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This is the single-news section of the news "Offroad & Motorsports". To see all news please use the link under the article or navigate with the left main-navigation.

LR G4 Challenge: Landrover Adventure event started in Bangkok

For the 18 competitors there was no gentle ease into the Land Rover G4 Challenge - this was 100%, full-on, "take us to the limit" stuff from the G of the word GO! In record temperatures on a baking hard but beautiful arena set up in the heart of Bangkok - the gateway to Southeast Asia - the 18 competitors in the Land Rover G4 Challenge got their first taste of competition with a punishing but rewarding start event in Sanam Luang Park.

At a gala banquet on Saturday night, the 18 individual competitors had paired up, with the top scorers from International Selections being picked by the rest of the crew. The start event was the first test of these pairings, which will remain for the first week of the month-long event.

A separate ballot saw the nine pairs draw for three heats of the clever but hellishly physical demands of the opening competition; where the teams had to mountain bike the length of the 150 metre course and then drag their Range Rover Sport from its shipping container. One team member had to then pull a kayak on wires high above the ground to a Thai-style hut from where he or she then guided their partner across a set of narrow logs in the Range Rover Sport. The most physical part of the test was to then hand-winch a 600kg Tuk Tuk (three wheel Bangkok taxi) up off the ground.

The second half of the competition was to drive over axle-articulating metal beams, stop whilst one wheel sat suspended high in the air and then drive the Range Rover Sport onto a giant Thai ox cart - pushing it along for 30 metres before driving the vehicle off again. Finally, the pairs had to run back to the hut - both shin up the framework of the huts and release a firework to signal the end!

Two of the three heats were extremely close. In Heat 1, the all-girl pairing of Alina McMaster (Australia) and Eleonora Audra (Brazil) had the lead until the final element - Marco Martinuzzi (Italy) and Victor Huang (Taiwan) managing to climb up to the firework faster than the girls.

There was even more drama in Heat 2. Dmitry Tomokhin (Russia) and Michael Tsaoutos (Greece) reached the hut first but they mistakenly thought only one of them had to climb to the fireworks. Dmitry fired off the explosion only for the judges to tell him that Michael must climb too. At this point, on the far side of the course, Gary Robertson (Ireland) had also climbed to release his firework and also believed he did not need to get his partner Tolga Senefe (Turkey) onto the platform. The race then became one to get the second man the 4 metres up to the hut. By a hair’s breadth, the Greek IT expert managed to reach Dmitry and secure the second spot in the final. "We did not think we had to get the second man up," said Dmitry. "So it was a close thing."

Joining Russia/Greece and Italy/Taiwan in the final (a repeat of the same course) was the British/German double act of Brian Reynolds and Robert Josef Schweiger. Marco and Victor struggled a little at the start of the final, leaving the others in a gripping head-to-head. Right up to the Thai cart drive there was nothing in it between the British/German and Greek/Russian pairs. But Dmitry and Michael got a better exit off the cart - giving them an extra edge on a frantic run back to the hut - and eventual victory.

"To win the first event of the 2006 Land Rover G4 Challenge is excellent," said Michael. "It takes a lot of pressure off and shows that Dmitry and I are a good pair. I feel much more confident about the rest of this week." The runners-up were not too disappointed. Only a week ago Brian Reynolds was training in snow at home. To nearly win the opening competition in almost 40 degree temperatures was a real achievement, he said. "This was a perfect start to the event for me and knowing now that Robert and I are a good team is really exciting," he said. "I can’t wait to get into Laos and get our teeth into the next competition."

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2006/04/12 I 22:50 CET I Editor:

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