The Ford Ranger Odyssey is a driving challenge designed by Ford for participants to drive their Ranger Pickups through Namibia while testing participant’s survival and driving skills in the tough Namibian rough terrain.
For 2015, two Nigerians made it through the testing stages for the final show after four days of intense boot camp training.
According to BusinessDay Newspaper, the two successful contestants from Nigeria comprise Moyosore Fawol and Giftson Onuiri – both from Lagos – who were among the squad of four that was chosen during the in-market selections held by Ford dealer Coscharis Motors.
Nigerians Moyosore Fawol and Giftson Onuiri are both 31 years old, and live in Lagos.
Fawol owns and runs his own construction company, and has a deep appreciation for nature, books and arts. “I would like to give my people a reason to cheer by representing them,” he said.
Onuiri is a photographer, and describes himself as an adventurous person that loves to drive. “I’m a very passionate and creative person who is also quite the extremist.”
Along with the rest of the contestants, their Boot Camp adventure commenced on Thursday, June 18,with in-depth instruction on the theoretical aspects of the Ford Ranger and 4×4 driving in general, along with the crucial elements of vehicle recovery techniques. The team then had to haul their luggage by foot to the overnight campsite around 2.5 km away, then set up tents for the chilly mid-winter nights spent under the stars.
On Friday June 19, the contestants set off at 5am on a 9km trail run to get the blood flowing, then had their first opportunity to take the mighty Built Ford Tough Ranger off-road. A series of challenging 4×4 obstacles were laid out in the dry bed of the Gamka River around 12km north of Prince Albert which, for many in the group, was the first time they had driven the Ranger or been off-road.
From climbing soft river sand banks to negotiating challenging rocky ascents and descents, the tight but technical course had it all – and the contestants were amazed how capable the Ranger proved in what were particularly intimidating tasks.
Learning the ropes in terms of vehicle recovery is critical before embarking on any 4×4 expedition – and particularly in the difficult and remote route planned for this year’s Ranger Odyssey in far north western Namibia.
The Ford instructors took the contestants through the full regime of winching, operating a high-lift jack and using scissors lifts and recovery ropes to extricate a stranded vehicle.
Day three was all about the regime of safe convoy driving, and the contestants took turns behind the wheel as the 17-vehicle fleet traversed the breath-taking Swartberg Pass, headed through Groenkloof to Calitzdorp and worked its way through the scenic Seweweekspoort Pass.
With tiredness and fatigue coming into play, day four started off even earlier at 04:30 with in-depth instruction on GPS navigation by the team from Navworld that is supplying the Garmin units to be used on Odyssey.
The final assessment comprised a nerve-wrecking interview with the judging panel, comprising the Ford instructors, the media crew and a representative from Ford South Africa.
Throughout Boot Camp the contestants were scored and rated daily on a variety of aspects, including overall attitude and group interaction, grasp of practical and theoretical elements of 4×4 training, communication and leadership skills, as well as overall demeanour.
Ranger Odyssey Boot Camp revealed which of the semi-finalists are indeed tough enough, have the right level of endurance and the ideal disposition for the challenging 12-day adventure which sets off for Namibia on 23 July.
“The Boot Camp action was intense, but we had a great group of contestants and everyone gave it their all, enjoyed themselves and learned a lot over the four days,” said Tracey Delate, general marketing manager for Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa (FMCSA).
“The 20 finalists chosen for Namibia represent a fantastic mix of individuals that bring a superb level of energy, enthusiasm, camaraderie and a desire for adventure to this event. We look forward to setting off for Namibia in July with them for this truly life-changing experience.” He noted.
To view highlights from last year’s edition, watch the video.