Brian Reynolds, a railway engineer from Chesterfield in Derbyshire, has beaten two other UK finalists in the Land Rover G4 Challenge 'International Selections' to take his place as the UK representative on the 2006 global competition.
At the end of five gruelling days of international selections at Land Rover's off-road driving home, Eastnor Castle in Herefordshire, Brian was the clear winner in the final trials stage before the G4 ultimate global adventure kicks off in Bangkok on 23 April. The two other competitors - RAF doctor Andy Grieve from Tiverton and tour guide Suzanna Madge from Brighton - made it very difficult for him, and it was only on Friday afternoon, the last day of the selections, that Brian confirmed his place on the 2006 Challenge.
The international selections, which hosted three competitors from each of the 18 nations taking part in this year's G4 Challenge, saw blood, sweat and tears at the freezing cold Eastnor estate with competitors camping throughout the week with frequent surprise middle-of-the-night challenges to test the competitors' character.
Challenge director, Niki Davies, said: "This has been an extremely tough week for the competitors, with the temperature gauge seldom rising above zero. We wanted to select the best all-rounder from each country; physical ability is just a part of it - strategic thinking, endurance and team-working skills are all key to success in the G4 Challenge. You really get the measure of someone's spirit when they are awoken from a tent at 4.00am at -3 degrees C to recover a vehicle from a freezing cold lake - followed by 17 hours of competition before returning to camp."
Brian Reynolds added: "I am worn out, exhausted and just about ready to drop, but it's the most amazing feeling to have got this far. I tried to qualify for the 2003 Challenge, but didn't make it into the top ten UK competitors, so I went away, assessed the areas where I felt I was weakest and worked extremely hard on my endurance, mountain biking and kayaking skills. It has paid off, and I am ecstatic to be representing my country at last - it was my dream, and it’s come true. I can't wait for the actual Challenge in April, and I will be training my heart out from now until then."
The Land Rover G4 Challenge 2006 takes place over four weeks from 23 April, incorporating 4x4 driving and multi-sport challenges in Thailand, Laos, Brazil and Bolivia.Published 4 February 2006