A TEAM of North Yorkshire rowers battling to cross the Atlantic in one of the most gruelling races in the world are within 500 miles of the finish and fighting for fourth place.

Desperate to clinch that prized fourth place the Row4Victory team have swapped to three rowers constantly on the oars during daylight hours, while one rests, and two at night on a two hour rota as they drive through extreme physical fatigue 24 hours a day.

They’re due to reach English Harbour in Antigua and the finish on January 21 which is 3,000 miles from La Gomera in the Canaries where they set off from over a month ago on December 12.

The team: Duncan Roy, former Royal Engineer from Ingleby Arncliffe, Northallerton; Fraser Mowlem, serving Chief Technician in the Royal Air Force from Linton-On-Ouse; Glyn Sadler, former Royal Marine from Borrowby, Thirsk and Will Quarmby, a landscape gardener from Ripon all have military connections and are raising money for charities Soldier On and the Royal British Legion

Will Quarmby said: "With less than 500 miles left to go we dare to visualize Antigua and the finish line of the Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge.

“Arriving in the harbour will make four Yorkshire men very proud after rowing relentlessly around the clock for 40 days in an eight-meter rowing boat. With sleep deprivation, sores, injuries, and ration packs, seeing our much-missed loved ones will be a welcome treat.

“Arriving in Antigua will be special but not as special as getting back to God’s Own County. The amazing support we have received from all our friends, families and sponsors has been incredible. We would not have been able to make it to the start line were it not for everyone getting behind us and allowing us to raise as much as possible for our two chosen charities, The Royal British Legion and Solider On.

"It is relentless but with the world watching and the support behind us we are all giving every day, shift and stroke on the oars 100 per cent effort. We’re always all so fatigued, often sweltering in the midday sun and hungry too. This leads to the simplest of tasks being surprisingly complicated.

"Take working out a new shift rotation and who is on when, who is resting or how far we have rowed in the last shift, day or week out here it’s like being in an ‘A’ Level maths test."

Only 40 nautical miles separate the three teams vying for fourth place, Will Quarmby said they overtook the Atlantic Discovery team which they’ve been racing night and day and are now closing in on the South African MAD 4 Waves team for that fourth position and are on target to at least finish within the first five.

Sir Gary Verity, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire which has been backing the team, said: "It’s fantastic that Row4Victory are due to finish in the top five of 27 teams after facing so many challenges along the way. They’ve showed true Yorkshire grit and determination and are in a great position to possibly even finish in the top four, which would be an amazing feat. The whole county is behind them on this final stretch of the race."