A charity that helps to rehabilitate and retrain wounded forces personnel by involving them in motorsport, has launched a novel initiative to make up for the loss of its annual Remembrance endurance race.
Mission Motorsport has helped more than 2000 wounded, injured or sick veterans to recover or retrain for a new career.
Its annual Race of Remembrance is held during Remembrance weekend, and despite being an endurance event lasting 12 hours, it stops mid-race for a Remembrance service to be conducted in the pit lane.
However, the charity has been forced to cancel this year’s running of the event due to the global Covid-19 pandemic – despite having already cost £50,000 to organise.
“Race of Remembrance is not strictly for fundraising purposes, but it does cost money to hold,” explains James Cameron, the charity’s founder.
“It’s more for our beneficiaries, to give them a taste of motorsport. And, in fact, it’s an incredible tool to help them with their recovery; to take them on a journey and involve them in an extraordinary experience in which they can feel part of something bigger. It’s intoxicating.
“But more than that, it’s really a remembrance service with a 12-hour endurance race tacked on, so it means a lot to our beneficiaries and our supporters. Of course everyone understands why we’ve had to cancel it this year, but they’re really going to miss it. And we didn’t want to just let the weekend pass by without doing something.”
So Cameron and his team have come up with an alternative. In much the same way as this year’s London Marathon was held virtually, Mission Motorsport is encouraging people to come up with their own individual tests of endurance; to take part in their own personal races of remembrance, however they see fit.
Dubbing the initiative “YourRoR”, Cameron says he hopes it will enable far more people to get involved and to mark the weekend – not to mention, to help raise funds to plug that £50,000 hole in the budget. “If we couldn’t hold Race of Remembrance ourselves this year, we wanted to democratise it,” he says.
Among the events already planned are a “military-style” workout on Salisbury Plain, led by Jason Fox, star of TV’s SAS: Who Dares Wins and an ex-Special Forces soldier himself, and joined by Mission Motorsport staff in “suitably ridiculous attire”.
Other events on the schedule include a 12-hour sponsored walk through the night by a team of occupational health therapists that works with the charity; meanwhile, Brands Hatch and Silverstone will both pause racing for the minute’s silence, with a wreath being laid in the pit lane at the latter racing circuit.
And at RAF-base-turned-classic-car-mecca Bicester Heritage, Adam Gompertz, the Station Chaplain, will lead a team that includes motoring journalist and Telegraph contributor Alex Goy in pushing “Frisky”, an MGA, around the track as many times as possible within three hours, ending in time for Gompertz to conduct the site’s traditional remembrance service.
“We want to support the community of Mission Motorsport beneficiaries, and thought it entirely appropriate to base our challenge here at Bicester Heritage,” said Gompertz. “Of course, this is a significant day where we remember and give thanks for the sacrifices that so many service personnel have given over the years.”
And if participants still want to indulge in a spot of racing, a series of virtual racing events are being set up online. “It seemed the most obvious thing to do,” says Cameron. “We’ll be enabling people to take part in a whole host of different disciplines with iRacing.
“At the end of the day, we want to think of this as an opportunity. We want people to feel empowered to mark the occasion however they see fit – and to feel part of something, in just the same way Race of Remembrance does.”
You can find more information on YourRoR at https://www.missionmotorsport.org/news/2020/10/5/yourror, or visit virginmoneygiving.com/fund/YourRoR to donate.