This is the third running of the event, which will see 20 competitors from around Africa navigating through the extremely challenging north-western region of Namibia on a 12-day expedition that will push each person to the limit.
The new course for this year takes the contestants to the Damaraland region with the event starting at the Spitzkoppe through Palmwag, into Khuwariband, the barren and then the Desolation Trail that follows the Huab River to Desolation Valley.
The vehicles will be tackling what is known as extreme off-roading that includes desert plains, soft river beds and punishing rock trails, all the while providing beautiful scenery. This includes a crater in Palmwag that is a UNESCO heritage site, along with Brandberg, Namibia’s highest mountain at over 2 600 metres.
The prize for all of this effort is an Odyssey-spec Ranger for a year, along with R5 000 worth of fuel per month. It’s no surprise then to hear that last year, more than 8 000 people registered for the competition.
The 2015 edition returns to an individual-based competition with an even stronger focus on points-scoring special challenges that will ultimately determine the overall winner. 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 process begins with the call-to-entry, and those interested in participating are required to register online at www.rangerodyssey.com by the closing date of 24th May for South Africa and neighbouring countries, and 15th May 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.
Dealer events are also planned during May that will give aspirant adventurers further opportunities to enter. The Cape Town event takes place on 2nd May, followed by Durban on the 10th and Johannesburg on the 16th. For more information visit www.RangerOdyssey.com
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 the Ivory Coast, who will be chosen to attend a four-day Boot Camp in the Karoo from the 18th to the 21st June.
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 the 23rd July to the 3rd August.
The competition runs from 30th April to the 4th August and participants are required to register on the Site, interact by viewing the content – including the daily blogs, photographs and videos – and book a test drive from 18th June. Each interaction scores points and the more times you visit the Site the better the chances are of winning.
There are a total of 16 prizes, a selection of which is awarded every three days, based on the highest scores as listed on the Backseat Driver leader board, which is refreshed after each three-day period. Entrants can only win one of the interim prizes, which include four pairs of Oakley sunglasses valued at over R2 000 each, a Garmin Virb Elite Action Camera (R5 000) and 11 Garmin Nüvi GPS units (R1 600 each).
All entrants qualify for the grand prize – a Garmin Montana GPS unit valued at R9 500 – which will be awarded to the person who scores the highest points over the entire competition period.