Ford’s ul­ti­mate odyssey

20 contestants from around Africa will nav­i­gate through Namibia on a 12-day ex­pe­di­tion

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING -

DUR­BAN on Mon­day hosts the KZN launch of the third edi­tion of the Ranger Odyssey, seen by thou­sands of hope­ful com­peti­tors who en­tered the pre­vi­ous edi­tions as the ul­ti­mate road trip in south­ern Africa.

The third edi­tion of the an­nual Ranger Odyssey will see a to­tal of 20 contestants from around Africa nav­i­gat­ing through the ex­tremely chal­leng­ing north­west­ern re­gion of Namibia on a 12-day ex­pe­di­tion that will push each per­son to the limit.

Tracey De­late, gen­eral mar­ket­ing manager, Ford Mo­tor Com­pany of South­ern Africa (FMCSA) said while the life-chang­ing odyssey is an ex­cep­tional prize in it­self, there’s also the al­lure of the grand prize which in­cludes the use of an Odyssey-spec Ranger for a year, along with R5 000 worth of fuel per month.

The first Ranger Odyssey in 2012 had around 700 en­tries, while last year more than 8 000 peo­ple reg­is­tered for the com­pe­ti­tion. The 2015 edi­tion will be more com­pet­i­tive, with an in­di­vid­ual-based com­pe­ti­tion with an even stronger fo­cus on points-scor­ing spe­cial chal­lenges that will ul­ti­mately de­ter­mine the over­all win­ner.

De Late said it’s not all about sheer brawn, how­ever, as there’s an equal split be­tween men­tal and phys­i­cal tasks, over­all en­durance in Namibia’s un­for­giv­ing en­vi­ron­ment will re­main key.

Peo­ple who want to par­tic­i­pate must reg­is­ter on­line at www.rangerodyssey.com by May 24 for South Africa and neigh­bour­ing coun­tries, and May 15 for An­gola, Nige­ria, Mozam­bique and Ivory Coast.

The ap­pli­ca­tion re­quires sub­mit­ting a short per­sonal bi­og­ra­phy, fol­lowed up with a “selfie” pho­to­graph taken with an Odyssey-branded Ranger at any Ford deal­er­ship.

A se­lec­tion com­mit­tee will then re­view the ap­pli­ca­tions and nar­row the se­lec­tion down to 40 semi-fi­nal­ists se­lected from South Africa, Mozam­bique, An­gola, Nige­ria and Ivory Coast, who will be cho­sen to at­tend a four-day Boot Camp in the Ka­roo from June 18 to 21.

The in­ten­sive train­ing and eval­u­a­tion pro­gramme will de­ter­mine who is tough enough for the 12-day Namib­ian adventure. Just 20 fi­nal­ists will ul­ti­mately be cho­sen for the life-chang­ing ex­pe­di­tion which takes place from July 23 to Au­gust 3.

Through­out the Ranger Odyssey in Namibia, the contestants will be scored each day on a wide va­ri­ety of as­pects, in­clud­ing of­froad driv­ing skills, com­mu­ni­ca­tion, ve­hi­cle and lo­ca­tion knowl­edge, as well as phys­i­cal and men­tal en­durance. There will also be sev­eral spe­cial tasks set up along the route to test the likes of ve­hi­cle re­cov­ery tech­niques and nav­i­ga­tion.

In a fresh new twist, the com­pe­ti­tion now in­cludes two elim­i­na­tion stages, where the two low­est-scor­ing contestants will leave the group on day four, fol­lowed by an­other four contestants on day 10.

The trip will once again fea­ture a com­mu­nity project which, this year, will ben­e­fit the Palmwag com­mu­nity that runs the lo­cal 4x4 con­ces­sion in the re­gion.

For those that don’t make it onto the Odyssey, along with fam­i­lies and friends of the Top 20 fi­nal­ists, there is an added bonus with the “Back Seat Driver” com­pe­ti­tion that runs on the Ranger Odyssey web­site.

The com­pe­ti­tion runs from April 30 to Au­gust 4.

For fur­ther in­for­ma­tion, go to www.rangerodyssey.com or fol­low @FordSouthAfrica on Twit­ter at #RangerOdyssey or on www.face­book.com/FordSouthAfrica. — Wheels Re­porter.

PHOTO: QUICPIC

Ford in­vites front and back seat driv­ers for the ul­ti­mate road trip in south­ern Africa in the 2015 Range Rover Odyssey.

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