Camel Trophy

1980-2000

Camel Trophy. At one time considered the last “great adventure” was an annual vehicle based 4×4 competitino undertaken annually from 1981, and by boat in 2000. Its purpose was to voyage into harsh lands and put man and machine to the test. The first Camel Trophy, held in 1981, was a trip on the TransAmazonian highway under taken by a group of Germans in Jeep CJ6s. Despite not finishing the trek, it captured the imagination of adventurers across the world. The following year, and every year after until 1998 they used Land Rovers to complete their journeys.

Nearly every year, the organizers of Camel Trophy sought to challenge the competitors with a new and different destination, often times being the first ever vehicle traverse of a given route. However frequently it was not enough to just do the expedition, the masachistic minds behind Camel Trophy decided to do many of the routes durning the regions monsoon or rainy season. Take for example the 1985 event in Borneo when participants frequently were only able to travel a distance of 5 km a day despite being behind the wheel all day long and long into the night.

Throughout the duration of Camel Trophy, the full range of Solihull’s finest vechilces were challenged, starting with the Range Rover in 1982, to the Series IIIs, 90s and 110s and the Discovery in the early 1990s.The final competition vehicle was the Freelander which participated in Land Rover’s swan song event in 1998, Tierra del Fuego.

By the last years of the event, the focus had drifted away from the vehicles and towards “adventure sports” and special tasks such as kayaking, canoeing and mountain biking. Partially for this reason, Land Rover and Worldwide Brands (the owners of Camel Trophy) decided to part ways after the 1998 event, Tierra del Fuego.

However, the true spirit of Camel Trophy is kept alive by Land Rover enthusiasts everywhere. Limited edition coffee table books celebrating the event frequently sell for hunrdeds of dollars, if you can find them. The Camel Trophy Owners Club, a group dedicated to the ownership of ex-Camel Trophy vehicles also keeps the spirit of the event alive with their documentation and celebration of the great adventure. Their vehicles range from Defenders to Freelanders, from well used competition vehicles to well-cared for marshall vehicles.

For a more in depth look at the vehicles and equipment which participated in the Camel Trophy, please see Alex’s excellent website Camel-Discovery.com and its companion website Camel-Defender.com.

Camel Trophy Events and Destinations

Year

Destination

Vehicle used

Winning Country

1980

Trans-Amazonican Highway, Brazil

Jeep CJ-6s

Germany (the only country to
compete)

1981

Sumatra, Indonesia

2-door Land Rover

Range Rovers

Germany (the only country to
compete)

1982

Papua New Guinea

2-door Land Rover

Range Rovers

Italy

1983

Zaire

Series III 88″

Holland

1984

Brazil

Land Rover 110

Italy

1985

Borneo

Land Rover 90

Germany

1986

Australia

Land Rover 90

France

1987

Madagascar

Range Rover

Turbo Diesel

Italy

1988

Sulawesi

Land Rover 110

Turkey

1989

The Amazon

Land Rover 110

UK

1990

Siberia (USSR)

Discovery 3 door

200 Tdi

Holland

1991

Tanzania/Burundi

Discovery 200 Tdi

Turkey

1992

Guyana

Discovery 200 Tdi

Switzerland

1993

Sabah-Malaysia

Discovery 200 Tdi

USA

1994

Argentina, Paraguay, Chile

Discovery 200 Tdi

Spain

1995

Mundo Maya

Discovery 300 Tdi

Czech Republic

1996

Kalimantan

Discovery 300 Tdi

Greece

1997

Mongolia

Discovery 300 Tdi

Austria

1998

Tierra del Fuego

Freelander

France

2000

Tonga-Samoa

Water based event

South Africa

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