re-sized madwaysouth

The longest kite buggy journey ever attempted … 2,500km

“The definition of adventure is outcome unknown, says Steve Gurney.

And that is what Mad Way South is all about.

This wind powered odyssey began casually when Geoff Wilson challenged a Kiwi friend to a buggy race. The Mad Way South race was born and four mad and extreme wind driven men set to start racing from Northern Morocco on August 3rd 2009.

They will attempt the first ever journey across the Sahara desert on kite buggies this summer.

There’s a twofold reason for this race. One is an effort to help promote green travel and the second is to raise money for charity.

The race will cover 2,500 km of the worlds toughest terrain in just 30 days. They aim to claim the rights to be the first to have ever crossed this desert by wind power alone from Agadir in Morocco, through Western Sahara, Mauritania, and end in Dakar, Senegal.

This will be man and machine pitted against the harshest environment in the world at the end of the Saharan Summer.

30 days is the aim… but since this is unchartered terrain and has never been attempted before, the time-scale will be flexible.

The team consists of 2 Kiwis and 2 Aussies.

One of the Kiwis is a recycled Zimbabwean, Craig Hansen. He has been flying kites since he was 10 years of age and has a passion for kite traction and wind assisted travel – specifically as a means for journeying. He is co-owner of Peter Lynn Kites based in New Zealand, and he and Peter have designed the “Big Foot” buggy and its Saharan adaptations for the Mad Way South.

Geoff Wilson, the team leader, is an African born Aussie, veterinarian come adventurer – who is obsessed with all things wind driven. He has already completed a year long, 25,000km odyssey on a yacht, and crossed the Egyptian Sahara by bicycle.

Garth Freeman, another Australian, is the youngest member of the team. Despite this he brings many man hours flying kites and considerable expertise to the mix. He is a professional kite instructor and one of his pre-race conditions is to ensure that Geoff has all the kite flying skills he needs to survive the journey!

The fourth member is Steve Gurney – Kiwi born and bred. He is an ex-professional Adventure Racing athlete who was at the top of his game for 16 years, with 9 Coast to Coast wins, numerous Adventure race team wins, and twice represented NZ at the world Mountain-biking Champs. He is also a well known motivational speaker. He no longer competes, but is taking part in this race in a bid to seek “green” and sustainable adventure options.

These 4 will be backed up by a highly efficient and knowledgeable support team.

Asked why they were doing it, Dr Wilson said: “The idea is to road-test these vehicles in one of the world’s most rugged environments and also promote eco-friendly travel. As for why the Sahara Desert was chosen as the battleground – it’s simply because no one else has been stupid enough to try it.”

The challenge will be staged as a rally, with several timed stages, and will also be filmed as an international television documentary.

The purpose for the Mad Way South Sahara Challenge is to raise awareness of the plight of women and children who have been forced into commercial sexual exploitation in Cambodia. They are hoping to raise $100,000 for the “SHE Rescue Home – Cambodia”.

kitebuggy by Adam Head

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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. It’s all about location – and this is a great kitesurfing one… | Xtremesport - 2011 | 24 February

    […] in this blog when Craig Hansen, Geoff Wilson and Garth Freeman, team member of Peter Lynns’ Mad Way South expedition, set out to break the record for the longest kite buggy journey ever. […]

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