Royal Navy sailors race round Bahrain Formula 1 track in charity cycling fundraiser

ROYAL Navy sailors based in Bahrain took to the home of Formula 1 for a fundraising showdown.

Thursday, 13th January 2022, 4:45 pm

Members of the armed forces, including soldiers and airmen, cycled round a Grand Prix circuit to raise money for charity.

Service personnel traversed the International Circuit, which hosts Formula 1 every spring, in a 24 hour ‘Le Mans’ style race last month.

Over £1,200 was raised for SSAFA, the armed forces charity, and the Bahrain Society for Children with Behavioural and Communication Difficulties.

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Service personnel raised money for multiple charities by cycling round The International Circuit, Bahrain, in gruelling conditions. Picture: Deborah Harmer/UK MOD Crown copyright.

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Organiser Lieutenant Commander ‘Doc’ Cox said it was great to fundraise for good causes and boost the morale of hundreds of military personnel who were deployed in the Gulf during the Christmas and New Year festivities.

Lt Cdr Cox added: ‘Christmas is a special time for friends and families to get together.

‘For service personnel on operations around the globe it is team spirit that helps bring us all together.

The International Circuit, home to Formula 1 Grand Prix every spring, is a 5.4km long circuit. Picture: Deborah Harmer/UK MOD Crown copyright.

‘There are those less fortunate than us who may have fallen on hard times or are experiencing other issues.’

Personnel pedalled around the 5.4km circuit, or rode on the track at the smaller UK’s Naval Support Facility.

Riders took to the sharp turns and straights in hourly slots.

Temperatures changed rapidly throughout the ride, plunging to single figures overnight to over 20C during the day.

Service personnel cycled in a 'Le Mans' style format, where riders took to the track in slots every 24 hours. Picture: Deborah Harmer/UK MOD Crown copyright.

The event brought people from all ranks together, including Commodore Don MacKinnon, who is in charge of the international Task Force Sentinel.

Despite the rough conditions, the event proved to be a success.

Lt Cdr Cox added: ‘This was an ideal opportunity for a group of us to do something positive and give something back over the festive period.

Portsmouth-based HMS Middleton is currently in Bahrain, after leaving the city in September.

The warship will be deployed there for three years and is tasked with guarding trade routes in the Middle East.

Other Royal Navy ships in the Gulf include Portsmouth-based HMS Chiddingfold, HMS Penzance, RFA Lyme Bay and frigate HMS Montrose.

They are working with allies and partners in the region to keep sea lanes open.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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