Europe’s biggest trailer maker has helped two intrepid Danish adventurers roar to victory in one of the world’s toughest rallies.
Aboard their powerful all-terrain vehicle Jacob Glad alongside his friend and navigator Philip Hansen were overall winners of the famous Intercontinental event covering 2,000 miles of the toughest terrain on the planet from Spain to Senegal in a new record time of just over 58 hours.
That was despite having to deal with a serious electrical fire in the middle of the Sahara Desert which threatened to put an end to their hopes of even finishing.
Supporting their team through every gruelling mile was an Ifor Williams Trailers box van loaded with all their vital back-up equipment and emergency supplies.
The rugged BV 106 trailer, which was packed with spare parts, tools and food for the daring duo and their four-strong support team, was the automatic choice for 45-year-old Jacob who is Chief Executive Officer of Glad Trading, the official Danish distributor for North Wales based Ifor Williams Trailers since 2010.
“I chose it because it’s tough, reliable and has the sort of dependability that Ifor Williams Trailers stands for – and it certainly didn’t let us down,” he said.
This was the fourth time that Jacob and Philip, also 45 and a fellow extreme rallying enthusiast, had entered the Intercontinental.
In the 2013 event they powered their way to third place in the Car class, took second place in 2014 and won it in 2015. Their latest entry saw them add the same class win to their overall crown.
Over 70 specially prepared 4×4 vehicles on both two and four wheels took part in the 2017 event, blasting away from Almeria in southern Spain on January 23 and taking 14 testing days to reach Lac Rose, Dakar in Senegal on February 5.
The annual off-road event has been devised specially as an adventure tour for motor enthusiasts.
The route passes through some of the most spectacular landscapes in Morocco, Mauritania and Senegal, from the endless dunes of the Sahara to the desolate expanses of coastal deserts, the rocky trails of the Atlas Mountains, and the low-lying savannah.
During each stage, competitors race against the clock on an off-road course navigating with GPS receivers and earning credits by reaching control points.
Jacob was at the wheel of a formidable four-wheel drive beast known as the QT Wildcat which is built by a company called Bowler in the UK and has a modified frame and chassis.
At its mighty heart is a Land Rover 4.4litre V8 petrol engine – again a natural choice as Glad Trading, started by Jacob’s father Peer over 40 years ago and still based in Kalundborg on the island of Zealand, is also one of the official service centres for Land Rover in Denmark.
Jacob said: “The Wildcat has a very thirsty engine and there’s a 375-litre petrol tank on board which didn’t leave much room inside for all our spare parts and other supplies and is why we took along the Ifor Williams trailer.
“It was towed by our Land Rover Discovery 4 back-up vehicle, which itself had a team of four aboard including a mechanic and our official cameraman.
“The trailer is brand new and was delivered to us from the factory in mid-December.
“We spent a total of 60 hours on adaptions for the rally, including fitting a spare wheel, lights inside and out plus a battery and a generator for extra power. All this fitted in quite easily as the trailer has a large capacity of over seven square metres.
“We also installed a GPS tracker so we could find it again if we had to leave it behind in the desert for any reason which thankfully we didn’t.”
He added: “The whole rally went very well for us and there were no injuries or illnesses involving any of the team.
“Sometimes you can get sick from eating the wrong thing but we too took along all our own dried food in the trailer.
“The Wildcat performed very well and the only real problem we had was an electrical fire as we drove through the Sahara Desert in Mauretania. Although we were able to put it out very quickly it had melted a lot of wiring which was very close to the fuel tank.
“Despite being in the middle of the desert we found a small village where someone was able to repair it before we were on our way again.”
Jacob said that along with a huge variety of terrain the team also had to deal with some big contrasts in the weather.
When they started off in Morocco the temperature at one stage in the Atlas Mountains was minus four degrees and they had to drive through 20 cms of snow.
“In the Sahara we went through a sandstorm when we couldn’t see five metres in front of us and later in Senegal the daytime temperature was 30-35C which made the engine very hot and forced us to slow down to half speed for a time,” he recalled.
“Along the way, we changed clothing from ski underwear to shorts and tee-shirts.
“At the end of all this we were delighted to become overall and Car class winners and it was great to reach Dakar where we checked into a four-star hotel and enjoyed clean beds and clean toilets for the first time in two weeks.
“I’m delighted with the way the Ifor Williams trailer performed and coped with all sorts of rough terrain.
“We’ve now brought it back to Denmark and because of all the work we put into adapting it for the rally we’d like to use it again.
“I’m not sure we’ll be entering the Intercontinental and might now start looking for another challenge with another long-range rally.
“People have asked why we kept on doing the Intercontinental so far away from civilisation with only cold water showers and very poor toilets but it’s a fantastic adventure and you can imagine what sort of pictures it leaves in your mind.”
Andrew Reece-Jones, Design Engineering Manager at Ifor Williams Trailers, said: “Glad Trading is one of our most respected distributors so we were very pleased to hear that Jacob chose a BV106 trailer for such a crucial role in this rally.
“As he knows from his own experience as an Ifor Williams Trailers distributor for so long, this is one of our most popular models which combines ease of handling with the kind of robustness which was obviously very much in demand over some of the roughest terrain in the world.
“We’re absolutely overjoyed that it stood him in such great stead and helped his team to victory in this extremely prestigious event.
“Everyone back here in North Wales was rooting for Team Glad every step of the way but we were totally confident the trailer wouldn’t let them down.”