Paul Vice MC

Paul Vice MC

42 Commando Royal Marines

DOB 29/07/1983

Racing in Car 44

 

In 2000, aged just 16, Paul Vice MC joined the Royal Marines. By 2011 he was on his fourth tour of Afghanistan, his sixth posting overall and the one that would leave the most painful legacy.

 

On foot patrol in Helmand Province, Paul stepped on a command wire Improvised Explosive Device (IED) which detonated underneath his Section. He suffered a traumatic brain injury resulting in paralysis of his right arm, and more than 400 pieces of shrapnel were removed from his body by surgeons. He was, as a subsequent documentary called him, ‘The Commando Who Refused To Die’.

 

He was one of six casualties from the explosion which, as he describes, “took from me the one thing I felt I was born to do – be a soldier”. Two years of painful rehabilitation followed. Racked with guilt that he somehow should have done more to protect his fellow soldiers, Paul struggled to come to terms with the loss of his career.

 

Realising he needed a catalyst for change, he rediscovered sport and his ingrained need for competition. In 2014, he competed in the first Invictus Games, pushing his body to its limits, winning a gold medal in cycling along the way. After the Games, ongoing complications stemming from the 2011 explosion, saw his left leg amputated below the knee. He was medically discharged in August 2015.

 

Incredibly, his seven-medal haul at the 2016 Invictus Games meant he returned home as the competition’s most successful male athlete. His two golds (50m Backstroke and 50m Breaststroke), four silvers (sitting volleyball, 50m freestyle and two in cycling,) and one bronze (4x100m relay) hang next to the Military Cross he received for gallantry earlier in the fated Afghanistan tour.

 

Today, with his family behind him, Paul uses his experiences to inspire others to overcome their own adversities. This approach has seen him fast-tracked through the Mission Motorsport Academy programme, passing an enhanced racing instructor course along the way.

 

The Race of Remembrance, which commemorates the sacrifices made by service personnel and their families, was the backdrop for his first ever competitive race. As part of the new Invictus Games Racing team, Paul will race in the season alongside professional driver Matthew George.

CAR 44:

Paul has been selected and trained for the 2019 British GT season by Mission Motorsport who will be closely following his progress and supporting him throughout the season.

Races held at Britain’s' most iconic race circuits and

one round held at Spa Francorchamps, Belgium.

 

2019 Calendar:

Snetterton: May 18th - 19th

Silverstone: June 8th - 9th

Donington Park: June 22nd - 23rd

Donington Park: September 14th -15th

 

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Paul Vice MC:

A Champion’s Story

Whoever writes Paul Vice MC’s scripts is doing a fine job. Although if Hollywood penned it for a film, critics would say too much creative license had been taken. Blown up, back from the dead – twice – awarded the Military Cross, below-knee amputation, Invictus Games legend and now British GT racing driver. Quite a body of work. Any leading man would have to portray all that with good humour, too. Just like Vicey, as he’s known, does day-to-day.

Long before he was draped in gold medals – he is, remember, one of the Invictus Games’ most successful-ever athletes – the former Royal Marine had stared down adversity to make it to the starters’ blocks. He is not involved at this year’s Invictus Games because his days of competing at the event have drawn to a natural close. However, like all top sportsmen, the legend of his achievements lives on. He’ll be watching the 2018 cohort, cheering them on. 

He loves being part of a team, he lives for competition. That’s why in 2000, aged just 16, he joined the Royal Marines. “It was the best job in the world”, he said – his eyes as wide and bright as they were as a raw teenage trainee. By 2011 those eyes had seen war. More than a decade after joining, Vicey had been hardened by four tours of Afghanistan, his sixth posting overall.

“The problem with tours is you can’t keep rolling six – sooner or later you get a one.” Those are the brutal, chilling, truths of conflict. ‘Tour Four’ saw Vicey’s luck change. On foot patrol in Helmand Province, he stepped on a command wire Improvised Explosive Device (IED) which detonated underneath his Section. 

“Something was different that day. We call it atmospherics”, he says recounting the episode with calmness and clarity. “I saw an old oil drum poking out the side of a wall and then two insurgents crouched in a field several hundred metres away. I thought ‘this isn’t good’ and turned to run. The next thing – bang.”

He suffered a traumatic brain injury, resulting in paralysis of his right arm, and more than 400 pieces of shrapnel were removed from his body by surgeons. He was all but dead. In fact, he did die twice: once in the helicopter back to base and once on the makeshift operating table – but he pulled through, just.

He was one of six casualties from the explosion which, as he describes, “took from me the one thing I felt I was born to do – be a soldier”. Two years of painful rehabilitation followed. Mentally and physically, he was in agony. Racked with guilt that he somehow should have done more to protect his fellow soldiers, Paul struggled to come to terms with the loss of his career. He has had his demons.

Realising he needed a catalyst for change, he rediscovered sport and his ingrained need for competition. In 2014, he competed in the first Invictus Games, pushing his body to its limits, winning a gold medal in cycling along the way. After the Games, ongoing complications stemming from the 2011 explosion, saw his left leg amputated below the knee. He was medically discharged in August 2015. That moment had been coming for a while but when it finally arrived, it was no less painful, no less seminal. Vicey gathered himself together and went again.

Incredibly, his seven-medal haul at the 2016 Invictus Games meant he returned home as the competition’s most successful male athlete. His two golds (50m Backstroke and 50m Breaststroke), four silvers (sitting volleyball, 50m freestyle and two in cycling,) and one bronze (4x100m relay) hang next to the Military Cross he received for gallantry earlier in the fated Afghanistan tour. They hang figuratively-speaking, of course. Vicey isn’t one for self-congratulations. “Self-praise, is no praise, right?” he levels. Those who know him, know his story and that’s enough.

Today, with his family behind him, Paul uses his experiences to inspire others to overcome their own adversities. That ‘take-life-by-the-scruff’ approach saw him fast-tracked through the Mission Motorsport Academy programme, passing an enhanced racing instructor course along the way. The Race of Remembrance, which commemorates the sacrifices made by service personnel and their families, was the backdrop for his first ever competitive race. It was a fitting start. 

2018 saw a new scene written in Vicey’s ‘script’: Invictus Games Racing. He took to the stage at the Birmingham NEC’s International Car Show with his new teammates to unveil their new challenge – competing in British GT. Compete they did – bravely and gallantly, as you would expect. 

The Invictus Games chose a photo to promote the 2018 Games. They chose Vicey celebrating after winning one of his many medals – he was at his fist pumping best. David Beckham took to Instagram to express his fondness for the image. That’s the draw Vicey has. He’s inspirational. It’s an overused term but not where he is concerned. Tell him that he can’t and he’ll show you he can. And then some.

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