True Racing Heroes
BARELY has the gleam of the Paralympics faded than the UK’s first injured serviceman’s motorcycle team taken to the track in its first race meeting.
L/Cpl Murray Hambro of 2nd Royal Tank Regiment (2RTR) competed at the Castle Combe circuit in Wiltshire on a specially-adapted Triumph Daytona 675R bike – despite losing both legs in an IED explosion in Afghanistan in 2010.
The soldier was riding for True Heroes Racing, set up by Chief Petty Officer Phil Spencer of 848 Naval Air Squadron based at Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton after meeting injured servicemen and women at charity events he’d organised in conjunction with UK military charity Afghan Heroes.
“This is an extraordinary achievement as Murray is a double amputee who only completed his medical rehabilitation programme at Headley Court a few months ago,” said a delighted Phil after his colleague’s debut.
“Having met so many amazing and inspirational people through my association with Afghan Heroes, I wanted to be able to offer these guys who’d suffered some appalling injuries a new focus and sense of direction once they’d reached the end of their medical rehabilitation journey.”
The team is run by a mix of injured and able-bodied UK Service personnel.
Murray was supported in his first race by fellow 2RTR veteran Cpl Graeme Billington, who was injured when the Warthog he was commanding struck a mine in Afghanistan in January last year; the blast left him wheelchair bound and has little or no use of his right arm and hand. Helping Graeme out was LH Adam Shroff of 771 Naval Air Squadron based at RNAS Culdrose in Cornwall.
Supported by Aero Tec Laboratories, who provide safety fuel tanks to the military and motorsport world, the team’s plan is to take part in the 2013 Triumph Triple Challenge – one of the main support races at the British Superbike Championships.
Before then True Heroes Racing are back on the race track at Cadwell Park in Lincolnshire, September 21-23; the legendary Brands Hatch circuit in Kent, September 28-30; Thruxton on October 6; Cadwell Park, October 13-14; Mallory Park in Leicestershire October 19-21; and Cadwell Park again on October 27-28.
“True Heroes Racing is not all about the rider, but the team ethos as well,” said Phil.
“To compete at the highest level possible is a real challenge, but gives Service personnel something they can get their teeth into.
“To do it on two wheels provides specific challenges, but shows the world that these guys can achieve anything that their able bodied counterparts can do.
“Motorsport is a fast, frenetic and pressurised environment – not too dissimilar to the battlefield. It is also a world many Service personnel would not have considered open to them even when they were fully able bodied.”
You can follow the team’s progress on Facebook at True Heroes Racing and you can get involved by contacting Phil at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pictures: Courtesy of Wayne King
Group Photo Cpl Graeme Billington (2RTR), LH Adam Shroff (771 NAS), L/Cpl Murray Hambro (2RTR) and team boss CPO Phil Spencer (848 NAS)