Race2Recovery team with Hereford driver back for 2014

Mark Cullum - centre - of the Race2Recovery team, pictured on Morocco team training exercise

Mark Cullum - centre - of the Race2Recovery team, pictured on Morocco team training exercise - Credit: Archant

Race2Recovery, the group of severely injured soldiers who made history as the first disabled rally team to enter and complete the Dakar rally in 2013 has set off on this year’s running of the toughest race in the world.

Race2Recovery team at Dakar 2014 (Mark Cullum 7th from the left)
Photo: Francois Flamand

Race2Recovery team at Dakar 2014 (Mark Cullum 7th from the left) Photo: Francois Flamand - Credit: Archant

Race2Recovery, the group of severely injured soldiers who made history as the first disabled rally team to enter, and complete, the Dakar rally in 2013 has set off on this year’s running of the toughest race in the world. The team, supported by Land Rover, has entered two race vehicles into the 2014 Dakar which will once again put its competitors through the ultimate physical and mental test. After Day 1, Sunday January 5, all Race2Recovery vehicles had successfully completed the first special stage.

Race2Recovery competing in Dakar 2013 Photo: DPPI

Race2Recovery competing in Dakar 2013 Photo: DPPI - Credit: Archant

The Race2Recovery team includes Hereford man Mark Cullum, 51. Cullum has been an off road driving specialist for a number of years and is currently an Operational Watch Commander in the Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service, specialising in water rescue and off road training. Having finished second on the Camel Trophy, Cullum is the perfect man to drive the team’s in-race T4 support truck as well as contribute to racing strategy and driver tactics.

Mark’s association with Race2Recovery began in the build-up to the 2013 Dakar challenge, where the team eventually made history by becoming the first disabled rally team to finish the race. Cullum initially led the team’s training packages in Morocco, utilising his Land Rover Experience knowledge coupled with a lifetime of completing arduous vehicle challenges. It would be another Hereford man, Major Matt O’Hare, that would drive the car across the finish line at the 2013 Dakar, along with his then co-driver Corporal Phillip Gillespie, to give the team a dream finale.

Speaking ahead of the Race2Recovery 2014 Dakar challenge, Cullum said: “Being part of the team in South America last year was a massive highlight of my time in rallying. The team’s achievement in that Dakar was incredible and it’s testament to the belief, drive and ability that this group of people have now created a sustainable race team that is returning to compete again this year. We all know how much work it takes to get to the Dakar, and then to stay in the Dakar, but the team is well prepared.

“The difference for this year is that, after the Dakar and thanks to the support from our sponsors Land Rover, the team will be entering into the new UK-based Defender Challenge series. This gives Race2Recovery a platform to race infront of home crowds and will allow us to train new recruits to the team, enhancing our preparations for any future Dakar challenges.”

Race2Recovery operates to the motto ‘beyond injury, achieving the extraordinary’. So far, the team has raised over £250,000 for Tedworth House Personnel Recovery Centre and Help for Heroes and, this year, is also raising awareness of military charity Blesma. This year’s Race2Recovery team is made up of 16 injured soldiers and civilian volunteers, including drivers, co-drivers, support vehicle drivers and a crew of technical and mechanical experts.

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The injured servicemen will be driving Land Rover Defender-based Wildcat rally-raid vehicles, both of which were entered in last year’s race, as well as a T4 race truck and a T5 support truck, which will follow the route providing support for both race vehicles. Land Rover is assisting the team with parts, logistics, vehicle and financial support throughout their 2014 campaign. In addition, two Land Rover Discovery vehicles provided by Land Rover will support Race2Recovery along the assistance route and will provide vital support to the team throughout the 14 day epic (5 January to 18 January).

The 2014 Dakar will see the team race across some of the world’s most unforgiving terrain. This year’s competition will traverse three countries; Argentina, Bolivia (motorcycles only) and Chile. They will travel over 9,000km, including crossing the Atacama desert and the Andes mountain range, in temperatures that could reach between 40 to 50 degrees celcius.

Mark Cameron, Global Brand Experience Director, Jaguar Land Rover, said: “We’re very proud of our association with Race2Recovery, having been the team’s lead sponsor since its inception. The team has broken down barriers relating to disability and motorsport and truly lives up to its motto ‘beyond injury, achieving the extraordinary’. The Dakar is the ultimate race and one that has a long association with Land Rover vehicles. We’re pleased that the team can benefit from our support and we wish them the very best of luck. We’ll be following their progress all the way.”

Land Rover has also announced that it will be an official partner of the Red Bull Desert Wings team. Red Bull has chosen Land Rover as the official vehicle supplier for the 2014 Dakar due to its advanced all-terrain expertise and technology to support the various teams under the Red Bull Desert Wings collective. Five Land Rover vehicles have been supplied including Defender, Discovery, all-new Range Rover and Ranger Rover Sport. The Race2Recovery team will benefit from this association as they will be welcomed on a daily basis into the Red Bull bivouac, providing Race2Recovery with additional resource and infrastructure.

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People wishing to find out more about Race2Recovery should visit: www.race2recovery.com and www.uk.media.landrover.com