Gary Dunning served for 21 years in the Royal Logistics Corps. During that time, he went on eight operational tours to the Falklands, Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan. His experiences whilst on tour took their toll and Gary now suffers from severe PTSD, to the point where sometimes even going out for a coffee is too much to cope with. Coupled with a motorcycle accident that resulted in broken bones, nerve damage, and a knee replacement, Gary wasn’t in the best place mentally.
The Help for Heroes Band of Brothers invited Gary to the Mission Motorsport launch at Thruxton Circuit in March 2012. He enjoyed some passenger laps in cars but, due to his lack of self-confidence, he didn’t feel able to speak to any of the Mission Motorsport team. His wife then got in touch and asked if he could do more and so he was whisked off to another event at Silverstone, which proved to be the start of an incredible journey for Gary.
Gary was the first person in 2012 to complete the Mission Motorsport drivers’ development programme which includes skills training, coaching and licence acquisition. After completing the programme, Gary worked hard to gain his ARDS licence, spent time training at Le Mans Classic as pit crew for Derek Bell, raced at a competitive level in a Mazda MX5 series and as a driver in the Britcar 24hr race, Britain’s biggest endurance race – a gruelling and emotional test for the most resolute of driver. He has also driven at the Nürburgring and raced in a 24hr race at Spa.
Gary said “Being with the guys from Mission Motorsport has given me the opportunity to meet new friends and learn new skills in a friendly and welcoming environment. I have met new people and instantly felt like I’ve known them for years and have felt so at home and relaxed with the team. I was due to leave the army in a few months and with no trade I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. With the confidence and skills I have gained through working with the team and the charity’s work experience programme I am confident that a new job is just around the corner”
Gary found a vocational placement within the motorsport industry through Mission Motorsport. He spent time working at a company which provides race simulator training for drivers wanting to improve their ability behind the wheel. He was a huge success and the work placement led to full-time employment. This job was the catalyst to get Gary back into civilian employment and he now works in transport and logistics. To this day, Gary continues to engage with Mission Motorsport, using the charity for support and fellowship, and he enjoys being able to use his knowledge and experiences to help others in similar situations.