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Hiluxes win sprint to South Pole

2011-12-23 07:32

EASY DOES IT: The team had to carefully pick its way to the South Pole, negotiating crevasses “big enough to swallow all the cars” along the way.

A group of extreme adventurers chose to commemorate the centenary of the Amundsen-Scott race to the South Pole in fitting fashion – they “sprinted” to the frozen point in snow-ready Hiluxes in record time, nogal.

Using two Hilux AT44 6x6 and two Hilux AT44 4x4 vehicles originally built in Toyota South Africa's Prospecton plant in Durban in 2010 and thereafter converted to AT44 specification at the automaker’s Sandton workshops, a team from Extreme World Races (EWR) recently set a new world record for the fastest time taken to reach the South Pole.

The Hilux AT44 Expedition vehicles travelled at an average speed of 21.4 km/h following a route from the ice edge neat McMurdo South on the southern side of Antarctica, across the Ross Ice Shelf and on to the Antarctic plateau to reach their destination.

Their journey started on December 16 and the Pole was reached on December 18, 2011 – only 47 hours later, of which only 17.5 hours was spent driving.


This still unofficial record was set as part of a bigger expedition by the EWR team. They had set out to twice traverse the Antarctic continent from coast to coast and the first continental crossing was completed on December 14, precisely 100 years after Amundsen’s arrival at the South Pole.

The team’s second arrival at the South Pole (on 18 December) also meant they notched up another accolade – their expedition has driven the longest distance ever on Antarctica and also completed the longest traverse from coast to coast.

From Novolazarevskaya station (Novo) to McMurdo they covered almost 4 500 km and back to the South Pole another 1 350 km, a distance of 5 850 km in freezing snow and ice conditions and white-outs.

One team member remarked that the Hilux vehicles can carry 3-4 tons of equipment “and still float over the surface. They are a God sent!” he exclaimed.

The first record set by the Arctic Truck Hilux bakkies – and officially recognised by the Guinness Book of World Records – was already recorded in December 2010 when two of the vehicles crossed 2308km of the Antarctica High Plateau from Novo to the South Pole in 108 hours, or 4.5 days.

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