PRINCE ALBERT, 17 SEPTEMBER 2008: Husband and wife Ian and Susan Don-Wauchope made history today when they became the first married couple to qualify for National Selections in the search for South Africa’s two-person team for the Land Rover G4 Challenge.
They’ll meet Tatum Prins, Abbey Mediema, Jeannie Bomford, Jan Schutte, Andre Gie and Richard Kolbe as well as the top eight runners-up and four wild cards (selected by Land Rover South Africa) in Lesotho next month.
Runners-up in this last rotation of the Regional Selections were Jennifer Soutar, Christine Woods, Jeremy Green and Craig Carter-Brown.
“At the National Selections we will be looking for two men and two women to go forward to the International Selections in England next year, when one South African man and one South African woman will be chosen to participate in the Challenge itself,” said Land Rover South Africa’s General Manager of Marketing and Sales, Roland Reid.
As the Don-Wauchopes (the ‘ch’ is pronounced as it is in the Scottish ‘loch’) were married only four months ago and her new identity documents have not yet been issued. Susan went into the Regional Selections under her maiden name – Erskine.
“Making it into the Nationals is an incredible achievement by any standards,” said Mark Collins of Magnetic South, the company managing the Selections on behalf of Land Rover South Africa.
“The Land Rover G4 Challenge is the greatest adventure race in the world, and it attracts the top multi-sports athletes – so you can image how tough and unforgiving the competition was amongst the 120 candidates in the Regionals.
“Scoring was particularly difficult in the fourth rotation as the main contenders ran neck-and-neck all the way: but both Ian and Susan stood out in the end, and it’s a wonderful coincidence that they just happen to be married.”
In fact, South Africa’s Martin Dreyer, the current Land Rover G4 Challenge world title holder, said that “this was a very romantic result because Mark and Belen and John and Christine Collins of Magnetic South were also Land Rover G4 Challenge finalists – and both brothers met their wives on the Land Rover G4 Challenge.”
He said that Sue and Ian had it in them to make it all the way through but that they should expect enormous pressure if they do.
“The Challenge is an individual event, but it is also adventure racing so teamwork is vitally important, too – so imagine what it will be like for a husband and wife to race with each other and against each other at exactly the same time!”
Roland Reid commented on the professional way in which Magnetic South had managed the Regional Selections and said that National Selections could be expected to be similarly impressive.
“Contestants should know that we are looking for people with as much athletic ability as strategic thinking skills – so everyone who makes it into the squad will have to up their game.
“But having seen the quality of the athletes who’ve come through so far, we’re confident that South Africa will be fielding a winning team when the Land Rover G4 Challenge gets going in Mongolia next year,” he said.
More information at www.landroverg4challenge.com. A South African supporters group – “Land Rover G4 Selections South Africa” – has been created on Facebook.