A Flintshire-based trailer firm is helping two intrepid Danish adventurers to safely complete a gruelling drive of almost 2,000 miles in one of the world’s toughest rallies.
Aboard their powerful all-terrain vehicle Jacob Glad and his friend Philip Hansen are competing in the famous Intercontinental Rally from Spain to Senegal in Africa later this month.
And they’ll be taking with them an Ifor Williams Trailers box van loaded with all their vital back-up equipment and emergency supplies.
The rugged trailer, which will be 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 since 2010.
“I chose it because it’s tough, reliable and has the sort of dependability that Ifor Williams stands for – and that’s crucially important in such a demanding rally,” he said.
This will be the fourth time that Jacob and Philip, also 45 and a fellow extreme rallying enthusiast, have taken part in 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.
They’re hoping for their second victory in this year’s rally which sees 74 specially prepared 4×4 vehicles on both two and four wheels blasting away from Almeria in southern Spain on January 23 before 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, 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 will take the wheel of a mighty 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 heart is a Land Rover 4.4 litre 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 QT Wildcat has a very thirsty engine and has to have a 375-litre petrol tank on board which doesn’t leave much room inside for all our spare parts and other supplies and is why we’re taking along the Ifor Williams trailer.
“It will be towed by our Land Rover Discovery 4 back-up vehicle, which itself will have a team of four aboard including a mechanic and our official cameraman.
“The trailer is brand new and was delivered to us from the North Wales factory in mid-December.
“It’s since had quite a bit of work done on it for the rally, including being fitted with a spare wheel, lights inside and out plus a battery and a generator for extra power. All this fits in quite easily as the trailer has a large capacity of over seven square metres.
“We’ve also installed a GPS tracker which is very important because if there’s a problem with the QT Wildcat and our support vehicle has to leave the trailer behind somewhere in the desert while it comes looking for us we’ll need to find it again with the aid of satellite navigation.
“The dried food we’ll be carrying in the trailer is also vital because although meals are provided at each of the stop-off points on the rally, if we have a problem in between we’ll have to rely on our own supplies.
“This actually happened two years ago when a guy on a motorbike got himself lost and had to eat his emergency food until he was found about a day later.”
Jacob added: “Philip, who I’ve known since childhood and will be my co-driver and navigator on the rally, and myself are both very keen 4×4 rally enthusiasts and had taken part in a number of events in Denmark before we entered the Intercontinental for the first time in 2013.
“We decided to take part because we were looking for a new kind of challenge and this event certainly supplies that. Once you’ve tried it you just love it, which is why we keep on entering it.
“After taking third and runner-up places we were lucky enough to win our class in 2015, also driving the QT Wildcat, and we’re looking for another win this time around.
“Once we’ve finished the rally and return to Denmark we plan to leave the Ifor Williams trailer behind so that it can be used by the Red Cross for their excellent work in Africa.
“We’re delighted to do this because it’s built so well that even after this very challenging event it will definitely still have many more miles of excellent service left in it.”
Andrew Reece-Jones, Design Engineering Manager at Ifor Williams Trailers, said: “Glad Trading is a highly respected distributor so we’re very pleased to hear that Jacob has chosen a BV106-6’ trailer for such a crucial role in this rally.
“As he knows from his own experience as an Ifor Williams distributor for so long, this is one of our most popular models which combines ease of handling with the kind of robustness which is going to be very much in demand over some of the roughest terrain on the planet.
“Everyone here wishes him the very best of luck in his quest to achieve victory in the Intercontinental for a second time.
“It’s also very gratifying to hear that after the rally Jacob will be making the great gesture of handing over the trailer to the Red Cross, which is a very worthy cause.”