Former special forces soldier and friend of Prince Harry, Dean Stott has denied allegations of cheating on his successful record attempt at riding the length of South and North America.
Mr Stott, 41, broke the record for the fastest cycle journey of the Pan-American highway in May 2018. He broke the previous record by 17 days, completing the feat in just 99 days, 12 hours and 56 minutes.
Starting in Ushuaia, Argentina and finishing in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, USA, the record-breaking 14,000 mile ride also raised £1m for Prince Harry’s ‘Heads Together’ mental health charity.
On Sunday however, Mr Stott was accused of breaking the rules of the record attempt in a piece published by the Mail on Sunday. It was claimed by the paper that he had “used two bikes, one better suited to flat terrains and the other with lower gears to assist during hilly stages.”
The Mail on Sunday also claimed that Mr Stott used “fake papers” in order to move his support team quickly across borders. Mr Stott denies all the allegations.
Guiness World Record rules state that he would only be allowed to use one bike, however could change frames in case of unrepairable damage to his original bike.
Mr Stott hit back at the claims on Sunday, telling the Times that he believed the accusations were made by disgruntled former members of his support team, who claim they felt “exploited.”
A documentary film-crew were also following Mr Stott, with the Times saying that relations between them and the unpaid volunteers became so strained that the volunteers left in Mexico. Mr Stott also said he had to dismiss one of the volunteers for “unprofessional conduct” as the attempt reached Mexico.
“We were working for free and felt exploited as none of us were getting any media exposure. It was all about Dean,” one of the former support crew, medic Paul Lawrenson, is quoted as saying. The volunteers have now appointed a law firm to claim back unpaid expenses, which the Mail reports as totalling £120,000.
Mr Stott said that Guiness World Records have investigated the attempt and said “everything was OK”. He added that he didn’t understand why the allegations were being made.
“One of the ethoses of the special forces is integrity, and cheating is the worst thing for me,” Mr Stott told the Times.
“Guinness [World Records] did a full investigation of these claims and reviewed all the evidence and they have confirmed everything was OK.
“We paid for their accommodation, flights and expenses so I do not know what this is all about.
“The guidelines state that you can use only one frame but you can swap wheels and tyres, etc. You are allowed a second frame if your original one becomes damaged but I did not need mine. We replaced the handlebars once but that is all approved.”