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Injured servicemen complete 24 hour race car marathon at Silverstone

Injured servicemen have been taking part in a 24 hour race at Silverstone. Photo: Scruffy Bear

Racing drivers from all over the world gathered in Northamptonshire at the weekend for marathon race car relay the Silverstone 24 Hours.

40 teams from all over the world came to compete in the race which kicked off at 4pm on Saturday.

One of those teams was Team BRIT - British Racing Injured Troops. It was set up to help rehabilitate troops returning from the frontline with injuries.

After a difficult race beset with technical problems including a broken gear box, Team BRIT finished in 24th place overall.

Racing drivers from all over the world gathered in Northamptonshire at the weekend for marathon race car relay the Silverstone 24 Hours. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Injured former servicemen Mark Allen and Martyn Compton were both competing in their first ever 24 hour race.

Mark Allen left his home in King's Lynn to serve with the Royal Anglian Regiment in Afghanistan. In 2010 while on active duty there he he stepped on an Improvised Explosive Device and lost both of his legs.

Learning to race cars has been an unexpected by crucial part of his recovery.

Mark Allen from King's Lynn took part in the race. Credit: ITV News Anglia

'Racing keeps your mind occupied and keeps you busy. It's good to go and do well against other people. When I was first injured I didn't really know what was going to happen - I was lying in bed with no legs. Now to be driving a car around Silverstone is a massive achievement. I'm really happy.

– Mark Allen, Team BRIT Driver

The race is like a baton relay - each driver competes for around two hours before passing the car onto a team mate. There are four drivers in each team and the aim is to drive the greatest distance possible over a 24 hour period.

Team BRIT have had their car specially adapted so that all of its drivers can operate the controls. Mark is a double amputee so all of his controls are based around the steering wheel, including a handle which acts as a footbrake, and buttons to change gear.

Team Brit coach and driver David Pittard speaking with the team. Credit: ITV News Anglia

24-year-old David Pittard is Team Brit's coach.

We limped home 10th in class with a very bruised and battered, but equally determined car. We are extremely proud of this incredible achievement, against some immensely high odds. It was not the result we all worked so very hard for, but – as a new team – we have more than proven ourselves as a seriously competitive outfit.

– David Pittard, Team BRIT Coach and Driver

Click below to watch a video report by ITV News Anglia's Chloe Keedy