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Injured soldiers given speed therapy at Brands Hatch

Thursday, July 31 2014

A group of injured soldiers were given an adrenaline-filled break from their rehabilitation at Brands Hatch today (Thursday), at an annual trackday for supercar owners.

The soldiers were invited for passenger rides in a variety of powerful machines, including a wide variety of Ferraris, plus a Porsche 911, Nissan GTR, Ariel Atom and a Lotus Exige. The event was organised by GT racer Gary Eastwood and supercar owner Richard Davies.

Davies explained: "We started this day off five years ago now, after watching Gary on Channel 4's 'Secret Millionaire' programme, where he was giving some soldiers a ride around Brands Hatch in a 911, just a minibus full, and I wondered if he wanted a whole load of Ferraris to come along. I got in contact and we did our first event in November 2010. It rained that day, so we moved the event to July and each year we have road and track cars, plus F1 cars that perform demonstration runs during the lunch break.

Trackday1"This year we have between 60 and 80 soldiers that come via the Not Forgotten Association. They are people who have been at Headley Court and various other charities for injured soldiers, and we drive on track and try to scare them, which is hard because they are soldiers! They love it because they miss the excitement and danger of combat, a lot of them are going through tough times, including having prosthetic limbs fitted and physiotherapy, so this is a fun day out for them.

"In addition to soldiers from modern conflicts including those who have suffered contact with explosives, we've had a few WWII veterans in the past including a guy called Jim who has visited over the last four years, and he always gets out of his wheelchair and into a car. It's a real honour for us as supercar owners to be able to take these proper heroes out for a ride and to show them a good time."

Trackday2During the lunch break the soldiers were treated to a display of high powered single seaters, including a 1990 Benetton F1 car driven by owner John Reaks, who said: "It's brilliant to be able to bring the car down for the Not Forgotten Association and let the guys and girls hear the car. There's nothing like the sound of an older F1 car howling past the pits and screaming away from it again, so that's great to do. We've been here for two or three years now, it's great to be here and a lovely circuit, MSV pull out all the stops to let us do what we do, which is really appreciated, gives us a chance to run it and it's a lovely place to be."

Click here to see a gallery of images from the day on our Facebook page.

You can see John's Benetton in action at the Lotus Festival on 17 August. Tickets are available for £18, with free entry for children aged 12 and under. For more information call 0843 453 9000 or click here.