U.S. Team Chosen for Camel Trophy Tierra Del Fuego '98
5 May 1998U.S. Team Chosen for Camel Trophy Tierra Del Fuego '98
Americans Place First and Third Out of 80 Candidates; Spain Selects First-Ever Female Team FAVIKENS EGENDOM, Sweden, May 5 -- When Camel Trophy Tierra del Fuego '98 heads to South America in August for its first-ever winter competition, Dean Vergillo, 29, a stay-at-home dad and freelance bicycle designer from Duvall, Wash., and Greg Thomas, 33, a multimedia designer from Santa Cruz, Calif., will be there to represent the United States. The two were chosen following an arduous week of events at the 1998 Camel Trophy International Selections, where four finalists from each of 20 countries competed to be named to their two-person national teams. Out of the 80 candidates, Vergillo placed first, and Thomas trailed him closely in third place, with a difference of only 10 points separating them. Of the 40 team members who will participate in Camel Trophy '98, six will be women. Included in these six are Emma Boca and Patricia Molina of Spain, who will make history as the first-ever all-female Camel Trophy team. Often described as the world's last great adventure, Camel Trophy is a multi-disciplined expedition challenge in which participants combine physical endurance with strategic planning and four-wheel drive skills in order to navigate across some of the most remote terrain on earth. En route from start to finish, teams acquire points by visiting as many pre-determined "Discovery" and "Adventure" Locations as possible, each of which has been assigned a specific score based on the difficulty involved in getting there. Discovery Locations can be reached by vehicle, but Adventure Locations require further exploration via a combination of Mountain Biking, Kayaking or Andean Sports (skiing, snowboarding or snowshoeing). The teams are responsible for devising their own unique strategies in order to access the locations. The 1998 International Selections were the final opportunity for Camel Trophy hopefuls from around the world to prove that they have what it takes to be a Camel Trophy team member. In preparation for the snowy and icy environment of Chile and Argentina, the cold spring of northern Sweden provided a wintry backdrop for five days of activities. For the first two days, participants rotated through a series of exercises designed to familiarize them with the equipment to be used on the event, including the all-new Land Rover Freelander, which will be driven on Camel Trophy for the first time in 1998. Training was also provided in practical skills that will be crucial for all teams: navigation, first aid, communications, Arctic survival and mechanics. During the final three days, the candidates were evaluated in a number of competitions, including ice driving on the frozen surface of Lake Djupsjon, uphill and downhill treks on the ski slopes of Trillevallen, Grade 3 rapids below the thundering waterfalls of Ristafallet and muddy mountain biking around the wooded acres of Favikens Egendom. The highlight of the week was an unusual night-driving slalom competition on the ice that tested the candidates' accuracy, precision and skill behind the wheel; the courses were marked only by candlelight. "I'm amazed!," said Vergillo, when the teams were announced. "It hasn't really sunk in yet that I'll be going to Camel Trophy. We had a really close group of four coming into the International Selections, and although only two of us are moving on, there are parts of all four of us going." Thomas was already thinking ahead to the training that is still to come, saying, "I'm going to take some trips up to visit Dean, and hopefully he can come down to California, too. I think we have a good chance at winning the event in South America, but we really need to work together to make that happen." Driving a Land Rover Freelander that will proudly display the stars and stripes of the American flag, Thomas and Vergillo will set off from Santiago, Chile, on August 5, and arrive three weeks later in Ushuaia, Argentina -- the southernmost city on earth. Participating in Camel Trophy Tierra del Fuego '98 are: Argentina, Austria, the Canary Islands, Denmark/Norway, Finland/Sweden, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Italy, Japan, Portugal, Romania, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, the U.K. and the U.S. More information on Camel Trophy Tierra del Fuego '98 can be found on the World Wide Web at http://www.Best4x4.LandRover.com. Camel Trophy is a product of Worldwide Brands Inc., marketer of Camel Trophy Adventure Wear, and sponsored by Land Rover, manufacturer of premium British-built sport-utility vehicles. Team USA is sponsored by Land Rover North America, Inc., and additional U.S. team support has been provided by Michelin Tire Co. and Mountain Hardwear Inc. SOURCE Land Rover North America, Inc.