Sport, Dec. 23, 2020, 8:23 p.m.

Springboks tackle Lonehill’s new off road track in the Land Rover Defender

Author: riaan@wecanchange.co.za

Early in November Land Rover announced a renewed partnership with the South African Rugby Union (SARU) as the official vehicle partner and an associate sponsor of the Springboks.

Land Rover ambassadors Duane Vermeulen, Bongi Mbonambi, Trevor Nyakane, Pieter-Steph du Toit and Frans Steyn, together with friends of the brand Lood de Jager and Handre Pollard, recently got down and dirty with the new Defender at Jaguar Land Rover EXPERIENCE Johannesburg.

 

The seven Rugby World Cup-winning Springboks were invited to the premium lifestyle centre to take on the facility’s new Defender-only off road tack, and each other, in a battle of driving skills and teamwork in the most capable Land Rover ever. The players were divided into three teams, and each set off to complete a series of three challenges with a maximum 3,000 points up for grabs.

 

The first task was to navigate a giant concrete ‘H’ with pinpoint precision. This challenge required constant communication and delicate inputs from the driver, as any missed markings would result in docked points. Next up was an extreme route with steep inclines, declines and axle-twisters while the passenger held a brimmed bowl of water. Any sudden vehicle movements would mean instant spillage, and again, deducted points. Finally, the teams drove through a wading pool filled with strategically positioned cones and pool noodles which, if touched, affected scores.

 

In the end team mates Trevor Nyakane, Duane Vermuelen and Handre Pollard walked away top scorers, while their on-pitch team mates left with an experience to remember.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Duane Vermeulen said: “I’m amazed with all the technology in the new Defender and how easy it made driving over tough terrain. The camera systems are incredible. We could see exactly what was happening outside the car on the touchscreen, and one view looked like it came from a drone flying around sending a hi-res image back to us inside. The trails at Experience in Lonehill include some scary obstacles but the Defender handled them with ease.”

 

Bongi Mbonambi said: “What a fun day out at Experience Johannesburg. The facility is world class and it felt great to be back in a competitive environment with the challenges set up for me and my team mates. The new Defender is a beast and I loved how it was able to tackle the trails and still be so comfortable at the same time."

 

Early in November Land Rover announced a renewed partnership with the South African Rugby Union (SARU) as the official vehicle partner and an associate sponsor of the Springboks. In addition to the agreement, Land Rover announced Duane Vermeulen, Bongi Mbonambi, Trevor Nyakane, Pieter-Steph du Toit and Frans Steyn have become official Land Rover ambassadors, along with Sbu Nkosi who was not able to attend the Defender Challenge event.

 

Land Rover is proud to have a long-standing, 20-year heritage and commitment to rugby at all levels and has been a sponsor of Rugby World Cup since 2011. Locally, Land Rover has been a partner of the Springboks since 2017 and in recent years has been involved with local unions, clubs and rural schools to support rugby from grassroots level to the pinnacle of the sport on the world stage.