Inmarsat is providing satellite connectivity to Race2Recovery; the first team of predominantly injured servicemen aiming to complete the formidable Dakar Rally. The team of injured former British and US service personnel, veterans and expert volunteers will take on the world's toughest off-road endurance race to raise money for Help For Heroes and associated US charities. Inmarsat is providing the five drivers, co-drivers and support crew with Inmarsat portable and vehicular BGAN terminals, eight IsatPhone Pro handheld phones and an unlimited voice and data service to allow them to keep in touch during their tough desert preparations in Morocco, as well as during the 8,000 kilometre rally itself.
The Inmarsat equipment provides the team with voice and real-time broadband data connectivity, however remote the location. The Race2Recovery team are relying on Inmarsat's services to keep in contact even if they are in the most remote locations, such as the Atacama Desert and the Andes. They will be able to video link with the mechanical and logistics crews back at base in the UK, post updates on the charity's website, Facebook and Twitter, and seek help in the case of medical or mechanical emergencies.
Race2Recovery's team co-director and former Royal Regiment of Fuseliers Captain, Tony Harris, is one of the drivers and a below-the-knee amputee. Like many of the team, which also includes non-wounded members, Tony is a veteran of the Afghan conflict.
“The Inmarsat BGAN terminal means that the team can rely on great voice and broadband connectivity in even the most remote of locations. The kit is incredibly simple, lightweight and compact and is great for updating social media sites with texts and photos and for sending emails,” said Captain Harris.
“On our first training session in October in Morocco, one of the vehicles had two punctures. As we each carry only one spare, we had to send a vehicle to find new tyres. Using BGAN we were able to find a supplier, while the IsatPhone Pros allowed the different crews to keep in touch,” he added.
“With reliable communications, individuals with injuries or disabilities can aspire to reach their goals, however risky and remote the environment, with the reassurance that support is just a call or video chat away. Inmarsat's support for the Race2Recovery team as it trains for – and ultimately competes in – the Dakar Rally builds on our longstanding association with this ultimate driving event,” said Andy Start, President, Global Government at Inmarsat.
During the October training session in the desert and in the mountains of Morocco, the Inmarsat system was online within three minutes, rarely had to be charged and was discreet and rugged enough to be packed away with minimal fuss during the arduous 2,000 km training journey. Race2Recovery will be using the equipment again on its next training exercise in Morocco in December, when the co-drivers will also be put through their paces before the Dakar Rally in January.
Recognising the significance of the team effort, Race2Recovery has been awarded the first ever grant from the Endeavour Fund, set up by The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.
The Dakar Rally is recognised as one of the toughest events in motorsports. Of the 443 motorbikes, quad bikes, cars and trucks that started the race in Mar del Plata in Argentina on 1 January 2012, only 249 made it over the finish line in Lima, Peru.
Breakaway Communications Europe for Inmarsat
Inmarsat plc is the leading provider of global mobile satellite communications services. Since 1979, Inmarsat has been providing reliable voice and high-speed data communications to governments, enterprises and other organizations, with a range of services that can be used on land, at sea or in the air. Inmarsat employs around 1,500 staff in more than 40 locations around the world, with a presence in the major ports and centres of commerce on every continent. For the year ended 31 December 2011, Inmarsat plc had total revenue of US$1,409m and an EBITDA of US$854m. For the six months ended 30 June 2012, Inmarsat plc had total revenue of US$684m and an EBITDA of US$381m. Inmarsat is listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE:ISAT.L). For more information, please visit www.inmarsat.com/about.