Two British soldiers who suffered life-changing injuries in Afghanistan could become part of the world’s first disabled-only racing team to take part in the Le Mans 24-hour race.
Ash Hall, 27, from Colchester, will accompany Martyn Compton, 34, from Battle and 3 others who hope to get permission to race in the iconic French endurance event in 2020.
“The buzz I got on the track is worth everything”
Mr Compton served in the Household Cavalry and suffered burns to 75 per cent of his body when the vehicle he was travelling in was blown up by an IED in 2006. He was then shot twice as he crawled away from the blast, which claimed the lives of his three fellow crew members.
Since then he has undergone over 50 hours of operations and in 2010 developed post traumatic stress disorder. It was during this time that Martyn was introduced to KartForce and says that racing gave him the focus he lost when he left the army.
“It felt great racing against able bodied racers. It puts you on a level playing field and they don’t know anything about you behind closed doors, so no one cares as long as you race well. The buzz I got on the track is worth everything.”
Team mate Ash Hall served in the Royal Engineers from 2007 to 2017. During his tour in Afghanistan in 2010 he too was injured an IED attack. The explosion caused the amputation of both his legs and shattered his pelvis . He went on to embark on four month rehabilitation in Headly Court rehabilitation Centre, where, like Martyn, he joined the karting team.
Mr Hall went on to compete in the Invictus Games in Toronto were he won silver for wheelchair rugby and is the current Guinness World Record holder for the longest distance travelled in 24 hours using a go-kart with hand controls.
TeamBrit is a UK charity that adapts different racing vehicles so that those with disabilities can enjoy the experiences of motor sports. In March 2018 they unveiled their new Austin Martin Vantage, which has been fully modified so that everything can be controlled from the steering wheel column.
The team hoping to get to Le Mans 2020 will have a newer racing car, that with the help of designers and engineers, will allow each driver to have their own interchangeable steering wheel which has been customised to each drivers unique disability
The ex-servicemen said they hope the race will give other disabled people the confidence to find new interests and activities during and after recovery.
Mr Hall said: “I hope it inspires people to try sport as a coping mechanism for heeling, it really helped me physically and mentally when I came home and helped me through it all”