By Hollie-Rae Merrick
Monday, January 7, 2013
AFTER escaping an horrific explosion while fighting in Afghanistan, this marine is grabbing life by the horns as he begins a charity challenge.
Royal Marine Commando Martyn Williams, of The Street, Nacton, is part of a rally team hoping to become the first ever disability group to complete The Dakar Rally – the world’s toughest race.
The Race2Recovery Team, which is predominantly made up of injured soldiers, set off from the starting line in Peru’s capital Lima on Saturday morning in four Wildcat race vehicles .
It signalled the start of 15 days of racing 9,000km across extreme mountain and desert terrain. The intrepid adventurer, 23, will travel through southern Peru, across the border in Argentina and finally through to Chile where the team hopes to cross the finish line in Santiago on January 20.
Mne Williams was wounded in an explosion during a tour of Afghanistan in December 2008, which killed a close friend and injured another. He suffered a broken foot in the blast which tore through the Jackal armoured vehicle he was driving. He hopes to resume his career in the forces this year.
- The charity set up its Dakar Rally challenge in order to inspire people who are ill, injured or face adversity.
- Race2Recovery is made up of volunteers racing to inspire people who are injured or disabled by being the first team of predominantly injured servicemen to complete the formidable Dakar Rally in South America.
- The race is being done to raise money for a charitable cause chosen by one of the injured team members. It will benefit a Help for Heroes project – the Tedworth House Recovery centre in Wiltshire which supports injured servicemen.
- The Dakar Rally (or simply “The Dakar”; formerly known “Paris to Dakar Rally”) is an annual rally raid type of off-road race, organised by the Amaury Sport Organisation. Most events since the inception in 1978 were from Paris to Dakar in Senegal, but due to security threats in Mauritania, which led to the cancellation of the 2008 rally, the 2009 Dakar Rally was run in Argentina and Chile, and it has stayed in South America ever since.
Speaking from Lima ahead of the start of the race, Mne Williams said: “It’s a fantastic feeling to be in Lima and know that we’re about to get our race cars onto that start line.
“It’s been a long journey to get the team this far and the effort everyone’s put in has been first class.
“To have formed a rally team, capable of getting to the world’s toughest race, in only 18 months is a huge achievement in itself.
“The team is living by its motto (Beyond Injury – Achieving The Extraordinary), showing that people can achieve extraordinary things beyond their injuries.
“From my perspective, I know that driving one of the support trucks is a massive challenge and responsibility.
“It’s a daunting challenge but one that we’re all doing with smiles on our faces – the banter in the team has always been strong and we’re loving every minute of being here.”
Mne Williams added that he hoped people in Suffolk would follow the team’s progress.
It isn’t the first time the daredevil has shown the world that he doesn’t do things by halves.
Last summer he abseiled from an aircraft into landmark the Tower of London while holding the Olympic flame during the epic torch relay.
He wasn’t an official torch bearer, but still carried the flame in a lantern while descending 180ft from a Royal Navy Sea King helicopter.
Mne Williams, a member of the Commando Helicopter Forces based in Yeovil, is set to return to his career this year.