Dakar Rally soldiers win praise from royals

21st Jan 2013

A group of soldiers who constitute the first disability team to complete the Dakar Rally in South America have been praised by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Their achievement was "a triumph of perseverance and teamwork", the royals said in a message to the soldiers who competed as part of rally team Race2Recovery.

The Duke and Duchess added: "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 group of mainly British servicemen, along with two US marines, took part in the event thanks to a grant from the Endeavour Fund, which was set up by the Royal Foundation to help injured servicemen and women take part in expeditions and sporting challenges.

They set out on their journey with four Land Rover-based Wildcat vehicles on January 5 but just one vehicle, manned by Major Matt O'Hare and Corporal Phillip "Barney" Gillespie, made it across the finish line.

Mechanical issues and damage caused by hitting a ditch were to blame for the other three vehicles dropping out of the race along the way.

Major O'Hare said the team was "very appreciative" of the royal message they received, adding: "The backing from the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry played a huge role in enabling Race2Recovery to form a team and compete at the Dakar Rally."

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