The October Update!
As the month draws to a close and the nights are drawing in it is time to reflect on the last month of incredible activity. The focus has been primarily on the preparation of all vehicles, procurement of parts and spares, the purchase of our fourth and final Wildcat as well as continuation training for the drivers in Morocco. Of course the wonderful pre-Dakar video is here too!
Whilst the mechanics have been haring around the country picking up parts, fixing cars, shuttling the T5 logistical support fleet and so on the drivers have been to Morocco training (click here for more info) and are now back working on their own vehicles. Sean Whatley and Dave Reeve spent a frantic two days in France collecting the fourth and final Wildcat which was purchased through the very generous support of the Peter Harrison Foundation who are incredibly supportive of sport for the disabled and disadvantaged. Team Principal Pierre De Frenne was key to securing the vehicle and all in between his very busy Moto GP schedule and Donerre prepartion for the Dakar. Worst still it would appear that Team Manager Pav Taylor has really got into his new fundraising look and is hoping to settle in South America after the Dakar... that may not be wholly true but read on to find out why Pav has more outrageous facial hair than Pierre.
Qlog Ltd and Partumis Metal have been working tirelessly with input from Chris Ratter on the second T5 8x8 truck body converting a simple ISO container into a fully working mobile support workshop. The latest news hot off the press was that the CEO was working on it last night until midnight which just goes to show how incredible their support has been and what a fantastic addition to the fleet it will be.
With just four weeks to go until the ten vehicles ship to South America no one has been idle. John Winskill together with Martyn Williams (the face of the Royal Marines!) and Gareth Patterson have been collecting training vehicles from Land Rover and will be collecting two expedition prepared Discovery's for the logistical and mechanical team on the Dakar itself soon.
We have also welcomed Justin Birchall to the team as Tom's driver replacing Dave Marsh at the last moment, Justin has been racing with Tom over the last year, competed in the Tuareg Rally in a Qt Wildcat and has already set to work fundraising for the charity as well as working on the Orange Plant Wildcat that he and Tom will be in. A long term supporter of Race2Recovery Justin brings many years of experience and his wife Louise has taken on the role of finalising the team's race wear and team wear as well as rally support in the north west.
Tony has been joined by Cathy Derousseaux who replaces Quin Evans who sadly had to withdraw due to a family illness but remains in his role instructing the other navigators. Cathy brings gallic charm and wit to the team with an extraordinary career as a co-driver already and she is only 24. She has won the Rally of Lebanon, the French Women's Rally Championship twice and is on course to win it again this year. Cathy was a co-driver on the Africa Eco-Race in 2012 so has first hand experience of arduous rally raid racing and just in case we foregt her godfather is Pierre Lartigue! For those that don't know he is probably the greatest cross country champion ever winning Dakar three times and the world championship four times, we think she may know her onions.
Other new faces include Staff Sergeant Chris Astles from the REME, Jonny Koonja as well as Chris and Phill Bayliss who are all longstanding members of the 4x4 racing fraternity and bring some vital mechanical know how to the team.
Dale at DSigns has done another excellent job sorting out a design that will capture attention on the Dakar and has completed an astonishing wrap with the kind support of Metamark. Dale's quality is there for all to see and we are incredibly proud to be partnered with him on this given his success last year with making the humble Freelander Mk1 look awesome. You can see the basewrap here on the IRD Qt Wildcat and the sponsor livery is going on this week to finish her off.
Mark Cullum and Chris Ratter have been working on the T4 race truck alongside HMS Engineering Ltd in Hereford. Their work will ensure that the four Wildcat racers have bespoke support throughout the Dakar and this role forms one of the team's key components for a successful outcome.
We are also incredibly pleased to be able to publicly thank some of our incredible fundraisers. Pete Garlick walked an astonishing 150 miles from the home of the Wildcat at Qt Services to Tedworth House in Plymouth. The long term member of the Cornwall and Devon Land Rover Club raised a staggering £1648.72 for Tedworth House and Help for Heroes - well done Pete.
We can also announce that staunch R2R supporter Andrew Fox has set himself a huge task by setting off last Saturday on a 3000km journey from Lima to Santiago albeit two months before us and without crossing the Andes in to Argentina. Do support his quite brilliant fundraising challenge by helping Race2Recovery raise money for charity.
The Vale of Neath Marshalls have retained their crown as most prolific fundraisers with another event where they were raising money, this time it was the latest round of the Moto X in Carmarthen and before then Tom was down with them at the Weston Beach Race for sand fuelled action British style... well most likely very wet.
Our next update will be out soon and you can expect to see more of Mark and Tim when they get over from the States, more uniformity in our fleet and more exciting news out soon about sponsors - plus you get to see a photo of the tyre mountain a rally team takes on the Dakar when Cooper Tires drop off the next load of Discoverer STT's.