|I was wearing the number 13 beep.|
|Half of my body buried in the mud.|
The odds against being picked for the ultimate off-road adventure are enormous. Five hundred thousand hopefuls applied to join the elite twenty-eight members bound for Madagascar and the 1987 Camel Trophy.
Fifteen hundred miles of tortuous jungle tracks, swamp crossings and rock hard desert roads made up the punishing route for the eighth Camel Trophy - the toughest four=wheel drive event open only to amateurs. Fourteen two-man teams battled against nature and each other for three backbreaking seeks on the world's fourth largest island.
Seven Special Tasks were designed to determine the overall winning country in tests of driving skill and navigational ability. The battle was fierce; Italy and the United States showed that they meant business from Day 1. Covered in the ever-present mud and dust of the Great Red Island, the teams hauled their identical Range Rover Turbo Diesels down the eastern 'Pirate Coast' of the Indian Ocean Island. Day and night, the convoy fought through the virtually uncharted tracks - some of which had not been used for twenty years or more. The reward at the finish in the ex-French colonial port of Fort Dauphin was one of historical importance. The 1987 Camel Trophy was the first expedition to drive the length of Madagascar via the near-impossible east coast route. For team members, the chance-of-a-lifetime was unforgettable.
How to earn your berth.
The ticket to ultimate adventure - It's no wonder every Malaysian with an ounce of adventure in his blood is clamoring to find out more about it. To date, more than 30,000 letters have swamped the organizers, some from as far away as Sabah and Sarawak. "This overwhelming response is obviously due to the enormous impact that Camel Trophy '86 made," said Malaysian Camel Trophy coordinator, Ronnie Kok.
"Malaysians everywhere are now fully aware that Camel Trophy offers a ticket to the ultimate adventure. Camel Trophy is not far fetched event meant for the rich or the famous, but rather, offers the man in the street a chance to represent Malaysia in the world's foremost off-road event. It's an opportunity of a lifetime to represent one's country in an event held in an exotic location that is filled with excitement and which offers the satisfaction of pitting one's off-road survival skills against the best in the world," added Ronnie.
Regional Selection Trials - Initially, the search will be for those entries with the right aptitude in their resume and a group of 150 will be short-listed throughout Malaysia. Successful candidates will then be requested to participate in the regional Selection Trials which comprise aptitude and psychological tests. They will be held at six major town centres through Malaysia.
The National Selection Trials - Only 27 will be selected after the regional trials qualify for the National Selection Trials. They will then go on to the National Selection trials to be held in Selangor from Jan. 7 to 11, 1987. Drawn up by professionals, the National Selection Trials are geared to determine that only the best candidates will be selected to represent Malaysia.
The trials will fall basically under five categories:
Four-wheel drive skills
Outdoor survival abilities
Ability to interact with others
Mental and physical stamina
The National Selection Trials are specially designed to simulate a number of Camel Trophy special tasks. This is so to allow participants to get a feel for the actual Camel Trophy environment and to provide the judges with a standard for performance. Only the best four Malaysians will be chosen. But before they start their 18-day jungle adventure, the four will undergo three days of intensive training at the Eastnor Castle Estate in Birmingham, England from February 11 to 13, 1987. The final two-man team will only be send to Madagascar.
- Abdul Halim bin Abd Rahman
- Donald Eric Anthony
- Ching Neng Bin
- Edmund Chye
- Suling Ejau
- Foong Tai Yueh
- Joe Gan Woon Ping
- Hashim bin Ahmad
- Jamal Hussain
- Kamaruddin Jaafar
- Mah Yoon Hoong
- Mohd Sidik Ali Vohd
- Entalai Ak. Munan
- Osman bin Percy King Jones
- Othman Abu Bakar
- Samson Riong
- See Toh Kow Cheng
- See Toh Ying Hee
- Shahrome bin Yang Rashdi
- Sia Cheng Ho
- Dr. Linus Singam
- Nermel Singh a/l Gurdial
- Tang Kok Heng
- George Thu
- John Wong Yut Heng
- Yap Ah Tiong
- Zainal b Mohd Sharif
The Camel Trophy started with Jeeps but from it's second year settled firmly on Solihulls finest.
All production models were used with the exception of the new shape Range Rover.
In the table below I listed the years and competitors vehicles. Keep in mind however that these are only a small number of the vehicles used. The main burden of carrying journalists, equipment and spares fell to a fleet of 110's and 130's regardless of what vehicle was the "official" car.
In February 1999 Worldwide Brands Inc. decided the image of the Camel Trophy was no longer compatible with their targeted consumer group and cancelled their sponsoring. So the Camel Trophy was dead. Read the official 1999 press release below.
In my private opinion this was a big mistake as so many people watched reports from the Trophy and talked to eachother about it thus creating a product relation. But clever marketing strateges decided it wasn't worth bothering with those people. Already the change to the soft side in the 1998 challenge got a rather cold reception by the general public. This however seemed only to confirm the theory of an out-of-date event, at least in those clever minds.
Gentlemen, go back to your studies. Didn't you learn that only a fraction of a percent of an interested group responds to any action call? And how many applications did you get every year for the Trophy? Several 100.000s. Multiply this number at least by 20 to get the number of people interested in the event. Are you really so well off to simply let go a consumer group of several millions?
Date: 25 February 1999
Over the last 18 years, Land Rover and Worldwide Brands Inc., sponsors of Camel Trophy have worked together to build an unrivaled international event. This reputation has mutually benefited both parties providing the ultimate showcase for Land Rover vehicles and Camel Trophy Adventure Products. As lifestyles change, Camel Trophy has successfully evolved into a multi-disciplined event. This shift in direction is targeted primarily at broadening the appeal to an even wider audience. Land Rover and WBI as a direct result of this shift in strategy have decided to dissolve the co-sponsorship agreement of the world's foremost international adventure challenge, Camel Trophy.
Driving will still play a part in the event, but the emphasis has move away from a 4x4 focus, and as such, no longer maximizes Land Rover's sponsorship objectives. The partnership, has ended on a high after last years' ground-breaking event in Chile and Argentina, which offered an ideal showcase to demonstrate the world-beating off-road capabilities of the Freelander, Land Rover's newest lifestyle 4x4.
"There are few sponsorship relationships that have withstood the test of time as successfully as Camel Trophy and Land Rover. This has been as excellent association for us and over the years Land Rover has given the event an outstanding level of support. However, as the event now includes so many other sporting activities, the emphasis can no longer remain solely on 4x4," commented Nick Horne, WBI Special Events Director.
Speaking about the decision, Rover Group Marketing Director Martin Runnacles said: "We have enjoyed a unique relationship with the Camel Trophy event over almost two decades and it has played a major role in sustaining the image of Land Rover as the manufacturer of the best 4x4's in the world. However, with the changing character of the event it will no longer provide us with an active demonstration of Land Rover's brand essence - limitless capability. We wish Camel Trophy every success with their new format. As for Land Rover, future activities will concentrate on our customer base with the emphasis very much on rugged off-road adventure."
As Land Rover focuses on new sponsorships the Camel Trophy event will continue to push the parameters of adventure for the year 2000.