Toyota Fortuner 4×4 Challenge: Here’s What It Took To Win The Prize!
After months of build-up and anticipation, finalists in the Toyota Fortuner 4×4 Challenge were put to the ultimate test.
What is the Toyota 4×4 Challenge all about?
Four participants (chosen by the four media partners; Media 24, Highbury Media, Independent Media and Tiso Blackstar) teamed up with four celebrities (or heroes in ‘challenge’ speak), to compete in a range of super challenging tasks. The grand prize? A Toyota Fortuner 2.4 GD-6 4×4 6AT!
The 2019 event marked the fourth installment, incorporating elements from previous years as well as all new challenges. This year’s iteration required a combination of mental and physical fitness skills. And thanks to the sponsors – Garmin, Specialized and returning sponsor Salomon – who provided the necessary gear; the contestants were ready for battle.
How the action unfolded
The contestant-hero pairing took place at Pezula by way of drawing colour-matching ping-pong balls, and the teams were announced:
- Trevor Lagerwey & Kirsten McCann,
- Michelle Meyer & Giniel De Villiers,
- Jacob Maboja & Nkateko (Takkies) Dinwiddy,
- Dieter Pey & Oupa Mahoje.
Cool and wet conditions added an extra element of challenge to each of the competitive tasks. Ouch!
Tackling the challenge
The first challenge – aptly named Garmin Lifesaving Flags Eliminator – consisted of a lifeguarding-inspired beach sprint elimination on the shores of Leisure Isle. This took place in a knock-out fashion, where the last one standing received a starting advantage to head on to the lagoon paddling challenge. It was Trevor Lagerwey who earned this advantage, and being paired up with Olympic rower Kirsten McCann, the team made light work of the cold Knysna lagoon and earned first place in Round One.
The second task – the Pezula Night Duathlon – took place at the Pezula Hotel, where the contestants set off on a sprint run with navigational instructions from their Garmin Fenix 6 Plus Smartwatches. After the run they had to to identify 15 African countries on a map, which was placed on the bonnet of their Toyota Fortuners. This took place in the rain, so it certainly was no easy task.
Day Two brought with it five competitive tasks, which kicked off with the Salomon Trail Run, along the cliff paths of Cairnbrogie, located on the outskirts of Plettenberg Bay. After the run the teams had to answer a Fortuner-related brainteaser and hit the horn to lock-in their time. Meyer and De Villiers put on a quite the show and managed to claw back valuable time.
Ramping it up
Then came the Specialized Epic Pump Track Challenge, and as the name implies – the task involved some state-of-the-art Specialized mountain bikes and a challenging pump track. Whilst the contestants pedalled furiously, their hero partners had to call out navigational instructions from the viewing deck.
Enlisting navigational, endurance and level-headed thinking, the Toyota Obstacle Challenge required the teams to set off and find key raft-building components, using their Garmin Fenix 6 watches to find pre-determined coordinates. After gathering all the elements, they had to assemble a raft (capable of transporting themselves across the dam), and make their way to the check-point. Strong, head-on winds, made paddling an almost impossible chore. In the end only two teams – De Villiers/Meyer and Lagerwey/McDonald – reached the check-point, with the remaining two teams getting DNF’s.
The Toyota Blind Drive Challenge, added a vehicle-focused to the mix. Blindfolded contestants had to navigate an obstacle course behind the wheel of their Fortuner. Their partner’s instructions had to guide them. This required a balance of speed and precision, as the task also came with a penalty system. After many anxious moments, all four teams (and their Fortuners) emerged unscathed. Although the individual results and leaderboard is not disclosed, Dieter Pey and Oupa Mahoje made quick work of the maze, undoubtedly earning the pairing some well-deserved points.
The final challenge saw a shift in gears and presented a unique test of Clay Pigeon Shooting. The trick Garmin Xero S1 Trapshooting Trainer was used to evaluate each of the eight shooters’ accuracy and score. With the wind buffeting, temperatures dropping and grey clouds looming, it was the contestants’ time to shine. All four teams gave it their all and put in valiant efforts.
Winner of the Toyota Fortuner 2.4 GD-6 4×4 6AT
After two days of duking it out, Cape Town-based Trevor Lagerwey (who entered via Men’s Health magazine and was teamed up with Olympic rower Kirsten McCann) was crowned Fortuner 4×4 Challenge champion for 2019. Strong teamwork and consistency earned him the keys to a brand new Toyota Fortuner 2.4 GD-6 4×4 6AT.
But, the three runner-ups did not leave empty-handed, as all the contestants received a Specialized Epic Comp mountain bike and cycling gear, Garmin Fenix 6 Plus smartwatch and Salomon apparel to the value of over R60 000.
Thanks to event sponsors and partners this year’s challenge, proved to be another hugely successful one.
Media partners: Highbury Media, Media24, Independent Group, Tiso Blackstar. Sponsors: Garmin, Specialized, Salomon, Pezula Hotel. Heroes: Giniel de Villiers, Nkateko Dinwiddy, Oupa Mahoje, Kirsten McCann