-2.1 C
New York City
Friday, July 1, 2022
Home Features 2015 Lagos Ford Odyssey Challenge: The Untold Story

2015 Lagos Ford Odyssey Challenge: The Untold Story

Male and females, who believed they were tough enough, slugged it out at this year’s annual Ford Ranger Odyssey in-market event held last Friday in Lagos. At the beginning, most participants were hopeful of a ticket to South Africa, but at the end, only what organizers described as the brains and the brawns got selected. Motoring World’s Editor-in-chief, FEMI OWOEYE, who was a guest at the event, captures the scene…

[dropcap]P[/dropcap]articipants looked battle-ready. They all wore deportments of tough beings ready for jungle battle. Precursor to this year’s Ford Ranger Odyssey Challenge holding in South Africa, it was. Venue was Coscharis 4×4 Test Facility located close to the company’s head office along Lekki-Epe Expressway, Awoyaya, Lagos, Nigeria.

Abiona(Right) welcoming ...winner of last year's challenge, who could not make it to South Africa due to Ebola fobia
Abiona(Right) welcoming Chinonso Okezuo, winner of last year’s challenge, who could not make it to South Africa due to Ebola fobia

It was a public holiday Friday (29th of May), Nigeria’s democracy day. Road was fairly free. Weather was fair.  It did not rain. Cruising from Ikeja, Lagos State capital to Awoyaya took less than one hour. After waiting and nattering with fellow motoring journalists for about 75 minutes, inside the Coscharis headquarters, participants and guests were conveyed to the battle ground, muddy, hilly and sandy terrain akin to a mini golf course.

On arrival, something caught my attention. Two men were busy pumping water into one of the pockets of potholes dotting the test facility. I guessed that was meant to further roughen the routes of the Ranger and its drivers.

Competitors’ demeanour remained bright until rules of the contest were read. Deportment of majority of them changed immediately. A psychic reader would almost comprehend different thoughts and messages from their minds. One of them, a bit smiley, looked straight at the rough, bumpy terrain, as if saying inside him: ‘Let them roughen the ground as much as they want; I’m here to win’.

Cross section of Participants: Demeanour changed after taken in rules of the contest
Cross section of Participants: Demeanour changed after taking in rules of the contest

Another one put on a pictorial smile. While one of the two female participants, Nkechi Uzawa, who I gathered works in a bank, looked contemplative.

Before the rules were read, Mr. Josiah Samuel, Coscharis Group Managing Director, in an address delivered on his behalf by Mr. Abiona Babarinde, General Manager Marketing & Corporate Services, assured guests of witnessing an adrenaline soaked Odyssey.”

Rules of the contest, as stated by Mr. Felix Mahan, included test of speed, endurance, ability to solve words puzzle, using placards picked up from a distance of about 21 meters away, (one piece at a time) and maneuverability of Ford Ranger in a difficult and tense situation.

Words Puzzle Session

Placards picking was completed with speed. And group three, which was made up of Ugochukwu Onuiri, Fawole Moyo, Nkechi Uzawa and John Amadi was first to correctly arrange RANGER ODYSSEY, using the placards. So they won that session and celebrated.

Time and Speed Matters : Group members running and busy forming the name RANGER ODYSSEY within allotted time
Time and Speed Matters : Group members running and forming the name,RANGER ODYSSEY, within allotted time

Driving Session

Aside first driver to have a go, performance of the other eleven participants was characterized by tension. An important part of the last session was that, before take off, each contestant must first load 10 balls from a distance of about 12 feet away, running or jugging to minimize time spent. In essence, before sitting behind the wheel at all, each contestant would have covered not less than 100 feet, jugging or running. Afterwards, rule that did not help participant’s tension was that 10 balls loaded onto the ranger’s open load bed must be guarded from falling off.

First contestant to have a go took off with aggression. He recorded fastest time but lost his balls. He lost marks from that as well as group words formation contest. He did not make it.

At the end, Ugochukwu Onuiri , Fawole Moyo and John Amadi(all in group three) secured first, second and third

Nkechi, female participant, volleying her last ball into the truck load bed, ready to hit the rough road in the Ranger
Nkechi, female participant, volleying her last ball into the truck load bed, ready to hit the rough road in the Ranger

Nkechi: boarding the Ranger before take-off She went and returned in good time, but lost because she lost minutes struggling to wear seat belt
Nkechi: boarding the Ranger before take-off ; She went and returned in good time, but lost because she lost minutes, struggling to wear seat belt

position respectively and so will join  last year’s winner, Chinonso Okezuo, to represent  Nigeria at the boot camp in South Africa, from where only two will scale through to the Ranger Odyssey finale in Namibia.

In an interview with Motoring World after being declared top winner, Ugochukwu, aged 31, confessed he did not come for winning.

“I only hoped I could win”, he said eagerly and high spiritedly.” I came to just have fun, and it turned out that I won; so I’m very excited”.

Last Words

Meanwhile at least, one female participant would have made the first three, had she not been unduly tensed at take-off.  Both females lost about two minutes each, struggling to wear seat belt.  Had that not been the case, Nkechi was quick, with her balls in tact. But ‘seat-belting’ struggle pushed her to fourth position.

Don't say I didn't tell you:Contestants taking final briefs before take off
Don’t say I didn’t tell you:Contestants taking final briefs before take-off

Participant with highest speed, he lost marks from his group and lost his balls; so he lost
Participant with highest speed, who lost marks from his group and lost his balls; so he lost

[box type=”success” align=”alignright” ]PARTICIPANTS’ ROLL CALL: •Funlola Abiola Odulola •Balogun Olaniyi Azeez •Olukunmi Alalade •Enumah Stephen •Olisakwe Vincent •Anthony Uba •Peters Esere •Anieto Nnaemeka •John Amadi •Nkechi Uzawa •Fawole Moyo •Ugochukwu Onuiri [/box]

Most Popular

No Plan to cut Ties with our Nigerian Mercedes-Benz Dealers, says Weststar

Weststar Associates Limited, Nigeria’s authorized General Distributor of Mercedes-Benz has refuted any plan or possibility to sack its distributors across the...

FRSC Honours Motorist for Strict Compliance to Traffic Regulations

The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) has honoured a motorist, Mr Ade Omolewa, for his strict compliance to road traffic rules...

Reps to Investigate NNPC Fuel Subsidy Claim

The House of Representatives has constituted an Ad-hoc Committee to investigate the Petroleum Products Subsidy regime between 2017 and 2021 by...

Oil falls 3% on Uncertainty over Future OPEC + Output, Recession Fears

Oil prices sank around 3% on Thursday as OPEC+ confirmed it would only increase output in August as much as previously...