2500KM AFRICAN ODYSSEY: The 2014 Ranger Odyssey from September 7 – 19 will see contestants take on an epic 2500km journey in Namibia. Image: Ford
PRETORIA, South Africa – On August 22 Wheels24 reported that 40 contestants from 8241 applicants would participate in a gruelling three-day Boot Camp ahead of the 2014 South African Ford Ranger Odyssey.
Three days and two nights of intense training and evaluation have determined the 17 finalists for the epic 12-day, 2500km, journey in Namibia from September 7 2014.
The 40 contestants arrived at De Rust, Ford's 4x4 training centre at Hartbeespoort Dam on August 22 after being chosen from more than 8000 online entries and more than 1600 candidates that completed the final phase of the entry process.
RANGER BOOT CAMP
Participants were given theoretical training on 4x4 driving and vehicle recovery followed by their first outings in 10 Ford Ranger 3.2 XLT Double Cab 4x4s (auto) on steep 25 and 33-degree gradients.
Day 2 had participants take on a series of challenging obstacles that required a high level of team-work.
IMAGE GALLERY: 2014 Range Odyssey Boot Camp
VIDEO: 2014 Ford Ranger Odyssey finalists named
According to Ford: “Undoubtedly the most arduous task of all for the off-road novices was the teeth-clenching 4x4 trail that often had the Ford Ranger straddling deep dongas with just two wheels touching the ground.”
In line with the tough 2500km route in Namibia’s rugged Kaokoland, vehicle maintenance and preparation also formed a crucial part of the Boot Camp training. Aside from regular vehicle checks, the contestants were tasked with preparing the fleet of Odyssey Rangers for the expedition.
'THEY SHOWED TENACITY'
On third and final day (August 24) contestants braved sub-zero temperatures and focused on the final assessments and scoring by the judges. The panel included three contestants from the 2013 Ranger Odyssey.
Gavin Golightly, Ford SA's marketing manager, said: "The Ranger Odyssey is bigger, better and much tougher than the previous year yet the 40 high-calibre Boot Camp contestants impressed us throughout the weekend. They showed tenacity and enthusiasm under even the most challenging conditions and it was an exceptionally tough task for the panel to choose the 17 finalists."
The 2014 Ranger Odyssey will include three contestants from sub-Saharan Africa,one each from Angola, Nigeria and Mozambique. Golightly explained: "We have a superb group of 20 diverse and enthusiastic individuals been chosen based on merit, and embody the true spirit of the Odyssey.
"They will be showing off the exceptional yet entirely accessible performance of the ‘Built Ford Tough’ Ranger in some of Africa's harshest and most extreme terrain over 12 days and 2500km."
HEADED FOR NAMIBIA
The 2014 Ranger Odyssey will run from September 7-19. Route highlights will include the notoriously difficult Van Zyl's Pass, Epupa Falls and the Purros Loop, famous for its desert lions and elephants.
The finalists will be randomly paired in teams of two and each member of the winning team will get to drive an Odyssey Ranger for a year, along with a fuel allowance of R5000 per month.
For more information visit Ford’s Ranger Odyssey website and follow the contestants on Facebook and Twitter (#RangerOdyssey).
The Ranger Odyssey 2014 finalists are:
Justine Meyer (25), Uitenhage
Linda Khanye (26), Soweto
Lindie Burger (37), Vereeniging
Mark McIntyre (31), Pretoria
Seipei Mashugane (36), Benoni
Shaun Corlett (36), Rivonia
Simo Gumede (31), Johannesburg
Sarah Jo Gengiah (21), Durban
Gladston Mfikwe (43), Pretoria
Chantal Burger (27), Bela Bela
Ian Chamberlain (28), Mossel Bay
Zaheer Seedat (40), Durban
Janelle De Beer (24), Pretoria
Christopher Sadler (30), Durban
Johan Retters (41), Polokwane
Garron Ockhuis (30), Tableview
Olivia Ness (34), Durbanville
Lwana Lopes (27), Mozambique
Okezuo Chinonso (28), Nigeria
Anastacio Ferreira Pena (22), Angola