At the end of a gruelling five-day training and assessment programme, Tim Pickering (39), a businessman from the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides has emerged as the competitor who will represent the UK in the 2003 Land Rover G4 Challenge. Despite intense competition from his fellow Briton, Byron Lewis, also 39, Tim won through and will now undertake a training and preparation programme in readiness for the rigours of the Challenge itself. The event kicks off in New York City on 30th March, with 16 competitors enduring four consecutive weeks, four time zones and intense physical and mental competition.
The International Selections event took place at the 5,000 acre Eastnor Castle estate, home to the Land Rover Driving Experience and a world-renowned centre for off-road driving excellence. During the programme, which ran from Sunday January 19th until Friday January 24th, a total of 32 prospective competitors, two from each of 16 participating countries, were put through a series of demanding assessment sessions, including GPS and navigation, off road driving, mountain biking, climbing/abseiling and kayaking.
The purpose of the event was not only to select the final competitor for each nation based on quantitative scoring systems, but also to train all 32 competitors in each discipline to give them all the skills and knowledge required to complete the Challenge safely. In the event of the selected competitor being unable to take part, the reserve competitor will step in to fly their national flag.
Tim was overwhelmed to learn of his selection: “I am just amazed and very very happy to hear that I’ve been selected. It’s such an honour to be representing the UK. I’ve had an adventure this week at International Selections, an absolutely fantastic adventure. I’ve learnt so many things. I am going to walk away and it is going to take me weeks to process all the information that’s gone through my head. I am absolutely exhausted. I am looking forward to a hot bath and a cold beer.”
Mike Wright, Managing Director, Land Rover UK, commented: “We have been overwhelmed by the level of professionalism and team spirit demonstrated by all the competitors this week. Despite the fact they have been camping out every night and living on ‘boil in the bag’ meals to replicate the conditions they will find on the Challenge, everyone has turned in a great performance and it has been very difficult to make the final selection. We will be right behind Tim as he battles it out in the Challenge itself against the other 15 nations”
For further details of the Land Rover G4 Challenge and to follow the action online from March 30th to April 26th, visit www.landroverG4challenge.com.Published 26 January 2003