Off-roading may take you to some unique places, but rarely does it lead you across multiple continents. Yet that's exactly what two off-road aficionados will be doing from Oct. 4 to 14, when a driving duo will attempt to make their way from England to South Africa in record time.
The latest off-road driving challenge involves two British drivers trekking from London, England, all the way down to Cape Town, South Africa. That's a total of 10,000 miles - and the team wants to finish the trip in 10 days.
To achieve that goal, the endurance rally drivers, Robert Belcher and Stephen Cooper, will be getting behind the wheel of a 2005 Land Rover LR3. Some many be surprised by their choice of off-road vehicle, as the LR3 doesn't have a strong history of reliability. However, the duo believe it is the right automobile to handle all of the unknowns they will face as they make their way through 13 different countries.
"Despite continuing improvements in Africa's transport infrastructure, there are still countless issues that could arise on this journey," said Belcher. "... Not to mention if we have car problems then our attempt could be quickly scuppered. Having said that, we're full of the spirit of adventure, we're well prepared and are both very much looking forward to the challenge. This is an ambitious record to aim for, but we have every reason to believe we can achieve it."
The pair are taking on the challenge for a good cause: They are raising money and awareness for Farm Africa, an organization that fights poverty and hunger across the continent.
This isn't the first time someone has attempted to drive from London to Cape Town. In fact, the history of the route can be traced back to the early 1900s. In 1907, the first over-land attempt to cross Africa was conducted, but the first completed ride across the Sahara was not successfully done until 1924.
Then things started picking up. In 1933, a Morris Eight Convertible drove from London to Cape Town - in five months. That vehicle needed 15 gallons of oil to make it to the finish line. Journeys got a bit faster by 1963, when the British Army completed the drive in just under 14 days with the help of a four-wheel drive Range Rover. Similar time was made in 1983 by another Range Rover V8 during a reverse trip from Cape Town to London.
A new record was set in 2011, when two drivers in a Land Rover Discovery completed the trip in 11 days. Even more history was made earlier this year. Tony Fawkes Automobiles used a Fiat Panda and managed to complete the drive in 10 days, 13 hours and 28 minutes. Now, the British duo of Belcher and Cooper will try to outdo them all.
London to Cape Town
Driving from London to Cape Town presents a unique set of challenges. As such, the pair of drivers had to outfit the 2005 Land Rover LR3 with a few modifications to make it better suited for off-road driving. It received armor for the undercarriage to protect the weak points, as well as off-road tires and extra fuel tanks. Those will help make the most of the 2.7-liter, turbodiesel V-6 engine. Boasting a 1,200-mile range, the motor is more than capable of reaching the finish line - provided everything else functions as it is supposed to. To ensure the drivers do their part and stay awake, the top of the Land Rover has four high-intensity auxiliary lamps to light the way.