True Heroes Racing
Here at Sport in Profile Magazine we’ve avidly followed the unique story of True Heroes Racing for several years now and we thought it was time to recap their story and give you the latest update …
True Heroes Racing (www.TrueHeroesRacing.co.uk) is the UK’s first and only motorcycle race team for Wounded, Injured and Sick (WIS) UK Service personnel and Veterans.
Formed in 2012 by a serving Royal Navy Warrant Officer, Phil Spencer, who wanted to do more for his fellow Service brethren after returning home safely from several Tours of Duty in Afghanistan in 2007 and 2008.
Phil, by his own admission, served in relative safety in Afghanistan as a senior aircraft engineer on Harrier Jump Jets; “where we were based at Kandahar airfield was like a holiday camp compared to the guys on the Front Line. Our job was to ensure the aircraft were ready to go at a moment’s notice, so when the troops on the ground really needed help to get them out of trouble we could launch and provide that critical close air support to them as soon as possible. Unfortunately, it also became common place for us to scramble our jets to provide air support to life threatening casualty extraction missions as well.”
As a keen motorcyclist Phil wanted to combine the contacts he’d built up fundraising for various UK Military charities after his return from Afghanistan, with the military ethos of working as a team in the high adrenaline and pressurised sport of motorcycle racing.
The concept was to offer unique opportunities for WIS UK Service personnel and Veterans to become directly involved in all roles within competitive motorcycle racing as a way of regaining a focus and sense of direction during and after their rehabilitation; but also to prove to themselves, as much as the wider audience, that their Life Changing injuries don’t have to be Life Limiting.
And in 2012 Phil formed True Heroes Racing to do just that. The team has enabled riders with life changing injuries to race specially adapted motorcycles on a level playing field against able bodied racers. The organisation also invites and hosts members of the Armed Forces from local rehabilitation units and military establishments, to join them as their guests, track-side at various rounds of the British Superbike Championships where they’re competing.
This outlet provides rehabilitation support to WIS personnel, enabling them to get up close to the modified motorcycles, experience just what is still possible and enjoy the high-octane, adrenaline-fuelled world of superbike racing. As well as at the same time providing a more holistic approach to rehabilitation, where individuals are re-introduced to people and public surroundings, as opposed to the safety net of the rehabilitation system.
Competing on the televised stage that is the British Superbike Championships and in front of crowds of 40,000 trackside spectators, meant not only has True Heroes Racing offered more opportunities for WIS Service personnel to become involved in the sport as a form of rehabilitation, but the team have also normalised the life changing injuries sustained by some of its members and inspired others to attempt things they were told or believed were impossible.
From the very first moment True Heroes Racing took to the track they have inspired and immense support has grown for the team and their achievements. Their innovative and unique use of two wheeled motorsport has returned likeminded WIS Service personnel and Veterans to a fast, frenetic and pressurised environment. The camaraderie and sense of humour amongst the team is identical to that found amongst serving military units and this is a key feature of what True Heroes Racing is about.
Due to the support and exposure competing at the British Superbike Championships has brought, True Heroes Racing has been able to expand year-after-year and is now the professional organisation seen and followed by thousands across the UK and beyond.
The team’s unique and sustained approach has led to interest from across the world to form links, inspire and learn lessons. It’s certainly not the injuries of its members that is holding them back, it’s the age old issue of the need for increased and sustained financial backing to fund continued expansion.
For 2018, True Heroes Racing are again fielding their distinctive orange and black camouflage liveried Ducati race bikes in the Ducati TriOptions Cup, but have also formed a new part of the team to learn and develop skills racing on three wheels. The possibilities offered for disability use by racing a sidecar outfit are almost limitless, but this is a whole new world for the team to grow into with different challenges and skill sets to be developed, alongside continued racing of their solo bikes.
True Heroes Racing has aspirations to take the direct involvement in competitive motorcycle racing by WIS UK Service personnel and Veterans to the very top within the UK. The hope is, one day soon, to be able to field a professional full premier Superbike Class team, competing against established, high profile riders and factory backed teams.
At this level True Heroes Racing would move from the voluntary organisation that it is now, to an organisation that would be able to offer paid employment for WIS Service personnel in new careers outside of the military. There’s no reason why WIS UK Service personnel can’t perform all of the roles required for a successful motorsport team to operate. In fact True Heroes Racing have already proven that the attitude and ethos of UK Military personnel knits perfectly with the needs of a successful race team.
If you would like to learn more about True Heroes Racing, might be interested in joining or supporting the team in some way please feel free to contact them through their social media sites or directly at: info@TrueHeroesRacing.co.uk. You can also visit their website (www.TrueHeroesRacing.co.uk) or show them your support by following them on any of their social media sites, especially Facebook, where you can view images of everything the team has done on and off the track since forming.