The regional selections for the Land Rover G4 Challenge are well under way, and in a few months, only two will be left standing to represent South Africa on the international adventure. For this Challenge, Land Rover has supplied the Discovery 3 and the Range Rover Sport.
By Kelly Lodewyks
The regional selection is a four part, three day-two night event, and I was lucky enough to be able to follow one group through the selection process in the Karoo. It is no easy feat. The contestants’ physical fitness is seriously put to the test. The selection process is made up of a series of challenges that range from a gruelling run through Prince Albert, mountain biking through the Karoo, kayaking, abseiling, onrienteering, off-road driving in the Land Rover Discos, and much more!
For the off-road part, a small course was set up in the Karoo. Contestants were judged on their knowledge of the Discovery (or any similar off-road vehicle), their ability to drive through the course with as much ease as possible, and if they had any previous off road experience.
An unofficial addition to the list of tasks was keeping clear of a group of “psychopathic” ostriches. As described by Land Rover South Africa’s General Manager of Marketing and Sales, Roland Reid, the camp was “filled with aggressive male ostriches in full mating plumage.”
The birds kept hassling the contestants and at one point a contestant got kicked of their bike! But determined to not let the bird get in their way, they got right back up again, and carried on. Eventually contestants had to carry a tall pole and flag with which to frighten them off. Some people thought that venturing into the water would out the birds off, but no. It chased them right into the dam! But the competitors had a good attitude about the whole thing, and showed that not even being chased by giant birds could deter them.
At the end of each regional selection process, one man and one woman are chosen to go through to the national selection in Lesotho next month. The fourth, and last, regional selection is still under way, but so far the following people, chosen by Land Rover South Africa, have made it through to Lesotho: Richard Kolbe, Abbey Mediema, Tatum Prins, Jeannie Bomford, Jan Schutte and Andre Gie. These contestants along with a few wild card selections, will all compete to be part of the two-person team that goes through to the international event in Mongolia next year.
The Land Rover Discovery 3 is available in six petrol and diesel models. Power output ranges from 140 kW with 440 N.m torque under the bonnet of the diesel variants to 220 kW with 425 N.m in the petrol variants. The media vehicle, the Range Rover Sport, is available in three models. The entry-level V8 petrol unit delivers 220 kW at 5 500 r/min and 425 N.m at 4 000 r/min. The 200 kW V8 turbo diesel delivers 640 N.m at 2 000 r/min. Prices for the Discovery start at R495 000, while the cheapest Range Rover Sport carries a price tag of R765 000.
Both vehicles make an appearance in the SUV Guide – “best and worst buys” – in the October issue of CAR Magazine.