Taking stamina to the limits
Months of build-up, anticipation and finally the big day dawned for the four contestants selected to compete in the Toyota Fortuner 4x4 Challenge. The 4x4 Challenge entails four public participants (obtained through the four media partners; Highbury Media, Media 24, Primedia Broadcasting and Tiso Blackstar) teaming up with four celebrities (or heroes in “challenge” speak), who are then tasked to compete in pairs alongside their trusty Toyota Fortuner steeds in a range of tasks.
The 2018 event marked the third instalment, with the bar set higher than ever. The challenges this year really amped up the fitness-endurance-strength equation — the contestants were required to deliver maximum performance throughout, in order to claim the title and prize. With Garmin, Specialized and Reebok providing the necessary gear the stage was set.
Scorching conditions in Knysna added an additional factor to contend with. After the contestant-hero pairing took place by way of drawing Fortuner keys marked with the hero names, the teams were determined as follows; Brandon Hulley & Steffi van WykBrink, Dominique Leclerq & Giniel de Villiers, Danie Barnard & Mapule Ndhlovu and finally Jackie Moore & Ox Nché.
The first challenge consisted of a twoperson paddle from the Eastern Head, across the lagoon to Leisure Isle. Upon arrival on shore, the teams were required to complete a tyre-shuffle puzzle. The second task took place at the Pezula Hotel, where the contestants set off on a trail run with navigational instructions being provided by their Garmin Fenix 5 Plus Smartwatch. The rolling pathways of Pezula gave way to the sound of frenetic footsteps as teams sprinted in an attempt to complete the 4.8km run.
Day 2 was a major competition day with five tasks outlined. The day kicked off with the mercury high and adrenaline pumping, as the teams competed in the Fortuner Pull, which also required a supplementary task involving the vehicle. The sheer strength of hero Ox Nché made the Fortuner look like a featherweight, but a cool head and logical thinking had as much sway as brute strength.
The next task would be something a little different with each hero-challenger pair having to pick up state-of-the-art compound bows and aim for that elusive bullseye in the Archers’ Edge challenge hosted by the Knysna Outdoor Archery Circuit (KOAC).
The fifth challenge was the gruelling Specialized Epic Time Trial, where the contestants had to use their impressive Specialized mountain bikes to pedal up the gruelling Phantom Pass trail — in the shortest time possible. The heat and gradient took their toll on the challengers as this task left them redfaced and gasping for breath.
After a well-deserved lunch break, only two tasks remained: the Warrior obstacle course and Mountain Bike Eliminator. Unbelievably after five rounds, no clear winner had emerged and it was really still anyone’s game. After a testing obstacle course set up by the Warrior/Advendurance teams the pairs had to use their Garmin Fenix 5 Plus watches and supplied co-ordinates to find items which would help them construct a platform to cross a marsh pit.
The concluding round was the Mountain Bike sprint, where the heroes were tasked with jacking up their respective Fortuners and removing two ropes under opposing tyres, while the challengers had to complete as many laps on their bikes in a 15-minute period.
In the end Brandon Hulley (who entered via -947- and was teamed up with track hero Steffi Van Wyk-Brink) was crowned Fortuner 4x4 Challenge champion for 2018. Strong teamwork and support alongside Brandon’s incredible level of fitness ultimately earned the 19-year-old the keys to a brand new Toyota Fortuner 2.4 GD-6 4x4 6AT.
The three runners-up did not leave empty handed though, as all the contestants received a Specialised Epic Comp mountain bike and cycling gear, Garmin Fenix 5 Plus smartwatch and Reebok apparel to the value of over R60,000.
Toyota SA Motors thanks the following sponsors and partners who contributed to another hugely successful Fortuner 4x4 Challenge: Media Partners:
● Highbury Media, Media24, Primedia Broadcasting (947) and Tiso Blackstar Sponsors:
● Garmin, Specialized, Reebok and Pezula Hotel Heroes:
● Giniel de Villiers, Mapule Ndhlovu, Ox Nché and Steffi Van Wyk-Brink