Thursday, 23 May 2013


Today, Ford is revealing the 20 semi-finalists in phase 2 of the Ford Ranger Odyssey Africa 2013 competition: a Pan African 4x4 challenge that’ll seek to conquer some of Africa’s toughest terrain. Whittled down from hundreds of entries, the top 20 have been selected based on their technical experience and their communications skills.

Next week, the semi-finalists will compete in a boot camp where their skills will be put to the test in situations similar to the ones they are going to encounter during the Ranger Odyssey expedition through Africa. Based on their performance at the four-day boot camp, 10 finalists will be chosen to participate in the expedition itself, which kicks off in Kenya on 24 June.

The top 20, all city-dwellers, come from diverse backgrounds. A management consultant, restaurateur and minibus taxi driver will be vying for a coveted spot on the Ranger Odyssey expedition alongside a commercial diver, hotel manager and banker. Ranging in age, the top 20 also includes seven female contestants who promise to put the men through their paces during boot camp. 

While all contestants are 4x4 enthusiasts, some have notched up more kilometres than others. Aaron Thornton, who runs an IT support business, has spent the last 10 years travelling through
South Africa and recently joined a 4x4 community to take his passion to the next level. Andre Kearns from Cape Town, who used to work for South African National Parks, has experienced some of this country’s toughest terrain and has cultivated a serious love of conservation through his regular 4x4 adventures.

Donatella D’Aloisio, a Durban restaurateur, has been determined to prove that she is tough enough for Africa ever since a guy she was dating told her that her dream of driving through the continent in a 4x4 were ridiculous because “Africa is too tough for a girl.” Like Donatella, Mxolisi Mabaso, a minibus taxi driver from Cape Town, also has something to prove. According to him, the bad wrap that many taxi drivers receive is unfounded, and by participating in the Ford Ranger Odyssey Africa 2013 he hopes to prove just this to the other participants.

“We are thrilled with the semi-finalists and are excited to see how they perform at the boot camp,” says Ford Marketing Manager Gavin Golightly. “Every one of our top 20 has a strong personality, and it’ll be interesting to see how the team dynamics play out when the contestants are stretched to the limit. We’re confident that we will walk away from the boot camp with a group of determined, enthusiastic, skilled and tough contestants that are perfectly suited to the strengths of the Ranger.”


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