Volk­swa­gen and Barons lend a help­ing hand to Unog­waja

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING -

VOLK­SWA­GEN Com­mer­cial Ve­hi­cles and one of its dealer fran­chises, Barons Volk­swa­gen (Di­vi­sion of Bar­loworld Group) will pro­vide six sup­port ve­hi­cles — four Amarok Dou­ble Cabs, a Trans­porter Crew Bus and Trans­porter Panel Van — for the 2015 Unog­waja Chal­lenge.

The Unog­waja Chal­lenge, now en­ter­ing its fifth year, will start on 21 May, 2015, in Cape Town and end in Pi­eter­mar­itzburg 10 days later. This year’s Chal­lenge has 11 lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional cy­clists rid­ing over 1 700 km and then run­ning the fa­mous 89 km Com­rades, the world’s old­est and largest ul­tra­ma­rathon from Dur­ban to Pi­eter­mar­itzburg on 31 May, 2015.

Ac­cord­ing to the found­ing mem­ber of Unog­waja, John McIn­roy, the in­spi­ra­tion to cy­cle over 1 700 km and then run 89 km ul­tra­ma­rathon is a trib­ute to Phil Master­ton-Smith, nick­named “Unog­waja” or “Hare” in Zulu. Phil, the youngest ever Com­rades win­ner, com­pleted this feat in 1933 when he could not af­ford the train fare to get to the start of the Com­rades.

“This demon­stra­tion of one man’s de­ter­mi­na­tion and com­mit­ment has in­spired a move­ment … to nour­ish hope and fa­cil­i­tate em­pow­er­ment in South Africa” said John.

On part­ner­ship with Volk­swa­gen Com­mer­cial Ve­hi­cles and Barons Volk­swa­gen, John said: “This is mas­sive for our jour­ney and could not have come at a bet­ter time. Not only do we have six top-class ve­hi­cles which will help us sig­nif­i­cantly on the road, but we have formed a mean­ing­ful part­ner­ship with one of the most for­ward-think­ing brands in our coun­try who be­lieve and sup­port our vi­sion. I could not be more ex­cited. The great­est way we can show our grat­i­tude to Volk­swa­gen and Barons is through pro­gress­ing the im­pact of our mission: to be the agents of hope and mean­ing­ful change in our beau­ti­ful coun­try.” Last year the Unog­waja Chal­lenge raised over R1,2 mil­lion for char­ity and this year have set the tar­get at an am­bi­tious R2 mil­lion. One of the main aims of the Chal­lenge is to raise funds for cho­sen char­i­ties.

Jaco Steenekamp, gen­eral manager: sales and mar­ket­ing of Volk­swa­gen Com­mer­cial Ve­hi­cles said, “The re­spon­si­bil­ity for pos­i­tive change lies with each and ev­ery one of us and it can only be re­alised through determined ac­tion in any way we can. Volk­swa­gen has al­ways been about peo­ple, and our com­mer­cial ve­hi­cles specif­i­cally are al­ways up for a tough chal­lenge so part­ner­ship with the Unog­waja Chal­lenge is a per­fect fit.”

Brett Row­lands, fran­chise ex­ec­u­tive at Bar­loworld Mo­tor Re­tail re­spon­si­ble for Barons in the West­ern Cape, mir­rors th­ese sen­ti­ments: “Barons prides it­self on be­ing ‘The Volk­swa­gen Peo­ple’ so this re­mark­able story res­onates with our com­pany val­ues. We are look­ing for­ward to sup­port­ing John and his team dur­ing this in­spi­ra­tional jour­ney and wish to en­able them to fo­cus their en­er­gies on their im­por­tant so­cial mission.”

PHOTO: QUICK­PIC

From left: John McIn­roy, found­ing mem­ber of Unog­waja Chal­lenge, Shar­lene Gra­ham, dealer prin­ci­pal at Barons Volk­swa­gen Tokai and Riyaaz Slarmie, sales manager at Barons Tokai.

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