Land Rover G4 Challenge: International Selections

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And our South African representative is…

Today, the final day of the 2006 Land Rover G4 International Selections, has been much anticipated by each of the 54 candidates. They have spent 5-days on the Eastnor Estate, near Ledbury, in sub-zero temperatures, undergoing skills training and assessments.

The International Selections are geared towards preparing each candidate for the Land Rover G4 Challenge and to selecting one representative from each of the 18 competing nations. This afternoon the finalists were announced, naming Martin Dreyer as our South African representative.

He’ll go through to the Land Rover G4 Challenge which commencesin April this year. Here, he will compete against 17 other participants in what is, undoubtedly, The Ultimate Global Adventure.

When Richard Kolbe dislocated his left shoulder  last  Wednesday night, 3-days into this event, the selectors’ focus shifted to assessing only Martin and Marijke Nel.  Both strongcompetitors, their point tally was not far apart, making South Africa one of the most difficult countries to judge. But,  ultimately, only one candidate could be chosen.

“This is something I just wouldn’t have expected … to be here at G4,” said Martin after the post-announcement celebrations. “I now have to focus on the main challenge.”

Although Martin is a strong and capable all-round contender, he has to eliminate his weaknesses in preparation for the Challenge. “I’ve identified huge limitations in my abilities through the testing process here. Over the next three months, I will need to focus on strengthening my skills in initiative, navigation and strategic tasks. I’m an endurance athlete and these are the chinks in my armour.”

Our South Africans have had an incredible camaraderie this week, working together, assisting each other and yet still remaining individually competitive. Marijke is indeed an exceptional athlete, who performed consistently well in all the physical, driving and initiative tasks.

“Yes I’m disappointed, but I’m also just so happy for Martin,” she said after the announcement. “He has two months to prepare and I know that he can win the Challenge for us.”

Dewald van Bergen, Brand Manager for Land Rover South Africa, attended these Selections to observe our candidates in action. “What was so awesome about these guys  is that their approach was on a National basis. They worked together as a team, using their strengths to keep South Africa’s status at the top. This spirit remained from the start, right through to today.”

Dewald shares his observations of our candidates:

“In terms of  theindividuals: It really is so sad that Richard dislocated his shoulder and had to withdraw from the Selections. But, he is still young and he will be able to returnto compete in the next Selections.He’ll take home what he has learnt here and will excel in the future. Richard came into the Selections extremely well prepared. He looked at the tasks and disciplines very scientifically, which was integral to his initial success.

“Marijke… she really excelled in the Selections. She is extremely committed and has always been a wonderful ambassador for our brand. She did so well and is most certainly, from a competitive point of view, one of the strongest women here. But, in terms of South Africa, she was up against our strong male candidates. She has an awesome personality and is extremely supportive of the men. Marijke’s participation here has been such a credit to our country.

“Martin… he is a top contender and I believe will do South Africa proud in the final event. What will count, in this month-long event, is his tenacity to hang in there.  His endurance background wll be to his advantage here so I’m extremely positive about Martin.

Speaking of his personal experience here at the Land Rover G4 International Selections Dewald said, “For me this is the first time that I have attended  aSelections. I felt so much a strong part of the team. The guys – and girl – have just taken me on board as part of their team. It was an honour to compete with them in the raft race this morning.”

Martin, Marijke and Richard return to South Africa on Sunday morning and after a few days of rest, Martin’s preparations begin for the Land Rover G4 Challenge.