Royal Marine amputee rides Africa with Charley…

This is a snippet from the story of how Ben Baker was caught up in an IED incident in Afghanistan. He’ now riding across Africa with Charley – one handed! “The first vehicle in the convoy  had already trundled over the lethal roadside device, with no effect whatsoever. Seconds later, and following the exact tyre tracks as the lead vehicle (standard practice), Ben’s Armoured personnel carrie (APC) was blown 6ft off the ground as the full force of the explosives let rip.

When impact hit,  Ben was manning his gun, fixed in the lookout turret of the vehicle – open to the elements, the blast and the possibility of sniper fire. Only seconds earlier he’d been munching an energy bar below the turret, inside and in relative safety.  Lady luck always plays a part in these things.

His upper body sustained a myriad of blast injuries, much of which was minimised due to his body armour. Sadly, the majority of his left hand was blown off – later retrieved by a comrade on the scene, but too badly damaged to finish the story with a happier ending.”

Ben decided he wanted a challenge. So what better than to ride a GS 1200 across Africa with Charley Boorman! When we asked him how he’ll stay on the bike with the off road sections, he replied ‘…just gaffer tape me to the bike – I’ll manage!’.  This young man is hardcore, and he’ll finish this trip with some great stories to tell.

Ben has recently been to the Simon Pavey Off Road School and thanks to Kliktronic (www.kliktronic.co.uk) Simon and his mechanic Evan, fitted an amazing piece of kit. Kliktronic design and manufacture all sorts of bike bits – for racers – quick shifters and also for disabled riders. This particular bit of kit moves the clutch lever from the left hand side to the right, where you can then manage, with a bit of practice, both the clutch and the brake, with your right hand.

Ben did exceptionally well at the Off Road School. Si Pavey, 8 times Dakar legend said…’Ben is full of spirit, he fell off a few times – but then so did his mate, and he’s got two hands! He’ll be fine in Africa, there’s no keeping him down’. We’d like to thank BMW and Simon and of course Kliktronic who have been really helpful in getting this challenge off the ground.

Ben leaves in Sept and will fly into Zambia. He’ll then ride 5,000k’s from Zambia into Malawi and down through Mozambique, finishing in South Africa – Joburg.
He’s raising monies for the Royal Marines Association and you can help him and them by donating a few quid here:
http://www.justgiving.com/Ben-Baker-africa2012