Thursday, July 12, 2012

Bentley on a Mission at Le Mans Classic

Photo courtesy Bentley Motors

Five time Le Mans winner Derek Bell had a crew with a mission supporting him in the pit at the 6th running of the Le Mans Classic last weekend. His three-man pit crew was supplied by Mission Motorsport, a UK organization that involves seriously injured military members in motor racing.

Bell’s crew for the 4 1/2 litre Bentley Blower owned by Martin Overington was headed by former Royal Marine Commando Tony Compson, with James Gillborn and Gary Dunning. Said Bell of his crew, “It was an honour to have the Mission Motorsport lads as our support crew. They showed a real Le Mans spirit by working tirelessly on the car when we faced some major mechanical challenges and were fast and extremely focussed in the pit lane. It was genuinely hard to believe this was their first Le Mans experience or that these men are still recovering from some terrible injuries.”

The Bentley Blower raced Saturday, coming in 15th out of 69, with the crew pulling off a 92-second pit stop, but unfortunately the car couldn’t run on Sunday. According to Major James Cameron, “The challenge of going racing, being competitive and working in a team environment again is playing a key part in restoring the confidence and physical fitness of large numbers of service personnel who are currently on the long road to recovery. It really does not get much better than racing a Bentley at Le Mans with Derek Bell and we hope the story will inspire other people to support us.”

An inspiring story indeed. In addition to helping out Bentley at Le Mans, Mission Motorsport has their own race cars and a power boat, providing opportunities for both driving and working on race cars.

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