Having served in most major operational theatres on a myriad of different vehicles Chris is well suited to the rigours that the Dakar will bring. This coupled with his ferociously dry sense of humour will keep the morale of the logistical team up whilst also ensuring that he and his precious payload arrive on time, every time.
1. Nickname: Tall Chris
2. Role within R2R: Mechanic/Dogs-body
3. Describe yourself in 3 words: Tall, Annoying, Anorak
4. What rank & regiment are/were you in the military & where did you serve: WO2 (AQMS) Royal Electrical Mechanical Engineers. Iraq, Afghanistan, Sierra Leone.
Justin has formed a formidable partnership with Tom Neathway, already competing in the Britpart British Cross Country Championship and the Scottish Borders Hill Rally. He said: “I am honoured to have been invited to join the Race2Recovery team and drive with Tom again. Redheads rule....!”
Mark has been an off road driving specialist since he first picked up a spanner and is an Operational Watch Commander in the Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service where he specialises in water rescue and off road training. Having finished second on the Camel Trophy Mark is the perfect man to drive the T4 truck and is also well placed to instruct the team on all matters concerning driving. All the drivers now fear his Traction, Ground Clearance and Stability "chat" which has proved exceptionally effective.
Quin Evans has an enviable career right at the top of Rally Raid and Cross Country motorsport. He has been racing since he was 16 finishing 3rd in the British Championship in 1997 and entered the world of Rally Raids and World Championship events in 2001 on bikes and then moved into cars. Since his first Dakar Rally in 2004 Quin has an astonishing 100% success rate on the race finishing 32nd, 16th and 4th and completing an incredible 7 Dakars.
Already a hardened veteran of Afghanistan at 22, Phillip, of 1 Royal Irish, was part of the way through his third tour when he stood on an IED during a routine foot patrol. Even though the blast blew off his right leg below the knee and inflicted multiple fractures to his left leg, Phillip was able to celebrate his 23rd birthday with his girlfriend Kirsty after spending just one month in hospital.
Ben is one of the civilian experts on the team, Ben first came on board as an adviser with regards to the Dakar Rally but now he is one of the drivers in his own Wildcat. Ben’s involvement with the rally first started back in 2004 and since then he has performed every role on the rally from mechanic to Team Manager.
I have been involved in motorsport for 22 years, starting as a mechanic and working my way up through the ranks of various teams to race engineering. My Dakar experience came as part of the winning team in 1999 as part mechanic / part electronics support which appears to be a similar role I'll be trying to fill in 2013.
Blown up in 2009 in Sangin, Afghanistan Tony is a below knee amputee with other injuries as a result of the blast. Inspired by others in the Defence Recovery process he wants to show that incredible feats are still capable of being accomplished and is one of the founding members of R2R.
1. Nickname: I.R.D (not my choice)
2. Role within R2R: Driver and Founder
Jonny joins the team as a mechanic for the Orange Plant Wildcat. Not only is he BCCC and AWDC ace Dan Lofthouse's co-driver but has also demonstrated his own racing skill on the Tuareg Rally alongside R2R driver Justin Birchall and is known in the cross country racing scene as a talented mechanic, the role for which he has been chosen.
Matt has served for 11 years in the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers in Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan where he was awarded a Mention in Dispatches for leadership during a difficult tour in 2009. A keen but not very good enduro biker Matt has recently suffered a significant injury to his arm
A veteran of Northern Ireland, Bosnia and Afghanistan, Gareth wanted to give back to the service charities and recovery system which helped both him and Nikki, his serving wife, after she was left paralysed in a serious motorcycle accident. Gareth also suffers from Ankylosing Spondylitis, a rare blood disorder, and wants to help inspire the injured and disabled, both military and civilian alike, to show that no matter how hard life gets, it’s never too much.
Chris has been involved with Race2Recovery from the beginning and is very privileged to be a part of the team. The Dakar has long been an armchair ambition but never looked possible until now and Chris is thrilled to be combining it with raising awareness & funds for an incredibly worthy cause.
Having been involved with off road motorsport for over 24 years, regularly winning his class, this will be the pinnacle of Chris' motorsport career.
1. Nickname: Handsome Chris
2. Role within R2R: Odd Job
Dave closed his business in 2007 and he has really enjoyed working with this inspirational team to support their off-road racing. His dream is to see them off at the start line of the Dakar Rally Raid and to be there at the finishing line as the Race2Recovery team complete this amazing challenge.
Andrew reached the highest rank for a soldier in the military in the Royal Army Medical Corps spanning a career of more than 24 years and was on operations in Afghanistan, 2008 when a suicide bomber initiated a bomb next to the vehicle Andrew was travelling in.
Lee joined the REME in 1989 as a vehicle mechanic and spent over four years with the Tank Transporters moving equipment all over the UK and Germany, although by his own admission he spent a lot of time fixing them on the side of the road whenever they broke down.
Sean Whatley is an ex-Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineer who served in Iraq and Bosnia in the 90's. He is the lead mechanic on 1 of the cars. During his time in the Army Sean was a mechanic for a Hill Rally team and was a member of the first British Army team to compete in Rhino Charge 1996 in Kenya.
Corporal Daniel "Baz" Whittingham was a part of the Improvised Explosive Device Disposal (IEDD) team in Sangin in 2009. He drove over a device that broke almost every bone below his waist, which later led to his leg being amputated below the knee.
1. Nickname: Baz