Thursday, 5 July 2012

Stunning Goodwood Festival of Speed for Race2Recovery

The Race2Recovery team, comprised predominantly of injured British servicemen raising money for charity by targeting a finish on the 2013 Dakar Rally, enjoyed what can only be described as a stunning weekend at this year's Goodwood Festival of Speed. The team was present in several areas thanks to Lord March and R2R Official Sponsor Land Rover but it was its Dakar Wheel Change which caused the most interest, with dozens of people trying to change one of its Qt Wildcats' Silverline 4x4 wheels and Cooper Tires in as fast a time as possible.


The team was invited to attend the event as it builds awareness of its campaign to compete on, and finish, next year's Dakar Rally and in the process, raise money for Help for Heroes, which will be restricted to the Tedworth House Personal Recuperation and Assessment Centre.


There were three main strings to Race2Recovery's bow at Goodwood; firstly, there were several Qt Wildcats running on the event's rally stage with Greg Morris at the wheel while R2R drivers Tony Harris and Dave Marsh took two of the Wildcats up the world-famous hill climb course. But it was Ben Gott and Charlie Sincock who had the honour of driving the largest vehicle ever to climb the hill; the team's MAN 8x8 T5 support truck drew incredible applause from the thousands of fans as it thundered up the course.


The team had its full range of merchandise available which allowed the public to directly support the race team. It was also collecting funds for charity from members of the public and was once again, humbled by the generosity of the visitors to the event and by their reaction to the team and the charitable endeavour.


But it was the Dakar Experience area that proved most successful. Located next to the Formula One paddock, the team re-created a small part of the Dakar route, by importing a section of sand dunes and setting-up the Dakar Wheel Change Challenge.


The idea was simple; the quickest time taken to change a Silverline 4x4 wheel and Cooper Tire, as used by the team on all Wildcats, would win a daily prize of a ride in a Qt Wildcat on the Forest Rally Stage.


The team was inundated with visitors, including the Scuderia Ferrari Formula One team, who tried their hand and notched-up an impressive 38 seconds. However, Race2Recovery's mechanic and storeman, Gareth Paterson went a little better, completing the task in just 32 seconds.


The following day, the Ferrari team repaid the favour, showing how to change a wheel on the F2012 F1 car in a staggering two seconds. They offered Gareth the chance to sample action and he posted an impressive time of around 4.5 seconds - not bad for his first try.


Members of the team were also delighted to meet some of the personalities from the world of motorsport, including Red Bull driver Mark Webber, sporting a Race2Recovery wristband, Dakar podium driver Giniel de Villiers and Formula One legend, Ron Dennis.


The team was also well and truly in the media spotlight over the weekend; there were numerous radio interviews as well as TV interviews with Steve Ryder and Hungarian TV!


Only just able to speak after the event, driver and co-founder Captain Tony Harris said; "This weekend's Festival of Speed was just incredible; once again, the entire motorsport community and the fans made us feel so welcome and the support we had was humbling.


"The public, as always, have been incredibly generous and we raised a huge amount of money to go to the charity, both from donations and from sales of our merchandise. We are heading towards the target we set ourselves for the total money raised for the charity and the whole team is so grateful to everyone that supported us.


"It was a magnificent sight to see the team Wildcats going up the hill, as well as the T5 support truck. It was the biggest vehicle that had ever climbed the famous hill and the response was amazing - the cheers were louder than for the Formula One cars!


"We also got into a little friendly rivalry with the Ferrari team mechanics on the wheel change challenge. They did really well on the Wildcat but we couldn't get anywhere near them on the F1 car. They are so slick and professional, it's an incredible thing to watch.


"I and the entire team are so grateful to Lord March and the Goodwood team for the invitation to be a part of this year's event. It's the highlight of the year for anyone remotely interested in motorsport and motoring and it was an amazing experience to be part of it."