Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Ultimate Challenge for Any Land Rover

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Ultimate Challenge for Any Land Rover

Article excerpt

The man in the driving seat was Belgian and a veteran of a decade of global expeditions.

The local rock station was playing Roger Daltrey and his band, The Who, singing songs from Quadrophenia.

Down in the valley lay the sprawling excesses of Las Vegas - the city where locals say anything is possible.

Out on the Interstate was a group of men and women proving the point in a convoy of 49 bright orange Land Rovers, lights ablaze.

It was a surreal spectacle that turned heads even in this place of razzle dazzle.

The G4 Challenge was on its way out of town to the wilderness of the canyonlands of southern Utah to play out the final stage in the greatest adventure on earth.

Sixteen competitors from different nations, cultures and creeds but with a common purpose - to put themselves and the legendary four wheel drive vehicles from Solihull to the ultimate test.

British representative Tim Pickering was nursing a leg injury and fatigue, worsened by constant shuttling through time zones, was starting to grip his 15 fellow competitors.

Each of the four different Land Rover models currently in production was used - a different one on each stage.

First was the Freelander which stopped the crowds at the start of the event in New York where Land Rover engineers built an off-road course in the heart of Broadway. Then came the Defender in South Africa followed by the Range Rover in Australia.

Now it was the turn of the Discovery to make its way through the rugged red sandstones of Nevada and Arizona on the way to the spectacular mesas of the Moab desert.

I was in the support vehicle following 39-year-old Pickering and his partner, French muscleman Franck Salgues. Pickering had slipped back from third place to tenth during the previous weeks' activities.

The outdoor pursuits expert, a former Worcester businessman who now lives on the Shetland Isles, knew his chances of winning the keys to a pounds 50,000 Range Rover - the prize for the G4 supremo - were almost non-existent.

But Salgues was lying second at the start of the final leg and had his sights set high. …

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