As the Red Arrows roared overhead and with perfect military timing, injured former Royal Marine and GRRC member Chris Short rode into the Festival of Speed today on a rather dusty Honda motorcycle and declared: ‘What I want is a cold beer at the Kennels’ (the Kennels being the club in which Goodwood Road Racing Club members meet).
You can understand why. Chris’s triumphant arrival to cheering crowds is the culmination of a GRRC road trip with a difference: 4660 miles from Kabul to Goodwood in 32 days of mostly off-road riding. Seventeen countries, three deserts, the odd war zone – Chris saw it all on his epic journey from Afghanistan.
Goodwood Road & Racing was there waiting for Chris at the finish line:
Congratulations and welcome home – how are you?
I’m a little bit tired, still soaking it up I think. We haven’t stopped for a month. It’s been absolutely non-stop all the time. I was losing track of the countries we went through which was a real shame. I feel I haven’t really appreciated where we have been.
It wasn’t your average GRRC road trip was it?
I have a classic Jaguar I left somewhere up in the Cotswolds and I am missing it right now!
Any scary moments?
Yes, quite a few. Going through Turkey, clifftop roads with sheer drops and articulated trucks overtaking each other with me being thrown around in the middle of it – that was pretty scary.
How was the bike?
I think it’s done far better than I have. I sourced it in Kabul but it’s been good.
What do you most want now?
Twenty minutes to myself to take stock of things, and that pint at the Kennels of course.
What’s the next big adventure?
That’s still in the planning stage, but it will involve British brands, both cars and motorcycles, and the Middle East.
Enjoy the beer Chris – your K2K (Kabul to the Kennels) adventure raised more than £40,000 for Mission Motorsport, the charity that gets injured ex-servicemen into motorsport. Serving as a Royal Marine in Afghanistan Chris suffered injuries which included a broken sternum. Prior to his discharge on medical grounds in 2006, he led major security operations in both Afghanistan and Iraq over a period of seven years. For the ride, Chris bought a Honda Valadero which was expedition prepared, and supported along the way by a back-up crew in a Toyota Land Cruiser.
Lord March was due officially to welcome Chris to Goodwood this afternoon (we hope, buy him that beer), along with Paralympian ex RAF athlete John Robertson and Mission Motorsport founder James Cameron.