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Mission Motorsport: Helping veterans through the medium of fast carsWounded veterans can struggle after returning home, and to help with this Mission Motorsport offers former service men and women the opportunity to get involved in motorsport. XCAR caught up with the charity to find out more.
[MUSIC] We help fix broken blokes and we help turn lights back on. We do that. We hardness that and, and there has some people who've, who've been through some horrific times. And help them find a new future. And we do it through engaging in sports and our chosen sport is, is motorsports. And the industry that sits behind it is the automotive industry. And happily it's, it's proving it's proving quite effective. [MUSIC] My name is James Cameron. I was formerly in the British Army for a while, and now I run the Force's Motorsport charity, which is called Mission Motorsport. I've got a bit of a background in, in Motorsport and have always used that in the past to try and raise money for, for good causes and service charities, being a serviceman, were. With the thing that was quite close to my heart. I had a, I had a hard tour of Afghanistan in 2010 through into 2011. And a lot of my guys were injured on that tour and I really wanted to do something for them when we returned. I was very much focused on the duty of care about getting it right for the. The military, the M.A.D. has a big duty of care for those who, who choose to serve. And it's a difficult thing to get right when things aren't going well for them, and they find themselves coming to leave the forces through reasons which are outside their control. You've got to really ignite something, passion in people. He really had the stuffing kicked out of him in a lot of ways. And almost accidentally I think we happened on a really good way of doing it. I'm ex services, Airvile Navy. I was on Fleet Air for six years, I've been out for ten years now as a veteran on what I can only say is a lot of pain killers and not really been part of much to be honest. I came out of the services because. Being disabled, you're quite limited. Access to events and doing exciting things is limited. I got injured back in 2006 in Iraq. I was with Royal Anglian Regiment. I lost my left leg in an IED. I served with the IF regiment. And then when my initial, initial injury happened I had acute compartment syndrome in both legs. I've done had in excessive twenty-five, thirty operations now on my legs. Got an implant on my spine to maintain the nerve pain and it effectively unable to move my legs from the knees down. And then I heard through the Chains with Helpful Hero's and everything about Mission Motorsport and I thought, I love cars. Let's go give it a go. And that was how I ended up there. Before I got involved in Mission Motorsport I was at home playing Xbox, you know, not really doing much. Just wondering what I'm gonna do with myself. What about, you know, I, I was into my cars, not massively but you know, it was something that I enjoyed. So I thought, you know, let me have a look down that avenue. [MUSIC] We now formally do two things on behalf of defense. We're the coordinators of Recovery Motorsport, and we also, as a part of, this organization I'm wearing on my sleeve, the Recovery Career Services, find opportunities for the wounded, injured, and sick into the automotive industry [MUSIC] And one thing kind of, quite nicely, leads on into the other. So, the shiny things, like the stuffers, behind me. It's 'cuz the boys love fast cars and fast. So this gets them off the sofa, it gets them engaged. But what you do is you harness some of that. Real potential that exists in them that they don't almost see themselves, and then find a good outlet for it. We're very much helped by the fact that the UK automotive industry is in such an amazingly good place at the moment. Motion Motorsport not just driving stuff or mechanical. They get you in at jobs. They get you back better, back on, on your feet figure of speech. So then you could wake up in the morning for a reason and not basically lying in your bed wondering what you wanna do. I've got to say Mission Motorsport is probably the best charity that I know for injured troops by far. It's given me that, the drive again. The ambition. The back, being back around military lads. Being part of a team. Meaning something again. And, and that's massive. Basically a friend of mine told me about Help the Heroes and that they could help us, from the Royal Navy. I went along to the Help the Heroes house, had some help and advice there. And they told me about James Cameron and Mission Motorsport. And eventually went to a track day at Goodwood probably about six weeks ago. And just got invited to be part of the, the team. They, they had no idea where I was from, motorsport wise, or what I was capable of. They just said get involved. So I did. [LAUGH] We started off doing drift days and everything. And then a thing came along about learning how to do some stunt stuff with Terri Grant. So we thought where could we go from here and, and Harry just said well you guys you know do a show. [UNKNOWN] so basically we start with small stuff like [UNKNOWN] turns and hand brake parking and drifting on the cones, and then it just grew from there. So we started doing some precision driving stuff crossovers, snake in following each other really close behind. And then just like formation driving. What we like to do is get everyone on the team involved in the routine so it's their routine as opposed to my routine. It's our routine. And then we, we just put on a show and people seem to like it. Working with Lionel, working with David I'm not amputee but they, they, they help you realize things. And then you talk to them about your injures and you find that your injuries can cross over actually. And you can help each other. You've experienced something similar to them. You just, you build this incredible bond back up that you had with the lads in unit and you just all got that same passion just go nuts. And that it's not about then helping me out it's a buzz that I've delivered what they've, they've been working hard for me to be doing. Like finishing on podium. Finish and [UNKNOWN] in the championship. They, they, they've been working on the back [UNKNOWN] just to get the [UNKNOWN] [UNKNOWN] when i, when I"m on a [UNKNOWN] it's not [UNKNOWN] achieve [UNKNOWN] to the car [UNKNOWN] front. So [UNKNOWN] it's all about that [UNKNOWN] relationship isn't it. Everybody's for everybody. [MUSIC] We don't do motorsport for the same reason that everybody else does motorsport. We don't do it for the purpose of the event. We'll go and do motorsport in order to meet the recovery goals for the individuals who are taking part so. It has to benefit them in some way. There has to be some sort of higher purpose. But inevitably, we're pretty competitive by our nature. We've been out doing some 24-hour racing. We've done some, some classic rallying. We've done some, some more traditional rallying, like the [INAUDIBLE] and placed really highly when the lads have done it. We are, I mean, we are just rejoicing really in in some of our successes this year including an double-amputee, third in the national championship in MX5. I mean, just outrageous, driving a fully manual car. But he had the option of driving a adapted car, but has learned instead in order to be able to drive full manual with his prosthetics. I think everyone's there for each other. There's no one person that's the center of attention, some of us went up to [UNKNOWN] and supported Davey during his racing. Likewise Davey's here supporting us doing the stunt stuff and training and teaching people how to do things. You're having fun while keeping busy basically. When I look at where we've come I mean it all started with. A bit of an idea, some conversations in the pub, a sketch on a beer mat, and it's quite big now. But there's, there's still an awful lot of work to do as we develop the educational model. And that's my next focus really, is, is looking ahead to going, what's next? How can we improve what we do in order to help more people? But I'm really proud of where we've come from. I think it's an, an extraordinary journey.