PRETORIA, South Africa — Four days of intense training and assessment have revealed the Top 10 finalists for the Ford Ranger Odyssey Africa 2013. The individuals come from a wide range of backgrounds, and have been selected based on their performance at the Ranger Odyssey Boot Camp, which was recently held in Johannesburg.
From hundreds of applications, 17 semi-finalists* were selected for the Boot Camp where they underwent a rigorous training programme that focussed on the essential aspects of 4x4 and convoy driving, camp set-up, team work and communication skills.
“Boot Camp put the diverse group of competitors through their paces on a wide range of challenges,” said Gavin Golightly, Ford Marketing Manager. “The level of enthusiasm and commitment throughout the four days of competition was truly exceptional, and we have to congratulate each of the brave semi-finalists for giving it everything throughout the selection process.”
Ultimately there’s only space for 10 finalists, and they were chosen based on a wide range of aspects, including their team dynamics, proficiency in the 4x4 tasks, technical knowledge and their approach towards social media, which is the primary communication channel throughout the 21-day Ranger Odyssey.
“Aside from showing off the remarkable capabilities of the Ford Ranger, we have emerged with a fantastic group of dynamic people that embody the spirit of the Ranger Odyssey. They are relishing the experience of a lifetime on this 8,000 km adventure through six African countries,” said Golightly.
Competitors from Gauteng dominate the list with six finalists. Alex Cruickshanks (28), from Randpark Ridge, is a management consultant by day, but clearly used his sporting ability as a multiple SA rowing champion to his advantage to secure his spot on the main event. “Driving through Africa has always been a dream of mine, and this is a great opportunity to live the dream” he said.
Bernard Hollander (21) is an industrial psychology student from Pretoria and exploited his youthful exuberance to full effect. “I’m here to win the awesome Ford Ranger, and to gain experience travelling through Africa,” he stated.
IT technician Richard Rammoneng (32) is passionate about off-roading. “Competing in the Ranger Odyssey will be a dream come true.”
Kugesh Reddy (30) is a banking professional from Sunninghill. “I’m looking forward to experiencing Africa, and the ultimate test of man and machine.”
As a commercial diver, Ryno Swart (30) from Roodepoort has physical endurance on his side. “I’m an adventure freak and I love being outdoors,” he said. “Aside from travelling through Africa, I have one goal and that is to win the awesome Ford Ranger.”
Wisaal Anderson (31) lives in Johannesburg and is a lifestyle blogger. “My aim is to have fun and experience new things,” she said. “I have a reputation as a pampered princess, and I hope to change that perception on the Ranger Odyssey.”
The Western Cape, and more specifically Cape Town, is represented by two women. Paula Smith (37) from Durbanville is an accountant and mother of three. “I’ve been dreaming about travelling through Africa since I was 12, and can’t wait to fulfil that dream.”
Dania Petrik (29) from Hout Bay has just completed her master’s degree on sustainable development, and had her first taste of Africa last year while doing research. “I absolutely loved the experience, and when I saw the Ranger Odyssey there wasn’t a chance that I would miss this amazing opportunity.”
The two remaining finalists are from KwaZulu-Natal. Donatella D’Aloisio (33) is a business owner from Durban. “I love adventure and I love Africa,” she said. “The Ford Ranger is amazing and I want to get down and dirty with it on an incredible adventure.”
Chloe Boshoff (28) is a photographer from Pietermaritzburg. “I’m very enthusiastic about Africa, photography and the Ford Ranger, and this event combines all of that into one exceptional adventure.”
The Top 10 will be jetting off to Kenya for the start of the Ranger Odyssey on 24 June, from where they will travel through Tanzania and Zanzibar, as well as Mozambique and Zimbabwe with the final leg completed in South Africa on 14 July.