A former RAF training instructor, extreme sports enthusiast and double Paralympian has been announced as one of the latest drivers to join a motor racing team which aims to give people with disabilities a chance to complete at the highest level.
Sean Rose, 46, of St Neots, is a rookie driver for Team BRIT, which consists of disabled drivers, most of whom are injured military troops.
The team uses special technology to allow its drivers to compete on equal terms, and aims to be the first ever all-disabled team to compete in the Le Mans 24-hour race.
Sean, a father-of-two, joined the RAF in 1989 as a physical training and adventure training instructor. He served across the world including on operations in Saudi Arabia and Germany.
In 2000 he was teaching a group of pilots to ski in Bavaria when he was ejected from his skis after hitting a pile of snow. He landed head first, breaking his back and paralysing him from the ribs down.
Sean spent four months in hospital and a month in the Sheffield spinal unit before spending five months in rehabilitation at the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre, in Headley Court.
Sean then began setting challenges and achieving them, from running a water sports centre to breaking records and winning medals. He has been world and European disabled waterski champion individually and as part of team GB, and holds two British waterski records.
He joined the British Paralympic ski team in 2004 and secured Britain’s first ever World Cup gold alpine medal in 2010 in the downhill event. He went on to win five World Cup and 40 international medals and a total of seven British titles.
He was the first seated person to snow kite across the largest glacier in Europe and was the first disabled athlete to be allowed to compete in the world’s hardest kite race in the Arctic circle, Norway. He also flies fixed wing and paramotor aircraft.
Now, Sean is trying something he is yet to conquer – motor racing. The founder of Team BRIT, Dave Player, approached Sean last year to try out as a rookie. After training online using the team’s hand controls, Sean met the team and was assessed before being welcomed on board.
He will take part in his first test session on the track at Silverstone on February 21 and will compete in the BMW 116 Trophy at Brands Hatch on April 14.
Sean said: “I’ve loved motorsport all my life, and grown up hooked on everything from rallying to speedway. Although I competed for many years in motor cycle trials, I’ve never competed on four wheels.
“Motor racing has always been on my bucket list, how could I refuse such an amazing opportunity? Being part of Team BRIT offers me a new challenge and a new journey so I can’t wait to get started.”
Team BRIT is competing in the BMW 116 Trophy and the Britcar Championship in 2019.
For more information visit www.teambrit.co.uk.