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Royal approval for historic Race2Recovery Dakar Rally team
A TEAM of predominantly injured soldiers have made history by becoming the first ever disability team to complete the world’s toughest race.
Race2Recovery finished the gruelling Dakar Rally when their Wildcat vehicle, manned by Major Matt O’Hare and co-driver Corporal Phillip Gillespie, crossed the finish line in Santiago, Chile, on Saturday evening.
Their exploits, which have seen them race 9,000km over extreme mountain and desert terrain across 15 days from Lima, Peru, have gained them personal congratulations from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
The royal couple’s message read: “Catherine and I have heard the wonderful news about your success today - many, many congratulations.
“We know it was not easy, but you have today become true record holders as the first ever disability team to complete what is one of the world's toughest challenges.
“What you have achieved was a triumph of perseverance and teamwork, and you have shown the world what true valour looks like. We hope you get some rest now, and, please, no driving like that on our roads when you're back."
The team’s three other Wildcat vehicles dropped out of the race along the way, including that of Corporal Tom Neathway from Crowle, near Worcester.
Cpl Neathway founded the project with Captain Tony Harris, and his car, driven by Justin Birchall, retired after mechanical issues caused by a particularly punishing stage four.
The team took part in a parade and podium celebration yesterday and will return home after several recovery days.
An official book on the team’s efforts will be publish in March and television documentary series is set to follow later in the year.