Nacton/South America: Joy of marine who took on The Dakar Rally

Marine Martyn Willams (sat on the right of the bonnet) celebrates the success of the Race2Recovery t

Marine Martyn Willams (sat on the right of the bonnet) celebrates the success of the Race2Recovery team completing the Dakar Rally. Pictured in Santiago, Chile. MOTORSPORT - DAKAR PERU CHILE ARGENTINA 2013 - FINISH / ARRIVEE - SANTIAGO (CHI) - 19/01/2013 - PHOTO : JEAN MICHEL LE MEUR / DPPI - AMBIANCE PODIUM - Credit: JEAN MICHEL LE MEUR / DPPI

A MARINE who survived a horrific explosion which claimed the lives of one of his comrades has told of his joy at completing a mammoth charity challenge.

Marine Martyn Williams, who was recently promoted from Royal Marine Commando to Corporal, was part of a rally team which successfully became the first ever disability group to complete the gruelling Dakar Rally.

The Race2Recovery Team – predominantly made up of injured soldiers – set off from the starting line in the Peruvian capital of Lima earlier this month with four Wildcat race vehicles.

But due to the extreme mountain and desert terrain, only one Wildcat made it to the finish line alongside a number of support vehicles.

Twenty-three-year-old Cpl Williams, of The Street, Nacton, told The Star he was delighted to have been part of the support team and now hopes to take on the extreme 9,000km rally by motorbike.

“It was a great experience,” he said. “It’s great to be part of the first ever disability group to complete it.”

Cpl 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.

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He said: “Since I was injured in Afghanistan in 2008 I haven’t ever really been involved in anything with injured soldiers.

“So this was my first charity fundraiser and I’m really glad to have been part of it. After doing this, I now really want to do The Dakar Rally on a motorbike.

“During the challenge I got to spend a lot of time with Tom Neathway who is a triple amputee and we got on really well.

“I think spending time with other injured servicemen made me realise just how lucky I was to come out of the explosion in 2008 with very few injuries. It has made me realise that it could have been a lot worse.”

Three members of the Race2Recovery team, were injured and unable to complete the challenge after their vehicle was involved in a collision.

Two locals were killed in the crash which occurred near to the Chilean border.

Cpl Williams, who returned to the country at the end of last week, said: “It was a really serious crash and the three members of the team are lucky to be alive.”