Upon reaching the races' ultimate destination Malherbe, a conservationist and environmental activist, and Van Kets, the only African to have rowed any ocean solo and unsupported, will overstrike 1 000 coins from the SA Mint on an antique press at the South Pole. This will be another world first for South Africa, as no coins have ever been minted in Antarctica.
The unique medallions will feature Antarctica on the reverse and promote the fight against climate change. It will pay tribute to the history of scientific explorers and the adventurers that crossed the ice-laden paths of this unforgiving continent to reach the South Pole 100 years ago.
During their journey the two South Africans (Team Mission Possible) will be logistically supported by a Toyota Hilux built in the Toyota South Africa Motors plant in Prospecton, Durban, before being converted by the Icelandic company Arctic Trucks (AT). The AT38 Hilux was donated to the South African Antarctic base SANAE last year, but with the blessing of the South African National Antarctic Programme (SANAP) it has been converted to AT44 specification to participate as support vehicle for the EWR race.
Leading up to the race the South Africans have trained in Iceland and the glaciers of the French Alps to prepare them for the tough task ahead. Their endeavours, as well as those of the other competitors in the South Pole Race 2011/Centenary Race 2012, will be documented in a TV documentary series by the acclaimed South African TV production company Urban Brew called Cold Sweat. The programme will be aired on SABC3 in April next year.
The epic race, organised by Extreme World Races (EWR), will see sixteen competitors from seven nations, competing as seven teams, racing on foot and with sleds to be the first to the pole. Weather permitting the race will start on New Year’s Day, 75 km from the frozen coastline at Novo base. The competitors will cover 770 km, negotiating multiple crevasses, crossing snow bridges, and rising to 3 000 m on the high plateau in their quest to reach the Pole.
The other six teams, with competitors from Britain, Norway, Ireland, the Netherlands and Germany, will be also be supported by Hilux AT44 vehicles -- of which no less than five (including two 6x6 Hilux AT44’s) – were built in South Africa.
The progress of Malherbe and Van Kets, as well as the other teams and their support Hilux vehicles, can be followed on the websites www.coldsweat.tv, www.antarcticachallenge.com or www.extremeworldraces.com and with the latest technology the GPS position data, including latitude, longitude, elevation, heading, speed and distance covered by every team is tracked, including other parameters such as the ambient temperature, heart rate and core body temperature of each tracked athlete.