The What: Dakar Rally, Saudia Arabia
Since its inaugural race in 1978/9 the Dakar rally has been the toughest physical test of man and bike.
A high speed orienteering competition taking place over 2 weeks in some of the least forgiving terrain on the planet.
For the next 4 years the race will be crossing the empty quarter of Saudi Arabia.
Stages and their liaisons can be in excess of 1000km per day requiring riders to be in the saddle for up to 14 hours a day.
Sleep deprived and enduring temperatures from -5 to +50'C, riders are required to ride and navigate alone across the desert.
Each day ends at the Bivouac where racers and their equipment need fuelling, cleaning and rest.
Rider + Team Captain: Tim Bradshaw
This challenge will see Tim go from novice off-road rider to Dakar racer at the age of 45! #BecauseICan
From attending The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst at the age of 19, undertaking specialist reconnaissance and intelligence training to completing a number of operational tours of duty, Tim is now a founder and director of Sandstone Communications.
In 2015 he was part of a team who attempted to climb Mount Everest in order to raise awareness for Combat Stress. The expedition ended in disaster when the largest earthquakes ever to hit the region struck.
Tim has constantly battled depression and has undertaken a series of challenges to help try to remove the stigma that surrounds mental health issues. These include L’Etape Du Tour, 70.3 Ironman and climbing the Matterhorn.
Rider: Vanessa Ruck - The Girl on a Bike
After being hit by a car while cycling in 2014, Vanessa's world was turned upside down, resulting in 7 surgeries and a rollercoaster of mental and physical recovery spanning 7 years. Through her recovery she discovered motorcycles, becoming known as “The Girl On A Bike”. #BecauseICan
Combining her ten-year career in marketing and her resilience for life, Vanessa has built a following of over 170,000. She now inspires others to get up and tackle the battles life throws at us.
Vanessa is on a mission to show that nothing is impossible if you work hard enough, even as a slightly reconstructed person following the accident. Vanessa has successfully leveraged the power of social media, passionate storytelling to share her story and inspire others.
Rider: Dave MaGee
20 years ago Dave was given 8 months to live. In 2023 he intends to take the start line of the Dakar rally aged 50! #BecauseICan
Dave is an ex schoolboy motocross rider turned professional drummer. Having studied at agricultural college whilst playing drums at the weekend before finally getting his first record contract.
At the age of 27 he began to notice headaches and had problems with his vision. He was later diagnosed with Balo’s concentric sclerosis. This is a rare form of Multiple Sclerosis an auto immune disease. Choosing to live life short term Dave took up Sky Diving as way of finding a release and taking back control.
Now working as a business and property development specialist. He continues to battle the physical and psychological effects of the disease on a daily basis. Significantly Dave is setting himself a longer-term physical challenge.
Rider + Coach: Kevin Murray
Kevin has taken the decision that the best way to support Tim, Dave and Vanessa on the Dakar is to compete alongside them! #BecauseICan
From serving in Iraq and Afghanistan to the Bloodhound SSC speed record project via the International Six Days Enduro (ISDE) race. Kevin is an engineer by trade and a coach by profession.
Having guided young soldiers to achieve engineering solutions in hot and hostile environments and worked with land speed record driver Andy Green to reach a target speed of 1000km/h, Kevin has taken a step back from his own successful enduro racing career to start Ride Off Road Scotland.
The attitude that has seen him represent Great Britain and win his 8 International Gold Medals as team captain for the ISDE will ensure that despite launching a business venture moments before the Coronavirus pandemic he will succeed.
Crew Chief: Alan Filsell
Joining the navy at 15 gave Alan a foundation in discipline and teamwork that has never left him. He has gone from being the mast head “button boy” and member of the Portsmouth Field Gun Team to owning a successful Wealth Management Practice.
Having spent his weekends running the service crew for Alan Sutherland, during the heady days of the British Rally Championships working on Group B cars such as the Metro 6R4, off-Road racing has always been in his blood!
A dedicated family man who has always put his family first Alan is shortly to retire passing the business to his daughter. At the age of 64 he is now focussed on a new kind of challenge – The Dakar Rally. His role will see him running the support team forming the vital support link for the riders as they cross the desert. Each day the whole team will have to navigate 1000’s of km from bivouac to bivouac. #BecauseICan
Chase Car Driver: David Samuel
A degree in surveying at Portsmouth University set Dave up for a career in property management and development. His passion though has always been for cars and bikes. A former competitor and rally driving instructor Dave is happiest when going sideways.
In 2017 Dave joined forces with Tim to become a Director of Sandstone Communications. Having supported a number of major challenges from the side lines he leapt at the chance to become a critical member of the team for 2023 Dakar challenge. His role will see him driving the chase car, shadowing the riders across the Desert providing critical water, fuel and food outside of the special stages. #BecauseICan
Chief Mechanic: Del Carr
Derek (Del), served 22 years in the Army as a mechanic within Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, serving nearly all his career on armoured vehicles. He has completed numerous operational tours including both Gulf Wars.
Derek left the Army in 2010 and joined a Landrover franchised dealership and joined a four wheel drive rally team, as a mechanic, competing in long and short distance rallies in Morocco and the UK.
In 2019 Derek supported a friend, as a mechanic, at a Dakar qualifying rally in Morocco. He went on to support him with his Husqvarna Rally motorbike for Saudi Arabia`s first Dakar in 2020. Due to all of the rallying experiences, since 2010, and the passion for off road motorcycling Derek has stopped been employed and become self-employed working in garages in between providing support for long and short distance rallies whilst still competing in Enduro races in UK.
Del has ridden in the Army Enduro Championships most years since 2008.
Mechanic: Alex Ruck
Alex is currently serving in the Royal Air Force as an AeroSystems Engineering Officer and is an active member of the RAF Motor Sports Association. His background includes working with a variety of aircraft and deploying on operations in Afghanistan. His career has required him to support aircraft in austere locations with a minimal ground footprint, often in harsh environments. This has resulted in an agile and adaptable engineering aptitude where dynamic problem solving under pressure is key to success.
Alex successfully restored his first off-road motorcycle at 14 years old. This led him to a Mechanical Engineering degree. His pursuit of engineering is far more than just his career, taking deep care and enthusiasm into understanding how things work, and keeping his bikes in race ready condition.
His background of physical training ensures he is ready for the extremes of Project Dakar. He has lead teams on the Three Peaks Challenge, with a 19-hour personal best. He also represents the RAF in national hard enduro competitions.
Alex will be supporting as a mechanic alongside his wife Vanessa [team rider] and working to aid a smooth-running operation.
Apprentice: Thomas Johnstone
Aged 17 Tom is the youngest member of the team and embodies the #BecauseICan ethos.
Having started Junior Rallying at the age of 15 in the Junior 1000 Ecosse championship Tom won the Nissan Cup, Novice Cup, Spirit of the Championship cup and was nominated and made it to the last five for the Young rally driver of the year award.
Tom attended Merchiston Castle School Edinburgh but along with his parents decided that he wanted to follow a different path from the norm. He is now at the Motorsport UK Academy DISE course, Loughborough. The course covers all aspects of motorsport from driving to mechanics and how to manage a team.
Inspiring others ...
The team are committed to helping as many people as possible get involved in bike sport. Especially those who might not normally consider taking it up.
Project Dakar run adventure days, come and have a go days, women only days and support the SACU academy for young riders.
The Because I Can Initiative
Supported by Motorrad Central the Project Dakar run visits to schools where they provide workshops for young people. The team have currently spoke to over 2000 School children and students.
The theme is developing a Because I Can attitude. Showing young people how to be part of the solution and deal with life's challenges.