23 April 2017
ALF help former Marine participate in Pyrenean Raid cycle race
FORMER Royal Marine Jez Scarratt is wheely happy – after getting some help from the Aaron Lewis Foundation.
The charity recently provided the married dad of two with a set of carbon wheels for his road bike, which will help him to take part in the Pyrenean Raid race.
Jez, 58, served in the Marines from 1975 to 1990, including in Northern Ireland in 77, 78 and 81. He is also Arctic trained with three trips to Norway under his belt.
However, he lost his lower right leg in an RTA in 1982 and was medically discharged in 1990.
Since then he has worked as an estate agent, nursing home manager, a detention officer within the police service and embraced his love of bikes in a cycle shop.
Jez had been aiming to take part in the 3,000-mile Race Across America team, but was unsuccessful. He said: “RAAM is an annual event which I was training for in conjunction with Help for Heroes. Not qualifying was a bit of a blow, but considering the lads who beat me to it were 20 to 30 years my junior, sort of shows I’m not doing too bad for an old guy.”
His focus has now switched to the Pyrenean Raid, organised by the charity 65 Degrees North, which is headed by former Royal Marine Brig Jonathan Thompson.
Jez added: “It’s a multi-stage race traversing the length of these stunning mountains. I’ll be joining a group of disabled servicemen. Some will be on upright and others in hand cycles.
“The ride will be paced purely to the slowest rider and we aim to do the ride in seven days.
“I’ve been a cyclist since the late 90s, being the only amputee on the 24-hour solo scene for many years. Endurance road and mountain biking has been my thing ever since.
“These new Hunt Wheels from the Aaron Lewis Foundation are amazing. The roll and ride beautifully – anything to help at my age is appreciated.”
Jez, from Taunton, Somerset, is not one for the quiet life. Away from work and cycling he takes on extra roles in TV and film with appearances in Sherlock and was a contestant in the Channel 4 show Hunted. He also appeared in Brad Pitt war movie Fury.
And he has another challenge on the horizon – a world record attempt to go non-stop around the world in a powerboat as part of Team Britannia.
He added: “That is a big challenge. The current record, I believe, stands at 45 days so this will be a hard ask.
“Other WIS (wounded, injured, sick) veterans will be helping around the world with logistics and refuelling, and will be joining us on legs of the trip. The start date is set for early October.”