INAUGRAL LANDY FESTIVAL DELIVERS THE BIGGEST CONVOY OF LAND ROVERS EVER
South Africa’s first ever Landy Festival was held at the Malonjeni Guest Farm near theVaalRiveron 3 and 4 March of 2012. A record-breaking 1001 Land Rover’s completed the 27km convoy beating the previous record by 653 vehicles.
While the event served to bring together Land Rover lovers and owners, its main aim was to set the world record for the most Land Rovers on parade. Most South African Land Rover owners will recall how in April of 2007 this record was set at 347 by a Kingsley Holgate-led convoy from Cape Point as he set off on his Afrika Outside Edge Expedition. In 2011, a Convoy For Heroes held in theUKbettered this record by just one Landy.
In the build up to the event a Pimp My Landy competition was held on the Landy Festival website. Every person who pre-registered for the world record attempt was automatically put into the draw to win R67 000 worth of Land Rover accessories, compliments of Front Runner. Ulrich Niehaus was drawn as the winner and had his Defender kitted out on the day.
“Nothing draws as much attention as people working. People just love to watch others work. So, we wanted to take someone’s virgin Land Rover and kit it out with absolutely everything”, explains Front Runner Sales Manager Wayne Coombe-Heath.
An incredible 850 people pre-registered for the event. They came from all parts ofSouthern Africain pre-arranged mini-convoys of friends and club members, in Land Rovers of every type and age.
They came from Cape Town, Kimberley, Durban, Bloemfontein and Postmasburg. There were Land Rovers from Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Swaziland and Namibia. There were hundreds upon hundreds of Land Rover owners all wanting to be a part of the first Landy Festival and potentially break a Guinness Book of World Records attempt.
The oldest Land Rover at the festival was a 1949 Series 1 owned by Rick Mason. This classic vehicle was used as a workhorse in the timber plantations of the Natal Midlands until Rick rescued and restored it. Festival goers were able to camp on the farm where they could exchange Land Rover stories around the campfire. Some eager Landy lovers had arrived a few days before the festival offering their assistance to the event organisers.
Owning a Land Rover requires a never ending process of tinkering and tailoring. To satisfy this need for Land Rover stuff one could browse through the Land Rover “Bush Mall” with shade provided courtesy of some blue gum trees. There was everything from Gabriel shocks to Melville and Moon seat covers to Land Rover Gear clothing. Several 4×4 accessory providers, such as 4×4 Mega World, Rafiki 4×4 and African Outback Group also had product on display.
The Gabriel Wings Aerobatic Team put on a breathtaking display on both days of the festival, with one of our country’s top pilots Scully Levin at the forefront of the team.
The convoy took place on Sunday. A holding area had been set aside and each Land Rover had to be officially signed into the area. Lawyers recorded the driver’s details as well as the vehicle. It was a timely process and by around 11am there were already 750 Land Rovers ready to rumble. This figure rose steadily and by the time event organiser and founder Craig Dutton gave his 1pm drivers briefing there were 1007 Land Rovers all lined up and ready to go.
At 2pm the convoy of 1007 Landys got underway. One of the vehicles did not start and so there were 1006 Land Rovers in the convoy. Three crashed into each other and a further two dropped out leaving 1001 in the convoy which stretched back for 27kms.
Getting the whole convoy around the course in a controlled and orderly fashion took the best part of two hours. Never before has there been a convoy of over a thousand Land Rovers on this planet. As for the record, organisers will now have to submit data, video and picture evidence to the Guinness Book of World Records to ratify the record. In the meantime Dutton has decided to not only apply for the record of Land Rovers on parade but also for the highest number of Land Rovers officially gathered and recorded. The reason for this is that before the convoy set off they had 1007 officially recorded Land Rovers in the holding area.
Land RoverSouth AfricaMarketing Director, Roland Reid, could not believe what he was seeing. “I am absolutely staggered by the number of people. You won’t see this number of Land Rover people and Land Rovers together again, unless of course we do it again next year.”
So while the wait has started to hear if the record was smashed Land Rover lovers from all overSouth Africaare still talking about this extraordinary gathering of like minded souls.