Spirit of Africa Once Again Chooses Goodyear Wranglers as Standard Issue

Words & Photos: Goodyear

Designed to test both man and machine in the harshest African conditions, the Spirit of Africa 2013 has once again chosen to fit Goodyear’s rugged Wrangler tyres to its fleet of competing Volkswagen Amarok 4x4s.

Spirit of Africa Once Again Chooses Goodyear Wranglers as Standard Issue

Hosted by legendary racing driver, Sarel van der Merwe, the elimination round of this year’s Spirit of Africa takes place on a course that is longer and more difficult than in prior years, putting the 350 teams through their paces in a host of exercises that include speed tests, reverse tests as well as technical driving in rough terrain.


“In this demanding competition which encompasses technical 4x4 driving over rocks and in the sand as well as speed sections, the Goodyear Wranglers have proved to be the most versatile and are the only tyres I’m prepared to use,” Van der Merwe said.


“These tyres are flexible, their tread is high, their grip is fantastic and they have been engineered and built to endure extreme terrains so I have complete confidence in them,” he explained.


The elimination round of the competition is currently underway in the Kondowe Reserve near Tzaneen in Limpopo Province where Van der Merwe has used what mother nature has so generously provided to design a course that offers the toughest challenge yet.


Elimination rounds are taking place between April and June this year with 26 groups of 20 teams per group competing for the highest scores in various exercises over a three day period.


According to Van der Merwe, Spirit of Africa regulars have in the past vied for the top honours in the group elimination rounds, but this year’s more difficult course has provided some surprising results with a mix of regulars and first timers coming out on top in the first few groups.


The overall top 20 teams to come through the elimination rounds will make it into the final which will be held in Southern Namibia this year. Here the sandy conditions will make for treacherous racing but fortunately for competitors there is no tyre to match the Goodyear Wranglers for handling on sand.


Competition is fierce among the highly motivated two-man teams with a R50 000 first prize, R30 000 second prize and R20 000 third prize up for grabs.


In addition to great cash prizes, all finalists qualify to purchase the Volkswagen Amaroks that they’ve been driving during the competition, at significantly reduced prices.


“We are pleased that Sarel again chose to fit Goodyear Wranglers to the Volkswagen Amaroks used in the competition,” said Myles Dent Group Brand Manager at Goodyear. “Wranglers are also one of the brands fitted as original equipment on the Amarok and there are obvious synergies between Volkswagen and Goodyear from a brand perspective, as both are premium brands marketed on platforms of quality and innovation.


“Sarel is also a great brand advocate for Goodyear and we respect his safety and environmental outlook for the event, as well as his commitment to involving the local community around the Kondowe Reserve,” Dent said.


Now in its ninth year there are big plans to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Spirit of Africa Trophy next year and Van der Merwe has already promised something really special.


Off-road 4x4