Rally duo set for Corsica charity cycle challenge FIA World Rally Championship driver Matthew Wilson and co-driver Scott Martin are no strangers to the twisty roads of the picturesque island of Corsica, but instead of rallying round the island...
Rally duo set for Corsica charity cycle challenge
FIA World Rally Championship driver Matthew Wilson and co-driver Scott Martin are no strangers to the twisty roads of the picturesque island of Corsica, but instead of rallying round the island in a Ford Focus RS World Rally Car they will be using pedal power next month as they tackle the 985km Tour de Corse cycle challenge on Trek Madone 5.2 road bikes.
The young Cumbrian duo will begin their mammoth journey on 7 June in a bid to raise money for the RPJ Crohn's Foundation. The foundation was set up earlier this year by Matthew's friend, Rick Parfitt Jnr, to help raise funds to support the National Association for Colitis and Crohn's Disease (NACC).
Rick, son of the legendary Rick Parfitt of Status Quo, is a long-term sufferer of Crohn's Disease and, after attending the charity's launch event in London earlier this year, Wilson and Martin decided they wanted to do something to help raise money on behalf of their friend.
While Wilson and Martin are competing in 13 rounds of this year's World Rally Championship (WRC) on behalf of the Stobart M-Sport Ford World Rally Team the pair have still managed to fit in training for the challenging Tour de Corse between travelling the world for various rally events. A small break in the WRC calendar during the month of June, between Rally Portugal and Rally Finland, has allowed a window for the duo to take part in the charity event.
The rally stars aim to complete the route around the coast of the French island of Corsica in eight days but, with the longest day consisting of 181km and the highest peak at 1477m, it will be no easy feat in the ferocious summer heat and mountainous terrain.
Last year the pair completed the Raid des Alpes, and in 2008 they cycled from Lands End to John O'Groats in aid of the Richard Burns Foundation and the Great North Air Ambulance. However, this year's challenge will be the toughest yet, so in order to help them prepare for their epic journey, Wilson and Martin took part in the 81 mile Etape Caledonia Race in aid of Macmillan Cancer Care earlier this month.
Matthew Wilson said:
"Rick and I have been friends since I was 15-years-old, and after seeing him battle against Crohn's disease I really wanted to do something to help. Scott and I went to the launch of Rick's RPJ Crohn's foundation in March, which made us feel we should really do something to help fundraise for the cause. This is the first time that the Rally de France hasn't been based in Corsica and we both love cycling so it seemed like a natural choice. We have a small break from WRC events in June so the Tour de Corse will also help keep up my fitness level between rallies. It's going to be a massive challenge, but I'm really looking forward to it."
Scott Martin said:
"Last year, Matt and I took part in the Raid des Alpes cycle challenge which inspired us to try another cycle tour. I did some research into Corsica and, as the Rally de France wasn't going to be based there this year, it would be a chance to experience the island in a new way. The Tour de Corse is longer than last year's challenge in the Alpes, and will take us two extra days to complete, so it will be a big challenge. It'll be really hard because there are going to be lots of mountains too. We've just confirmed the exact route this week and it has involved a lot of organisation sorting out our route and hotels each night, but I think that just adds to the challenge, especially as we are doing this for charity."
Rick Parfitt Jnr said:
"I am humbled and honoured that Matt and Scott have taken time out to do this and furthermore, to dedicate all proceeds towards my charity. The RPJ Crohns Foundation is a cause dear to my heart, and all funds raised will go towards helping hundreds and thousands of fellow sufferers and research projects, with the hope of one-day finding a cure for this disease."
For more information on the challenge including route and photographs, please visit: www.tourdecorse.co.uk
Anyone who would like to help with Matthew Wilson and Scott Martin's plight can donate on line via the Justgiving website: http://www.justgiving.com/tourdecorse
Alternatively, cheques made payable to the M-Sport Charity Appeal will be gratefully received: Angela Torney, M-Sport Ltd, Dovenby Hall, Dovenby, Cockermouth, Cumbria, CA13 0PN