ALL-NEW FORD RANGER PROVIDES ESSENTIAL OFF-ROAD DRIVING EXPERIENCE FOR NSRI VOLUNTEERS
PORT ELIZABETH, South Africa, 15 February 2012 – The South African-built All-New Ford Ranger has played an essential role in the 4×4 driver training for volunteer members of the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) inPort Elizabeth.
The recent course, hosted by the Adventure 4×4 Academy, was held at the Brakkeduine 4×4 Sand Trail near Humansdorp, and enabled the team of volunteers to gain vital off-road driving experience that is crucial to their sea and coastal rescue operations.
“Before the beach driving ban came into force in 2001, our NSRI volunteers were able to do regular and ongoing 4×4 training in the thick sand that dominates our coastline,” explains Ian Gray, station commander of the NSRI inPort Elizabeth.
“But the restriction has resulted in the need for more intensive sand driving instruction in a dedicated facility like Brakkeduine to ensure our members are adequately equipped to tackle the dune fields we often encounter during rescues.
According to Gray, as a volunteer organisation the NSRI relies largely on donations and the support from corporate sponsors in order to provide an effective and essential community service.
“We really appreciate the support from Ford Motor Company and Eastern Cape Motors in providing the two Rangers for the weekend of rigorous 4×4 training. It has given our volunteers, some of whom had never driven on sand before, the confidence, experience and skill to tackle these difficult conditions.”
The training centred on the basics of sand driving in the wide open dunes, as well as more challenging sections carved through thick bush – and this was tackled both in the day and late into the night.
The volunteers were also put through the mill of search and rescue tasks, simulating the real-life challenges faced by these dedicated individuals.
Based on feedback from Gray and the rest of the team, the 3,2-litre five-cylinder Ranger 4×4 truly excelled in the conditions.
“The Ranger was very impressive. It conquered everything we threw it at with ease, even taking the novices to areas that were inaccessible in other 4x4s.
“The low-down torque of the engine was superb, particularly in the thick sand where momentum is everything. It was also extremely comfortable and spacious, while the sure-footed confidence of the Electronic Stability Programme was invaluable, particularly on the faster gravel sections.”