Competing in a seven-day rally across some of Greece’s rougest terrain covering 1,400km is a daunting task enough. But for one exceptionaly brave man the challange is even tougher.
Army veteran Graeme Billington, who was disabled permanently after sustaining injury’s through an IED strike while serving in Afghanistan is now aiming to be the first disabled person to compete at the FIM Serres Rally on a motorbike, hoping to inspire other disabled people.
Graeme explains the story in his own words:–
“One of my first experiences of bikes was watching the Dakar Rally and I always thought how exciting, adventurous and challenging it would be to participate, however reality kicked back in and on with a career in the Army I went.
After serving 11 years, on January 4, 2011, life changed and my day-to-day routine became challenging after I was struck by an IED while commanding a vehicle in Afghanistan and was left with multiple injuries.
Although most injuries have healed over time I permanently lost the use of my right arm and hand due to severe nerve damage.
Following my discharge from the military in July 2013 I was frustrated in trying to find what I could do with myself and as bikes were still very much a passion of mine I decided to take up off-road.
After a few simple adaptions on the bike I was ready to hit the dirt again, although challenging I gradually adapted to it and have been competing in local enduro races for the past couple of years.
Following many challenges I’ve experienced since becoming disabled I would really like to inspire other people with disabilities to challenge themselves and do things they used to be able to do, or even experience new exciting challenges.
This year I will be taking part in an FIM seven-day rally in Serres (Greece) and I am aiming to be the first disabled person to compete and finish the rally.
Seven days of racing will cover 1400km across various terrains, alongside good friend and off-road skills instructor, Neil Hawker, who has been preparing me for what beckons. Neil’s support has been key to me competing in this event.
My long term ambition is still to compete at Dakar, where I would love to be the first disabled person to compete in the motorcycle category and event’s such as the Serres Rally are crucial to my long term goal.
If this challenge helps to inspire other disabled people to follow their passions and challenge themselves then I will truly have succeeded.
A total of £3,000 is needed to help fund Graeme’s ambition to be the first disabled person to compete and finish the FIM 7 day Serres Rally, if you can help in any way go to the Graeme’s JustGiving page - https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/graeme-billington?utm_id=106&utm_term=Q3mxngKbk, and make a donation.