South Africa's first Landy Festival, held at the Malonjeni Guest Farm near the Vaal River on 3 and 4 March, delivered a World record with 1001 Land Rovers completed the 27km convoy - beating the previous mark by 653 vehicles.
The festival brought together Land Rover enthusiasts, but its main aim was to set a world record for the most Land Rovers on parade. In April 2007 Kingsley Holgate set the bar at 347 as he led a convoy away from Cape Point at the start of his Afrika Outside Edge Expedition. That record stood until last year, when a Convoy For Heroes held in the UK beat it by just one Landy.
In the build-up to the record attempt a Pimp My Landy competition was held on the Landy Festival website. Every person who pre-registered for the world record attempt went into the draw to win R67 000 worth of Land Rover accessories.
“Nothing draws as much attention as people working.”
Ulrich Niehaus was drawn as the winner and had his Defender kitted out there and then. Sponsor Wayne Coombe-Heath explained: “People just love watching other people work. So, we decided to take someone's standard Land Rover and kit it out with absolutely everything - right there.”
850 people pre-registered for the festival; they came from all parts of Southern Africa in mini-convoys of friends and club members, in Land Rovers of every type and age, from Cape Town, Kimberley, Durban, Bloemfontein and Postmasburg. Still more came from Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Swaziland and Namibia.
The oldest Land Rover at the festival was a 1949 Series 1 owned by Rick Mason. This classic vehicle was used as a workhorse in the timber plantations of the Natal Midlands until Rick rescued and restored it. Festival goers were able to camp on the farm where they could exchange Land Rover stories around the campfire. Some eager Landy lovers even arrived days in advance to offer their assistance to the organisers.
At the stalls in the Bush Mall under the blue-gum trees, enthusiasts could check out everything from fancy shocks to seat cover and even branded clothing.
The Gabriel Wings aerobatic team put on a breathtaking display on both days, with top pilot Scully Levin in the lead.
LINED UP AND READY TO GO
The convoy took place on Sunday. A holding area had been set aside and each Land Rover had to be officially signed into the area. Lawyers recorded the driver's details as well as the vehicle. It was a time-consuming process and by 11am there were already 750 Land Rovers ready to rumble.
By the time organiser Craig Dutton gave his 1pm drivers’ briefing there were 1007 Land Rovers lined up and ready to go.
At 2pm the convoy of 1007 Landys got underway. One of the vehicles did not start, three crashed into each other and a further two dropped out leaving 1001 in the convoy which stretched for 27km and took two hours to pass any given point.
Dutton now has to submit data, video and picture evidence to the Guinness Book of World Records to ratify the record - and he'll be applying for two World records - one for the biggest Land Rover convoy (1001) and another for the largest number of Land Rovers in one place (1007).