Spirit of Amarok 2015
Spirit of Amarok 2015

The Ultimate International Amateur 4x4 Championship

7 – 13 August 2016

The only amateur 4x4 championship with international status: the Spirit of Amarok Trophy. From behind the wheel of the Volkswagen Amarok, qualifying teams from Australia, Botswana, Namibia, Russia and South Africa went head-to-head in the 2016 host country, South Africa, on a course designed by rally and track racing legend, Sarel van der Merwe himself.

The winner of the 2016 Spirit of Amarok Trophy takes home the magnificent Wolf Trophy. ‘Amarok’ is ‘Wolf’ in ancient Inuit, a very fitting symbol of the qualities of patience, strength and determination that the Spirit of Amarok Trophy winner must demonstrate to be named the toughest amateur off-road driver in the World.

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South Africa

Host to the 2016 Spirit of Amarok Trophy

Following the great excitement and success of the inaugural Spirit of Amarok Trophy held in Botswana last year, this year’s location was set to up the ante even further. The 2016 Finalists met in the Kalahari Desert in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa. This hot, dusty and unforgiving rugged terrain put both man and machine to the test to see which country had the best driver/navigator team.

Southern African teams were selected from the demanding elimination rounds of the 2016 Spirit of Africa Trophy that took place from April to June. The Australian teams qualified in their own local, equally challenging tournament, the Spirit of Amarok Australia, on the 6th, 7th and 8th of May.

What to expect at the Spirit of Amarok Trophy


A series of challenging trails are mapped out by Sarel in the sands and rocky patches of the Kalahari Desert. The trails test drivers and navigators to their limits as the Amarok demonstrates just how much it is capable of. Contestants need to expect the unexpected from Sarel.


Set in the African desert, the teams tackle steep dongas, rocky ascents and plunging valleys and dunes. They needed remarkable skill and grit to guide the Amarok across sand, gravel, mud and dense vegetation.

Teams needed to complete two types of challenges, speed and technical, on different types of rugged terrain.


To be named the toughest amateur 4x4 driver in the world and take home the legendary Wolf Trophy teams need to show talent and toughness in the following areas:

Driver Skill

Advanced off-road know-how.
Exceptional driver and navigator relationship.
Ability to handle an intense and pressurized environment.


Quick thinking and even quicker reaction times.
Ability to drive confidently off-road at up to 120 km/h.


Great driver and navigator time keeping.
Speed regulation.
Distance calculations.


Ability to handle intense off-road driving within a time frame.
Monitor obstacles within time frame.
Exceptional vehicle handling.

The Rally Legend

Sarel van der Merwe

Sarel van der Merwe is a motorsport legend. He began his racing career in saloon cars and went on to win multiple championships in rallies and on the race track. His most notable achievements are winning the 1984 24 Hour Daytona race, placing third on debut at the 1984 Le Mans and winning the South African Rally Drivers Championship a record 11 times.

In 2002, Sarel was awarded the Motorsport South Africa Lifetime Achievement Award. He is the most versatile driver South Africa has ever produced, and the only obstacle that kept him out of Formula 1 was his imposing height.

The Spirit of Amarok Trophy is plotted and closely overseen by Sarel personally. From designing each speed stage, to setting the target time for every off-road challenge and planning the point allocation and deduction methodology, Sarel is the ultimate architect.

The contestants

Spirit of Amarok 2016

  • Andrew Sim
    Andrew McNay
  • John Morton
    Danny Young
  • Paul Young
    Adam Barr
  • Fritz Bezuidenhout
    Sybil Fouchë
  • Donald Inambao
    Kenny Lenong
  • Brynn Morgan
    Chris Manger
  • Alwyn Jordaan
    Melanie Jordaan
  • Coenie Kotzé
    Jannie Viljoen
  • Raymond Witbooi
    David Nell
  • Alan Enileev
    Alexander Pelevin
  • Igor Kliucharev
    Maksim Andreev
South Africa
  • Juan Encelbrecht
    Eugene Thornhill
  • Jaacie Visagie
    Natasha Visagie
  • Nico van Staden
    Soon Bezuidenhout
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The 2016 Spirit of Amarok Trophy

Well done to the teams who took top positions after the grueling challenges from the 2016 Spirit of Amarok Trophy.

If you would like to see all the excitement from the 2016 event, watch the action-packed, adrenaline-filled, Spirit of Amarok International Finals below.

Watch the finals
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2016 Spirit of Amarok 1st place

Jaacie & Natasha Visagie

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2016 Spirit of Amarok 2nd place

Alwyn & Melanie Jordaan

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2016 Spirit of Amarok 3rd place

Juan Engelbrecht & Eugene Thornhill

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2016 Spirit of Amarok 1st place

South Africa

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2016 Spirit of Amarok 2nd place


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2016 Spirit of Amarok 3rd place


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2016 Spirit of Amarok 4th place


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2016 Spirit of Amarok 5th place


Qualifying Rounds

Spirit of Africa Trophy

Southern Africa

The annual Spirit of Africa Trophy was created in 2004 by rally legend, Sarel van der Merwe, to give everyday drivers the opportunity to test their off-road driving skills in a competitive environment.

When the Volkswagen Amarok was launched in 2010 it immediately became the official sponsor and vehicle of choice. Year after year, the Amarok has proven that it’s tough enough to conquer the most demanding speed and 4x4 technical challenges that Sarel can devise.

Open to any two-person team from Southern Africa, the Spirit of Africa Trophy takes place over no less than 25 grueling Elimination rounds. The top scoring 20 teams out of the 500 teams that participate in the Elimination rounds are invited to compete in the tough Final, where the fiercely contested Spirit of Africa Trophy is awarded.

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Spirit of Amarok Australia

The Spirit of Amarok Australia (previously known as Mud, Sweat & Gears) is a professionally designed, all-terrain, all-skills, money-can’t-buy experience at one of Australia’s most demanding 4x4 proving grounds.

Teams get behind the wheel and test their skills in a series of 4x4 activities with the winning team from each day taking the ultimate prize: to represent Australia against the best in the world in the Spirit of Amarok International Finals.

Learn more