The Race2Recovery team launched its fundraising partnership with TeamSport, one of the UK's leading karting organisations, in style last week. Race2Recovery challenged members of the press to a lap-time shoot-out at TeamSport's stunning Tower Bridge venue and were delighted that racing driver Nicolas Hamilton, who's brother is also a racer, was able to attend.
TeamSport operates 13 centres around the UK and approached Race2Recovery to develop a fund-raising strategy to support the team's goals; to raise money for injured British servicemen and women and their families as well as inspiring the wider disabled community, by competing in the 2013 Dakar Rally, the most challenging motorsport event possible.
The partnership will see TeamSport donating a percentage of every event run at the Tower Bridge venue to Race2Recovery, as well as encouraging drivers attending events to donate, via its website and at various locations around the circuit.
TeamSport has also invested in hand controls for its karts at selected locations, so that disabled drivers are able to enjoy the thrills and excitement of karting alongside their able-bodied friends.
Race2Recovery co-driver Corporal Tom Neathway was the first to try the hand controls and after a handful of sighting laps, was easily on the pace, using just one side of the handlebar-style hand controls.
The karts at the Tower Bridge venue use electric motors instead of the more traditional petrol engines. This meant some adapting to by the drivers, since few had ever driven electric karts. However, despite the initial perception that they might not be as exciting as conventional karts, the instant torque and at least comparable top speed made them even more exciting and universally rewarding.
Commenting, Neathway said: "The karts with the hand controls were brilliant. They took a little getting used to but after a few laps, I could really push and had a great time. The circuit was excellent, running over two levels and the karts themselves were a very pleasant surprise. It was strange not having the engine note to relate to corner speed but once you got used to that, they were very rewarding to drive."
Race2Recovery driver Tony Harris was also impressed; "I am delighted with the partnership that Race2Recovery has formed with TeamSport. They are a very forward-thinking organisation, as demonstrated by their commitment to the environment, with the electric karts and off-setting the carbon production of the facility and their adoption of hand controls, to open up karting to the disabled community.
"They are also very keen to support our goals and we're very grateful for that. They are looking at running a series of bespoke events at their centres around the UK to generate additional funds for the Race2Recovery Foundation, our charity which supports Help for Heroes, the Royal British Legion and Combat Stress and I think that over the coming months, this will make a genuine contribution to the campaign.
"On a personal note, it was fantastic to see the turn-out at the event and of course, we were particularly pleased that Nic Hamilton was able to join us. Not surprisingly, he was the quickest driver on the evening, which is a good thing, as I think if one of us were to claim that honour, then the rest of the Race2Recovery team would never have let it go..."