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Outback Challenge


Words by Andrew Middleton, image by Shane Gerrish, Norm Needham and Christian Whamond

Up for it mate?

Having featured two Rad Rigs specifically built for the Outback Challenge, we thought it only fair to explain what this epic battle of man, machine and mountain is all about. Since 1999, the event has premiered as one of Australia’s most extreme (and biggest) 4×4 challenges, where drivers and co-drivers are tested to their physical and mental limits through both day and night.

The outback challenge is a six-day event which tests drivers’ skill, strategy and endurance, as well as the sheer robustness of the vehicles that competitors prepare. Unfortunately, because of sponsorship issues, the 2012 and 2013 Outback Challenge (OBC) events failed to materialise, but that has all changed for the 2014 event and into the future.

The new event director, Steven Tjepkema, has introduced an interesting new format which takes cues from winch challenge racing, rally racing and enduro motorcycle racing. Every day, competitors are given a new roadbook with GPS points that they have to get to. Many times there are no tracks at all, and as competitors link the dots on their GPS, new paths must be forged through unimaginably bad terrain.