Key Publishing CEO Adrian Cox spent a week practising what Classic Land Rover preaches earlier this year by taking one of the magazine’s small fleet of vehicles – a 1983-built Land Rover One Ten station wagon nicknamed The Smurf – to compete in the Santana Trophy.
The annual event for Land Rovers and Spanish-built Land Rover Santanas follows a 1,500km course around the deserts of Morocco and challenges drivers to follow pre-defined routes to avoid collecting penalty points. As well as six days of carefully plotted route there are additional tests covering sand dunes, rocky terrain and traditional map and compass navigation.
Adrian, accompanied by daughter Arabella and friend Henry Shepherd, captained one of just four British based vehicles in the event and completed the week as top British and overall 12th from a field of 50 vehicles.
And to cap the performance the trio finished fastest in the traditional navigation challenge – a success that Adrian put down to the family’s familiarity with open-water navigation when sailing.
Including the return ferry crossings between Portsmouth, Spain and Morocco, the full trip totalled 4,360 miles and involved running repairs from the re-welding of a fuel tank (apparently Moroccan mechanics can do anything) to multiple puncture repairs carried out by the team members themselves.
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