This weekend at Anglesey Circuit, Mission Motorsport, The Forces’ Motorsport Charity will be holding their second Race of Remembrance, sponsored by Mazda UK.
The Race of Remembrance commemorates the sacrifices made by Service personnel and their families, and the 101st anniversary of the First World War.
45 teams will embark on a 1000km endurance race at Anglesey Circuit. Over 120 drivers compete in the relay-style race or by racing a single endurance car in the ‘Heroes Trophy’.
In true Mission Motorsport style, the weekend is about more than just the racing. A supercar event, rock concert and a Formula One demo, fireworks and racing into the dark; but most importantly there is a unique interruption to an endurance motorsport event. At 10:45am on Sunday, the track will fall silent as the race pauses to hold a service of remembrance. More detail www.raceofremembrance.com
Josh Green joined the Army at 18 and once qualified joined the ranks of the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Anglian Regiment, the infamous “Poachers”. During a tour of Iraq in 2006 Josh found himself providing top cover from the rear roof hatches of a Snatch Land Rover on patrol, when the driver lost control. The Snatch rolled several times causing extensive injuries. Josh returned from Iraq badly injured down his right hand side. Several hip and shoulder reconstructive surgeries followed however this was not enough to repair Josh to a “fighting fit” state. During this period of physical recovery Josh was diagnosed with PTSD, and almost 6 years after his injury he was medically discharged from the Army.
Josh first got involved with the Forces’ Motorsport Charity when he was a resident at the Help for Heroes Recovery Centre in Colchester, Chavasse House. His interest was initially on the sporting side, but through the rehabilitation program he had discovered that he had an artistic streak. Josh was intrigued by vinyl livery, and Mission Motorsport arranged for training and funding to be found to allow him to gain work experience. Some 18 months on and he now has an amazing portfolio of work for others including Le Mans race teams, Formula E cars, and with Mission Motorsport an expanding variety of work at home and abroad.
The opportunity to create an ‘Art Car’ for the Race of Remembrance has been a fantastic opportunity for the young veteran to showcase his skills. Design, production and application of the livery has all been in-house at the Mission Motorsport Livery Suite, first opened on 29th June by Lord Janvrin, Chairman of the Royal Foundation. Josh has led the project throughout.
“This has been an incredible opportunity” said Josh “and has allowed me to really be creative and make something really amazing. I love the way that it has turned out, the design has worked really well”
Thank you to 3M for donating the vinyl for Josh’s idea, and Roland printers for providing Mission Motorsport with the equipment to do so. The Mission Motorsport livery suite was constructed thanks to the support of Thakeham Homes and their contractors, and has proved itself to be a world class facility.
Help for Heroes sponsor not just the sporting program that first helps many of the Mission Motorsport beneficiaries, but also have, through The Poppy Factory, assisted in the sponsorship of a full time position for a wounded veteran within the MM livery capability.
James Webley was a member of the Royal Electrical Mechanical Engineers, serving 12 years as both a light and heavy vehicle mechanic. He was medically discharged in December last year with early onset arthritis, exacerbated by his military service and is awaiting a double hip replacement.
With his love of all things mechanical he joined the Mission Motorsport team as the workshop manager, building and maintaining race cars, and managing a fleet of over 30 vehicles. A very talented engineer, this year he built the Mazda MX5 Mk1 race car for double amputee Davie Birrell, as well as a heavily adapted Porsche Cayman S race car for a quadriplegic racer, Nathalie McGloin, the first ever paralysed female to hold a UK race licence.
James has led the team that has turned the new Mazda Mk4 MX-5 into a race car for RoR. A real challenge in a compressed time period, no parts are available off the shelf for this newly released car, and so James has been innovative and dogged in his determination to develop something new, and exciting. Along the way eight wounded servicemen have been involved in the build, also used as evidence for vocational assessment as they undergo training in the Royal Foundation sponsored Mission Motorsport Training Wing.
“I really love helping guys out” James said “and this car will be a blast for Matt and Sam* I’m jealous as I’d love to drive it! It is so light, it will handle brilliantly and I think the livery is just mind blowing”
*Sam Parker and Matt Noakes, beneficiary drivers of the Art Car at RoR15.
Mazda UK have been a major supporter of the charity since its inception, and this year sees them as headline sponsors to the Race of Remembrance, and they have provided on loan three Mk4 MX-5s for the charity’s recovery sport output. This car is the first 1.5 race car in the UK, and has provided a great deal of training opportunity for all those involved in the build.
We are enormously grateful to BBR, Cobra Motorsport, Driftworks, EBC, GPR, Great Whites Autosport, Help for Heroes, Lifeline, Mac Tools, Mazda UK, Meister R, Merlin Motorsport, Miller Oils, Mocal, MX5 Parts, Nickson Motorsport, Rimstock/Team Dynamics, Vale Powder Coatings, and Varley Red Top for their support to the car build.
The livery has been made possible thanks to the kind support of 3M, Roland DG, and Thakeham, and the support to our veterans through Help for Heroes and The Poppy Factory.
Sam Parker joined the army in 2005 and was posted to 1 Rifles and later to 4 Rifles as an infantry soldier. He deployed to Iraq in 2006 and again in 2007, then to Afghanistan in 2009. He suffered injuries in the field, including a collapsed lung, but following the final tour Sam’s mental health slowly deteriorated and he was discharged in 2013, suffering from PTSD.
He made contact with Mission Motorsport shortly after he received an MM email looking for a labourer to help renovate the Hotel de France, an iconic location in motor racing and Le Mans history. The work suited him, but when things quietened down and the distractions ceased, Sam’s demons returned to haunt him. After a very difficult two years, Sam has really rallied, with the help of Combat Stress, and having coping strategies and a focus has allowed him to begin to realise the potential that he could not before.
Sam is now a full time member of the Mission Motorsport family spending time at the workshop and in the Training Wing on his City & Guilds NVQ Level 3 Diploma, thanks to sponsorship from Walking with the Wounded. He is also becoming a competent vehicle livery technician and has been working on major projects.
Sam passed his ARDS racing licence test just two weeks ago, and this is a huge challenge for him to overcome. “I am so excited about the opportunity to race” he enthused “you don’t realise, until you experience it again, how much you miss the adrenaline”
On the work that he is completing, and the training: “I’m really enjoying the challenge, and learning. It really helps my mind, and my concentration and Ralph* is a great teacher”
*Ralph Hosier, Mission Motorsport Training Manager
On the charity: “They’ve always been there for me, always cared and helped pick me up. The work, and the course, it is fantastic. Mission Motorsport has changed my life”
Matt Noakeswas a mobilised Army reservist for 6 years, following a career in the Marines. Having been deployed to Helmand province, Afghanistan in a reconnaissance infantry role, he received a shoulder injury when under fire, leading to his eventual medical evacuation back to the UK. Due to complications and after several operations Matt has been medically discharged from the Army, and still needs ongoing treatment.
He attended a Mission Motorsport vocational insight event at the Bentley Motors factory in Crewe and through the Mission Motorsport vocational program started working at Bentley Motors Ltd in a Defence Recovery Placement while he was still serving. Due to his hard work and commitment this has led to full time employment at the factory in an agency role, with a very clear ambition to translate that into employment with Bentley.
“Mission Motorsport has helped me so much, when I’ve been really down they have picked me up” Matt said “I have worked all my life, and found being sat at home terribly difficult, I was very low and depressed. I’ve much more confidence now, and I’ve learnt a lot along the way. I’m really grateful, the help that I have received has genuinely saved my life. I love the racing, and I am learning as much as I can from the experience”