A tired but happy Bruce Garland is now resting at his Sydney home after spending the last 24 hours travelling from Chile.

Forced out of the 2011 Dakar Rally by a fractured vertebra suffered during a heavy landing from a sand dune six days ago, Garland says he can feel the injury getting better by the day.

“Even after such a long day, it’s not too bad. It certainly doesn’t hurt as much when I get up and move around. But obviously I still have a way to go before I’m a hundred per cent fit again.”

The full medical report from the hospital in Iquique is now on its way to Garland’s brother, a doctor who conferred with the medicos in Chile when the Isuzu driver was first injured. He has an expert lined up ready to advise on the next stage of Garland’s rehabilitation.

Garland has paid tribute to Dakar officials for the expert care he has received, right from the moment he arrived in the event’s travelling medical centre. ASO organised everything, taking a huge load of worry from his family.

“I’ve had the best of care all the way through, and the staff at the hospital were fantastic. You just couldn’t fault the care. We need more nurses in Australia and the authorities should be trying to attract nurses from Chile – they were terrific.”

Garland was just one of many injured Dakar competitors in the hospital and shared a room with a Welsh bike rider. Perhaps not surprisingly, the nurses referred to that section of the ward as ‘the naughty boys room’!

The Garland family wishes to thank everyone who reached out to them over the last week, with messages and phone calls. The support has really helped lift their spirits during a very tough time.
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