Tak­ing stam­ina to the lim­its

Sowetan - - Motoring -

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

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