Knutsford rally-driver triumphs at Dakar Rally 2014

Knutsford Guardian: Race2Recovery race truck crew pose in front of their 2014 Dakar rally race truck - left to right: Chris Ratter from Knutsford, Daniel Whittingham and Mark Callum Race2Recovery race truck crew pose in front of their 2014 Dakar rally race truck - left to right: Chris Ratter from Knutsford, Daniel Whittingham and Mark Callum

DESPITE tough terrain, blistering heat, and odds stacked against him, a Knutsford rally-driver made history by finishing the ‘world’s toughest race’ for a second time.

Chris Ratter, two of his Race2Recovery team-mates and their truck received a triumphant welcome when they crossed the Dakar Rally finish line in the Chilean city of Valparaiso on Saturday January 18.

The Race2Recovery team became the first ever disabled team to finish the Dakar in 2013 and, by successfully crossing the line in the 2014 event, they have written themselves into the record books once again.

“We couldn’t be happier that we made it to the end. I’ve been rallying for over twenty years and that was the toughest it’s been,” said Chris, one of the civilian members of the team.

“To complete two consecutive Dakar rallies is a staggering achievement and our injured soldiers on the team have really shown people what can be achieved through sheer will-power and determination.”

Race2Recovery operates to the motto, ‘beyond injury, achieving the extraordinary’. The team, which is made up of injured soldiers and civilian volunteers, challenge the perceived limitations of disability whilst also raising money for military charities.

The Race2Recovery team, who have featured on BBC’s Top Gear, entered two Wildcat race cars, a race truck, two Land Discovery support vehicles and a support truck into the Dakar 2014.

Unfortunately, it was not all plain sailing for the team and all of the Race2Recovery vehicles, except for Chris’ truck, were forced to retire from the 9,100 km race. In total, more than 50% of the racers entered into the 13-day rally were forced to withdraw.

“I’m really proud of the team and the fact we all pulled together to keep our truck in the race, especially in the second week,” the 52-year-old said.

“There were a number of occasions where we also stopped to assist other teams who were having trouble on the course. That set us back time-wise but it’s what the Dakar’s all about, we’ve had great support from other teams and so we were happy to offer help when we needed to.”

The Race2Recovery team’s next challenge will be the new Defender Challenge rally series that will launch in the UK later this year. For more information visit race2recovery.com.

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