Speed Demons

big wheels on the continent

The second 2010-11 Arctic Trucks supported trip from Novo was by the Kazakhstan National Geographic Society (KNGS), they originally planned a trip from Novo to Pole with 7-10 people, using three or four of those Arctic Trucks AT44 vehicles, including some of the same ones used by the Indian expedition. They cut back their plans to two vehicles and a 4-person crew, Konstantin Orlov and Stanislav Makarenko from KNGS, Hlynur Siguršsson from Arctic Trucks, and Andrey Myller of ALCI. The group departed Novo on 4 December (SP time), following the same route as shown above for the Indian expedition. They originally planning to go only to the fuel depot at 83°S, but they made such good time that they continued on to Pole, arriving at midday on 9 December--total travel time of 108 hours. They left Pole the next day, returning to Novo late evening on the 14th. This trip was a test run for a much larger expedition which they planned for 2011-12.

nice ride
Above, a photo of the KNGS team en route, from the Arctic Trucks expedition blog that covered the expedition.
truck stop
Hlynur Siguršsson, Arctic Trucks expedition driver and mechanic, gets his hero shot.

On 12 October 2011 it was announced that this quickly-planned trip made it into the Guiness Book of World Records for the "fastest overland journey to the South Pole." The numbers...a distance of 2308 km or 1434 miles from Novo to Pole in 108 hours (4.5 days)...that's an average speed of 21.4 km/h or 13-1/4 mph, with mileage of 2.2 km per liter or 5.2 miles per gallon. The return trip, while unofficial, was even faster--3-1/2 days averaging 27.5 km/h or 17.1 mph. Whew.

Here is the Arctic Trucks page describing the record-setting expedition...at the bottom are links to their 2011-12 ventures. And this is the page linking to the PDF press release (the photos at the top and upper right are from that press release).

Ford vans!

The third rubber-tired venture, the Moon Regan expedition, used two Icecool-modified 6x6 Ford vans to support their tracked Bio- Inspired Vehicle. The vehicles were flown into Union Glacier, the starting point of the journey. The team originally planned a round-trip to McMurdo via Pole, but because of delays the turned around when the reached the Ross Ice Shelf at the bottom of the Leverett Glacier.

At right, the Moon Regan folks at Pole (my coverage of the expedition, with more photos and credits).

ready steady go

The fourth vehicle-supported project was the Extreme World Races event between German and Austrian teams. Sponsored by Extreme World Races as a preliminary event to their more massive race planned for 2011-12, it featured two four-person teams from Germany and Austria. At right is a shot of the race start, also showing a couple of the Arctic Trucks Hiluxes. My coverage, more photos, video links and credits are on this page.