NELLIS DUNES, Nev. – Just twenty miles north of the bright lights and lavish casinos in Las Vegas, Lisa Lieb (Durango, CO) and her partner Tom Lyons (Reno, NV) won it big – taking top honors at the 2008 Land Rover G4 Challenge Nevada Passage which wrapped up four days and 1,000 miles of adventure competition at the sandy Nellis Dunes this afternoon.
With the victory Lyons and Lieb move on to the international selection event at Eastnor Castle in Herefordshire, United Kingdom in early 2009 along with the second place team of Peter Hanson (Minneapolis, MN) and Sarah McMahan (Incline Village, NV). At the UK event one male and one female competitor from those two teams will be selected to represent the United States against teams from 17 other countries in the three-week-long Land Rover G4 Challenge finals in Asia mid-2009.
In today’s event teams took to slipping and sliding in their LR3’s at the Nellis sand dunes until they got stuck – then a winching competition broke out. Winching is the art of getting your vehicle out of trouble using the 100-feet of coiled steel-braded cable mounted on the front of each competitor’s Land Rover. In this case the “trouble” was getting buried in deep, soft sand with a couple hundred feet of steep sandy hill to go.
Pulling a fully loaded 6,000 pound vehicle complete with a kayak and two bikes strapped to the roof straight up a sand dune isn’t an everyday occurrence, but a skill that will come in mighty handy should the situation ever arise on the adventures these athletes embark on and was excellent training for the teams that advance and will face similar challenges in England.
With Land Rover’s carving their own unique configurations in sand bowls at Nellis, recreational ATV and dirt bike riders having some fun, and fighter pilots zooming overhead on their way back to nearby Nellis Air Force base, being in the middle of the desert couldn’t get much more fun and clearly is one of the reasons why National Geographic Adventure magazine called Las Vegas America’s No.1 Adventure City.
Team Red – Jim Perkins and Brandyn Roark-Gray – posted the fastest winching time of the day at 14:52, eight seconds better than Phil Glenn and Laura Home of Team Lime Green – but the story of the day was Lyons and Lieb winning the four-day adventure race.
The pair won the kayak and mountain biking stages, placed second in the trail run and communications stages, were charismatic and charming in the face of adversity, and steady everywhere else leading to the overall victory.
“This was just an unbelievable experience,” said Lieb. “It was a week worth of constant overstimulation and I’m totally exhausted but in a good way. The landscape here in Nevada is really breathtaking and being able to see it all behind the wheel of a Land Rover that can handle just about anything made it all that much sweeter.”
Twenty athletes, 10 teams, 1,000 miles across Nevada’s spectacular wide open spaces, camping under the stars, adventure worthy Land Rovers, amateur athletes pushing the limits of human potential, discovering hidden talents, and ultimately living life to the fullest – the Land Rover G4 Challenge Nevada Passage was all that and more.
Nearly 100 hours of video was captured by the 20-member strong TEAM Unlimited television crew during the week, creating perhaps an even bigger challenge than the event itself – editing it all down for a one-hour show. The broadcast will start its run in national syndication in August, with airings through February of 2009.
Log on to www.nevadapassage.com for daily highlights and photo galleries, and follow along at landroverG4challenge.com as Lieb, Lyons, McMahan, and Hanson strive to become the first Americans to win an international G4 competition. Media interested in receiving footage or photos should contact: