Following months of build-up and anticipation, the big day finally dawned for the four contestants selected to compete in the Toyota Fortuner 4×4 Challenge. The 4×4 Challenge tasked four public participants (obtained through media partners Highbury Media, Media 24, Primedia Broadcasting and Tiso Blackstar Group) to team up with four celebrities (or heroes in “challenge”-speak), and then compete in pairs alongside their trusty Toyota Fortuner steeds in a range of tasks.
The 2018 event marked the third instalment of the challenge, and the bar was set higher than in previous years. The challenges this year amped up the fitness-endurance-strength equation. The contestants had to deliver maximum performance throughout to claim the title and prize. With Garmin, Specialized and Reebok providing the necessary gear, the stage was set.
Heatwave conditions in Knysna added an additional factor to contend with. After the contestant/hero pairings took place by drawing Fortuner keys marked with the hero names, the teams were as follows:
- Brandon Hulley and Steffi van Wyk-Brink
- Dominique Leclerq and Giniel de Villiers
- Danie Barnard and Mapule Ndhlovu
- Jackie Moore and Ox Nché
The first challenge consisted of a two-person paddle from the Eastern Head, across the lagoon to Leisure Isle. Upon arrival on shore, the teams had to complete a tyre-shuffle puzzle.
The second task took place at the Pezula Hotel, where the contestants set off on a trail run with navigational instructions provided by their Garmin Fenix 5 Plus Smartwatch. The rolling pathways of Pezula gave way to the frantic sound of footsteps as teams sprinted to complete the 4.8-km run.