Greetings!
24 HOUR OPERATION MOTORSPORT TEAM DENIED SILVERWARE AT VIR, BUT A TEAM OF WOUNDED MILITARY MEMBERS LIFT A HIGHER PRIZE
Operation Motorsport team races in the Lifeline 24hr at VIR with support from Mazda
Operation Motorsport’s entry into the ‘Lifeline 24 hour Classic’ race run by the Champ Car Endurance Series was made possible with the kind support of Mazda Racing. The Mazda Global MX-5 Cup race car, fielded by McCumbee McAleer Racing was adapted to sequential shift to enable Staff Sgt. (Ret.) Liam Dwyer to make his return to motorsport following major surgery in 2017. Liam has undergone osseointegration surgery which inserted a titanium rod into the bone in his stump to attach to his prosthetic left leg, and he was joined by 9 veterans and serving military members who filled roles on the Operation Motorsport team, and in the TWOth Autosport team two car sister entry alongside.
Cruel fate intervened after the team led the race outright for over 6 hours
A field of 100 cars began the race at Virginia International Raceway’s 3.27 mile full course and the Operation Motorsport car moved fast through the field with Liam at the helm to quickly establish a class lead. The driver line up included British Major (Ret.) James Cameron the CEO of Mission Motorsport, Tom Long the Mazda prototype and Le Mans star, and team boss and team principal Chad McCumbee. The Global MX-5 Cup car was leading the race outright by the time that night fell, running strongly through the dark hours, allowing Liam to chalk up more than five hours of hard racing on a challenging and exciting road circuit. The retirement of the car as the sun rose through mechanical failure of a component not shared by the spare car was a cruel blow – denying the team the trophy so richly deserved. The real goal, however had been emphatically achieved. Liam’s comeback was emphatic, and the 10 beneficiaries each took great strides in their personal recovery journeys. Bonds had been formed, confidence restored, networks extended, inspiration given. Things move fast. Two serving military members will return to VIR this weekend to take up their roles on IMSA professional teams.
Staff Sgt (rtd) Liam Dwyer makes emphatic return to racing after major surgery

Staff Sgt (Ret.) Liam Dwyer US Marines “I was honored to join fellow veterans working on the car that I was driving returning after my operation. Operation Motorsport is about helping veterans and service members – seeing the beneficiaries working on the car I could see the difference that OpMo is making to these guys. They are saving lives, one race at a time.”

“What a great opportunity it was for all of us at Mazda Motorsports to be part of this great event at VIR. Liam has been a critical part of our strategy and a key member of the Mazda Motorsports family for many years and to be able to witness his Challenger Spirit first hand is nothing short of remarkable” said John Doonan, Director, Mazda Motorsports, “We are glad he was able to get back in the race car as we have big plans for him going forward. All the team members did a fantastic job, leading the race overall for many hours, and showed that the Global MX-5 Cup car is a competitive package in so many different categories of competition. A special thanks to everyone who worked so hard to make it all come together and an extra special thanks to BFGoodrich Tires for their continued partnership on the Global MX-5 Cup platform.”
"What an honor it was to be teamed back up with Liam Dwyer, and this time with the addition of Operation Motorsport” said Tom Long, “I was absolutely touched by the dedication and drive this organization has in helping Veterans. To be working alongside these talented Vets gave the event purpose an even deeper meaning. I am grateful for what Operation Motorsport stands for, and so pleased we were able to give them the ontrack performance they deserved."
Joint US / CA / UK team of veterans and serving military filled motor sport team roles as part of Op Motorsport’s ‘ENGAGE’ program

2nd Lieutenant (Ret.) Theo Bruulsema Royal Canadian Air Force left service on the day before the race. He’d made a 13 hour drive to join the team: “I was made so welcome by the teams, and by the other veterans of three nations. Being medically retired is an emotional experience – but I’ve been lifted by having time to share with many of the Operation Motorsport team. We’ve built an incredible spirit of camaraderie, but it is also opening my eyes to possibilities as I’m beginning a new life as a civilian after my service”
Master Corporal Chris Anderson Canadian Special Forces is on his third Operation Motorsport ‘Engage’ event. He’s lit up by his weekend: “My first 24h hour race – and I really felt that I was integral to the team. As the day turned into night I knew that if I didn’t do my part and shoulder the load the team would falter. You don’t tire when you are part of a team and I was surprised at how naturally we all found our places within the professional teams. As some of the pros were also ex-military we had a common language, we really bonded and I got to do a whole season’s worth of pit stops in one weekend!”
Further recovery opportunities provided by the two car TWOth Autosport’s sister entry enabled 10 beneficiaries to participate

Tiffany Lodder, Executive Director of Operation Motorsport reflects: “Mazda Motorsport and Chad McCumbee Racing along with Tom Long Racing has shown us the quickness and rapid action that a high level professional team can take when called into action, extremely similar to what happens within military operations. Knowing that Chad received the call just fourteen days prior to the event happening, and with ease and care that he provided for the entire event, I think I’m still in awe. Thankful is often thrown around carelessly. Not this time, not from us. TWOth Autosport has also been instrumental in our growth from the perspective of hands on learning and teaching from a professional stand point. Without Travis and Trevor Hill believing and supporting in the mission of OpMo, we would not have three beneficiaries at the level they’re at, and we wouldn’t have the opportunities for growth within our own country. TWOth recognizes the recovery that motorsports provides, and works with their clients to help educate and expand our network. We are incredibly grateful to them.”

Chad McCumbee, Team Principal said “On behalf of McCumbee McAleer Racing we were honored to be a part of the 24 hour event with Operation Motorsport. The team building, camaraderie and opportunities we created, along with a strong performance on track, made it a great event”
Joint US / CA / UK team of veterans and serving military filled motor sport team roles as part of Op Motorsport’s ‘ENGAGE’ program

James Cameron, CEO of Mission Motorsport, the British Forces’ Motorsport Charity said “This has been an incredible weekend. Mazda UK were instrumental in creating the opportunities that led to the formation of Mission Motorsport back in 2012, and in turn inspired the founders of Operation Motorsport when they attended the Race of Remembrance back in 2016. It is fitting that our transatlantic sister charity enjoys such strong support from Mazda Motorsports North America to present not just life affirming, but genuinely life changing opportunities for veterans and serving military whose lives have forever been impacted by their Service.”
Meet the Team
About 2nd Lieutentant Theo Bruulsema - 2Lt Bruulsema enrolled in the Canadian Armed Forces ROTP program in 2011 and attended Ryerson University, where he developed an interest in motorsports on the university Formula SAE team. After graduating, he was posted to 8 Wing Trenton, Ontario and completed some of the training to be an Aerospace Control Officer until medical issues prevented further progression. While awaiting a release decision, he has been attached to 8 Wing Operations and the Aerospace and Telecommunications Engineering Support Squadron (ATESS) . Theo is pending a medical release in August.
About Specialist Hairam Rivera - Nodal Network Systems Operator (25N) with 4 yrs and 4 months service. He served on one tour in Iraq. He was assigned as Battalion Command Sergeant Majors driver. His mission was maintaining his command team communications equipment, computers and vehicles ready to go at all times. During an Airborne Operation Specialist Rivera experienced severe twists on his suspension lines and subsequently had a hard fall. This caused him a TBI, loss of speech and movement issues. He is in the process of being medically retired.
About Corporal Mark Spiteri (Retired) - Enlisted in the Canadian Armed Forces in 1990 as an Infantry soldier and served in two Infantry Regiments, including 2 Commando, Canadian Airborne Regiment. Mark then transfered to the Royal Canadian Air Force as an Avionics Technician, where he was attached to an operational unit working on Sea King helicopters. His primary duties included maintaining the electronic and electrical equipment in the helicopter for operational readiness, as well as launching the aircraft. He was released from the Canadian Forces in 2010 with an operational stress injury (PTSD) suffered while with the Airborne.
About Staff Sergeant (Retired) Renee Wilson -  Broadcast Journalist (46R) with 17 yrs of service. Enlisted in the United States Army in 2000. Attended basic training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina in March 2001. Deployed in 2003 in Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom with the 2nd Battalion, 20th Field Artillery as a Multiple Launch Rocket System Repairer. Her second deployment was back to Iraq in 2007, in support of the operation, "The Surge." After returning from her second deployment Staff Sgt. Wilson changed her career path to 46R Broadcast Journalist. She soon deployed again to Mosul, Iraq in support of Operation New Dawn in 2010 with the 4th Brigade Combat Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division. Upon her return from Operation New Dawn. Wilson moved to Vicenza, Italy where she worked as a broadcast specialist and video editor for the United States Army Africa, also known as the Southern European Task Force. During her tenure with USARAF, she traveled to the continent of Africa capturing video and photo coverage of international partners working together to achieve strategic goals. Staff Sgt Wilson was then reassigned to Fort Bragg, North Carolina 10th Press Camp Headquarters where she supported United States Army Europe Atlantic Resolve. Documenting U.S. Soldiers working alongside NATO allies and partners throughout Europe. Staff Sergeant Wilson returned to Fort Bragg and was reassigned to the 22nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment in 2016. Staff Sergeant Wilson medically retired April 22, 2018.
About TWOth Autosport - With a home base at Calabogie Motorsports Park, TWOth is only steps away from one of North America’s most technical race tracks. The perfect location, paired with valuable experience and strong industry partnerships, allow the Hill brothers to manage every aspect of the motorsport experience, giving them the logical tagline: Develop, Build, Support, Drive. Visit: http://travishillracing.com/twoth-autosport/
About McCumbee McAleer Racing - Formed in 2015 by race car drivers and motorsports professional Chad McCumbee and Stevan McAleer. McCumbee McAleer is a top performing race team located in Supply, North Carolina. Chad and Stevan won the 2015 IMSA Continental Tire Challenge Series ST Championship together as co-drivers and have brought that chemistry to their own race team competing in the Battery Tender Global MX-5 Cup Series. McCumbee McAleer racing has earned the team of the year award for 3 consecutive seasons along with collecting many race wins, and Overall Driver’s Championship and Driver Rookie of the Year.

About VIRginia International Raceway - Stadium, Arena & Sports Venue · Alton, Virginia VIR is America's Motorsport Resort. Located between Danville and South Boston, Virginia, the track opened in 1957 and closed in 1974. Reopened in 2000, it is one of America's finest and most beautiful natural terrain road courses. www.virnow.com
About the USO of NC - The USO of North Carolina strengthens America’s military service members by keeping them connected to family, home and country, throughout their service to the nation. Founded in 1941, the USO of NC is a non profit, charitable organization, relying on the generosity of North Carolinians to support its programs and services. The USO of NC serves the fourth largest military population in the U.S., touching nearly 600,000 lives annually, helping our service members and their families through education, wellness, transition assistance and resiliency programs across the state. Visit https://uso-nc.org/donate-now/ .
About Mission Motorsport UK - Mission Motorsport is run by veterans, serving officers and motorsport professionals. We are appointed as the Combined Services’ official providers of adaptive motorsport, seeking wherever possible to merge the activities of the disabled and those in need with able bodied servicemen and women. Appointed by the British Army Motorsport Association, and operating in direct support of the Defence Recovery Capability, Mission Motorsport provides respite, rehabilitation, vocational support and training to those affected by military operations within the framework of Motorsport. http://www.missionmotorsport.org/
About Operation Motorsport - Operation Motorsport is a veteran-operated not-for-profit based in Brighton, Ontario and was founded on the basis of three simple words – Excite, Engage and Empower. Its mission is to engage, through motorsport activities, ill and injured service members and disabled veterans, affected by military service, leading to aiding in their recovery and rehabilitation. Visit: http://operationmotorsport.org/