A triple amputee war hero was celebrating today after he completed one of the world’s toughest motorsport events.
Corporal Tom Neathway, 28, lost both legs and an arm in a Taliban booby trap three years ago in Afghanistan.
The brave Paratrooper has battled back to join a group of disabled petrolheads in completing the Tuareg Rally with the Race2Recovery team.
Cpl Neathway was navigating able-bodied driver Dave Marsh on the challenging rally which took place over eight days in Morocco and Spain.
They faced harsh, rocky gravel tracks, wet and muddy roads washed away by heavy rain and the sand dunes of the Sahara desert.
And despite suffering a series of mechanical issues, rolling their car and getting stuck in the sand, the men battled through to finish tenth in their first on their international rally raid debut.
Speaking after the rally, Cpl Neathway, said: “I’m really happy with how the event has gone and it has been a huge learning experience for us.
“Dave and I worked very well together and learned that sometimes, we need to rein things back a little.
“We also know how the team works now, over this kind of length of event.”
Also competing for Race2Recovery was Captain Tony Harris, 30, from the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, who had a leg amputated after driving over an IED in Helmand Province.
He shared driving responsibilities with Ben Gott and the two finished in 25th place.
Captain Harris said: “Words just can’t express how I feel right now.
“Our first major goal was to compete in and finish our first international event with two cars and we’ve done it.
“The experience we’ve gained along the way has been first rate. Every day was different and meant that we needed to adopt and develop new skills.”
Both teams managed to win a stage each too.
They were driving a specially kitted QT Wildcat in the rally, a custom-built off-roader based on a Land Rover Defender.
The £130,000 machine can wade through water up to 2ft deep and climb 45 degree slopes.
On top of this, it drives like a sports car with the 4-litre Jaguar engine giving it a 0-60mph time of five seconds and a top speed of 150mph.
Andrew ‘Pav’ Taylor, the Race2Recovery team manager, said: “It has been a fantastic effort, not only from the crews but the team as a whole.
“The support team did an amazing job during the event, keeping the cars on the road and getting them to the finish line.”
It was Race2Recovery’s first international race as they prepare to take part in next year’s Dakar Rally in South America.
They hope to enter four teams into the gruelling 18-day event, which sees competitors drive for 16 hours a day over more than 4,000km of broken tarmac and sand dunes.
Just 40 per cent of the 500 hardened racers complete Dakar each year.
The charity is trying to raise more than #1 million for Tedworth House, a #17 million mansion in Wiltshire run by Help for Heroes.