Camel Trophy 1995 - Mundo Maya

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Camel Trophy 1995, the only event not to be named after its geographic location, was held in Central America. The name however was relevant, as it means the "world of the Maya", the ancient civilization who once dominated the region. CT 95 was the most ambitious ever in terms of countries visited, involving as it did transits through the five Central American countries of Belize, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. After many months of planning the event eventually started in the Jaguar Plaza of the Mayan Temple at Lamanai, approximately two hours drive north west of Belize City.

 

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After almost two days of special tasks, held in the searing heat and unbelievable humidity of Lamamnai, the teams headed towards the north, through the Mennonite settlements near Orange Walk to the unmarked border crossing into the Yucatan Province of Mexico. Heavily overgrown tracks, forests of thorn bush and the smothering tropical rainforest brought the teams to an archaeological site near the ruined Mayan city of Rio Azul. Two days were spent here conducting an area survey in conjunction with archaeologists from Mexico, Guatemela, Belize and canada, before setting off again south, into the vast sparsely populated Guatemalan province of El Peten. Past the mighty temples at Tikal, then south east to Lake Peten Itza (Flores) for a rafting challenge.

   

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The searing heat and humidity of the tropical rainforest was left behind as the teams headed further south, beginning the gradual ascent, along narrow dusty trails into the pine covered mountains of Alta Verapaz before eventually climbing into the true Guatemalan Highlands via San Cristobal, Sacapulas and Santa Cruz Del Quiche. From here, in the cooler but dusty high country, the route began its sweep south and east, bypassing Guatamala City, towards Lago Guija, the border with El Salvador.  The Camel Trophy donated a research centre high in the country's "Cloud Forest Reserve".   From here the route headed north back into Guatemala before turning east via the Jupilingo River and across the border into Honduras and the magnificent Mayan ruins at Copan. The rutted mountain tracks and dense forest of this area provided some of the most difficult driving conditions of the whole route, especially the winding mountain trail over the Sierra de las Minas from Zacapa to Lake Isobel. Rumour had it that Camel Trophy was the first expedition since  the conquistadors to be adventurous enough to tackle these mountains ... But the conquistadors didn't have the Land Rover Discovery!

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From Lake Isobel a fairly straight, but incredibly rough, track north brought the teams back to the border with Belize and back into the steamy heat of the tropical rainforest. The final set of special tasks and the eventual finish location for the event were at Xunantunich - "Stone Woman" - the greatest of all the Mayan temples in Belize.  It was a fitting end for what was a tough, challenging and rewarding event.

  (Content from McLean Chapman Associates)

 

Team Vehicles: Land Rover Discovery 300Tdi
Support Vehicles: Land Rover Defender 110 300Tdi
Distance: 1,520 km by road
Number of Teams: 20

Participating Countries:

Belgium Steve Wittevrongel & Serge Bruynkens
Canary Islands Miguel Woolmington & Tomas Lorenzo
Czech Republic Zdenek Nemec & Marek Rocejdl Camel Trophy & Special Tasks Award
France Gerard Champoiral & Lionel Lattard
Germany Christorph Wieland & Jurgen Hellgeth
Greece Evangelos Psychas & George Tzavelas
Holland Erik-Jan de Rooij & Johan Warmerdam
Hungary Jozsef Nageyb & Peter Bakos
Israel Yariv Yaari & Haim Hadar
Italy Stefano Bionconi & Matteo Pellin
Japan Katsumi Murayama & Atsushi Sato
Poland Wojciech Stanowiak & Marek Klar
Russia Pavel Bogomolow & Sergei Fenev Team Spirit Award
Scandinavia Jorn Hauge & Niels Kokborg
South Africa Marc Pincente & Paul Leslie-Smith
Spain Belen Sanchez & Lluis Moret
Switzerland Manuela Catalini & Christian Gremaud
Turkey Fatih Koseoglu & Orhun Ege Koyagasi
United Kingdom Mike Oxley & Rob Conner
United States Daphne Green & Jim Swett

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