Automobile

Land Rover’s TReK Tour, Where New Defenders—and Competitors—Are Put Through the Wringer

One stop required the teams to make use of the Hi-Lift Jack, recovery strap, and chains to pull the Defender uphill two full car lengths. It was sweaty, difficult, and tedious at times, and we swapped out who would sit in the SUV to operate the brake and who would crank up the jack and reset the chains. Early on, as I was getting out of the Defender while it was parked on the hill, I didn’t pay enough attention to the weight of the door. As it slammed on my left thumb, I tried to play it cool but I was a little concerned that I had broken it. Luckily, it didn’t break the skin and no bones were poking out, so I grabbed a cold bottle of water and held it until it was my turn to crank. A week later, it’s still a bit stiff but I notice it fondly, a trophy injury of the challenge.

Other obstacles were set up for precision, like hooking up and towing a trailer through a tight set of cones and the crystal-clear backup camera was key. Scott and Kristin spotted me on my lap, which I took with only one penalty. When it was Scott’s turn to drive, he sped through the cones impressively fast. Another station consisted of a grid of poles set up for a specific pattern requiring 3- and 5-point turns in a tight space. By the time we finished that one, we had earned the breakfast sandwiches the Land Rover team had stashed under the engine cover to stay warm. 

My favorite challenge (and the most physically challenging) required us to build a bridge. Lifting a set of heavy boards, we uncovered pieces of the Land Rover logo that had to be placed between sections that were locked in. The coordinator at that station told us we had to use every board provided and as we got down to the last few, we couldn’t get them to fit. Finally, we came up with the idea to tent two rows of boards and then dropped them down, jumping on them to set them in. After driving the Defender across our new bridge, we had to go back and disassemble the structure we had just built.

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