Melbourn man to race in memory of slain brother

A MELBOURN man whose half-brother was killed by an Afghan soldier is to cycle across the US to raise money for three military charities.

David Wright and several family members and friends are all set for the gruelling 3,000-mile Race Across America in memory of Major James Joshua Bowman.

Major Bowman, of the 1st Battalion of the Royal Gurkha Rifles, was the second most senior member of the armed forces to die in Afghanistan, and was killed after a rogue soldier opened fire inside a shared base last year.

Mr Wright said: “It was the worst day of my life.

“My sister and I wanted to do something like this, when this all happened.

“I found out about the Race Across America and I said we had to do this.

“We’re a very close family and we’re strong. It’s a big factor.”

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Race Across America will see the crew and riders beginning their journey in Oceanside, California, on June 18, and the trip will take them across both the Rockies and Appalachian mountains before ending in Annapolis, Maryland.

The race will see members of team Swift and Bold, named after the motto of the light infantry, taking part in the challenge in shifts.

Two of the team will swap every 20 minutes for four hours to enable the other riders to rest in a support vehicle.

Mr Wright, 47, hopes to finish the race in seven days.

“It’s a huge challenge. We have been doing, for the past six months, 200-250 miles a week,” he said.

“The four of us who are doing it have all been training very hard.

“For my sister and me, last Christmas was the first time we had been on road bikes.

“It’s a real challenge and now we’re getting closer it’s getting really exciting.

“The hardest bit is not so much the riding, it’s the logistics behind it – we have nine people in the crew.”

So far the freelance electronic engineer and his team have raised �29,000 for ABF The Soldiers Charity, Care For Casualties (The Rifles) and The Gurkha Welfare Trust, which were Major Bowman’s favourite charities.

Mr Wright said: “Everyone asks ‘why didn’t you go for Help the Heroes’? That charity’s doing very well and there’s a lot of smaller charities that are doing just as good work, and that’s why we have chosen them.”

Despite the money raised so far, another �30,000 is set to be added to the pot by a celebrity benefactor.

London club owner Peter Stringfellow is a close family friend and organised a successful charity auction.

To follow Team Swift and Bold’s progress and to donate money towards the mission log on to