Camel Trophy 1981 - Sumatra

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Following the success of the 1980 event, applications flooded in for the ten positions on Camel Trophy 1981. Whilst still a German-only event, the five teams, consisting of eight men and two women, set out to tackle another ferocious expedition route through the forests of the Far East. The route selected, on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, required the teams to drive 1,600 km across the equator from Medan in the north to Jambi in the south.

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The organisers had learned well from the 1980 event and this time round selected Range Rover as being the only vehicle considered reliable and robust enough to withstand the unimaginable punishment inflicted on cars in the equatorial jungles. However, Sumatra confronted the teams with many other problems and difficulties, most notably a dramatic change in climate caused by the variety of terrain. Having started their journey in the comparatively cool volcanic mountain ranges of the north, the convoy of vehicles then headed into the tropical swamps of the south.

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The humidity and temperature change was so extreme that the teams were left sapped of energy and strength. Despite the elements, all five teams finally made it through to the finish with victory going to Christian Swoboda and Knuth Mentel in what had been an extremely memorable second Camel Trophy.

 (Content from McLean Chapman Associates)


Team Vehicles: Range Rover V8 petrol 3-door (5)
Support Vehicles Range Rover V8 petrol 3-door
Distance: 1,600 km by road
Number of Teams: 5

Participating Countries:

Germany 1 Christian Swoboda & Knuth Mentel Camel Trophy
Germany 2  Norbert Sudmann & Focke Hofmann
Germany 3 Hans Horst Fischer & Wolfgang Bays
Germany 4 Klaus J Beye & Hartwig Thees
Germany 5 Karin Stoppa & Anneliese Valldorf