challenges, a scene where many come to push their limits. Race 2 Recovery has brought together a band of adventurers like no other with the shared goal of achieving the impossible after staring death in the eyes. Each of the four Bowlers fielded by the team will be carrying a disabled soldier who was injured in the on-going conflicts in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Former paratrooper Tom Neathway's encounter with a booby trap resulted in the amputation of both legs and an arm, but this did not stop him from putting his name down for the toughest rally in the world. The British Army soldier is unfazed by the dunes as he prepares to race as co-driver:

"This is the greatest challenge I've tackled ever since I was injured. It's going to be hard, but our military background should help us, we're used to difficult conditions and heat. I have no problem whatsoever getting out of the car and digging in the sand. My only concern is how my artificial limbs will adapt to the environment. I must avoid infections at all costs."

The founder of the project, veteran Tony Harris, lost a leg in Afghanistan in 2009. He is now counting on the inner fire that blazes inside his men: "At the beginning of this adventure, I was looking for a sport which wouldn't pigeonhole us as 'disabled', and I also wanted to get an entire team involved in both the run-up to the race and the race itself.

For instance, we designed equipment to help compensate for our disabilities. But I know we won't have any trouble sleeping or coping with the heat. Anyway, our goal is just to make it to the finish, not to beat Peterhansel." A Marine Corps bomb technician provides the American accent in an essentially British team.

Having lost both legs in January 2011, Mark Zambon put his iron will to the test by conquering the Kilimanjaro by the strength of his arms: "I've never wanted my injuries to define my life. And I really saw what I was capable of when I noticed that I was faster than able-bodied climbers despite being on crutches.

The Dakar is an awesome challenge which will help us grow as individuals and forge bonds among us, because we'll have to give it our all if we're to make it all the way to the finish."

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19.11.2012 / MaP

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