Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service have been helping injured soldiers in the Race2Recovery team prepare for next year's Dakar Rally.

Race2Recovery was set up when a team of wounded soldiers were inspired to take up cross-country racing to raise money for the charities that had helped them during their recovery. They're supported by numerous individuals, including Dave Marsh, from Green Watch Crownhill, Plymouth.

Watch Manager Dave is an experienced off-road racing driver, and will be competing in the Dakar Rally with Corporal Philip Gillespie, a below the knee amputee from 1 Royal Irish.

Dave said: "Having been a member of the race2recovery team from its inception it became clear to me that so many of the things that go wrong in motorsport can represent real challenges to members of the team who have lost limbs. With my experience in the fire service it was clear that Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service could offer real assistance in developing extrication strategies for the team that will give them the best possible chance of finishing the world's toughest motor race, Dakar 2013.

"The training today has gone really well and will be crucial in the event of anything going wrong in the extreme conditions of the race."

Co-director for Race2Recovery, Tony Harris, a below knee amputee said: "The training we received from the fire service is essential for the challenging conditions we will face throughout the Dakar rally. It will be a real endurance test for the whole team but we will be working closely together to get to the finish. We need to be prepared for anything and have the maximum skills and resources at our fingertips as well as feeling confident and capable as we can be, working alongside our injuries."

The fire service has already started helping with the training, including teaching the soldiers how to extricate themselves from a car that had flipped on its side by cutting through the front screen with a saw. The servicemen were also taught about spinal injuries, airway management and emergency life support by the South Western Ambulance Service.

Paramedic Steve Morgan said: "The day went extremely well for myself and my colleagues, It was challenging, but we quickly picked up on the group's willingness to get stuck in, and the immense enthusiasm they displayed to learn new life skills. The enthusiasm quickly became a two way interaction and I must say, it was a real pleasure to teach them.

"Even though we were teaching, we also learnt a lot, this team have a great zest for life and wish to live it to the max. The greatest part I will take with me is their tremendous psychological strength that they possess, to overcome any barriers to their learning, and enjoy any challenges put before them.

"I hope I have the pleasure and fortune to be able to help this group again in the near future. A big thank you to all concerned in making the day so memorable."

Story posted by Robert Mair on 29/08/2012