Ford Launches Explorer Sport Trac Challenge

Dearborn, Mich., February 14, 2000 ¿ Registration is now open for thenext phase in the evolution of outdoor sports competitions. The ExplorerSport Trac Challenge will combine pure outdoor pursuits with professionaloutfitter skills, including competitions on water, snow, rock and dirt.

The Explorer Sport Trac Challenge incorporates four of today’s hottesthigh-endurance sports ¿ sport climbing, whitewater rodeo kayaking, crosscountry mountain biking and backcountry skiing or snowboarding. Twelvefour-person teams will compete in three preliminary competitions held inbackcountry locations throughout the United States.

Each competition is ”earn-your-turns,” which means skiers andsnowboarders must skin or snowshoe up to the top of the slope before theydescend. Mountain bikers must complete a grueling uphill course beforetackling the downhill. Rock climbers must complete three pitches, eachabout a 1/2 mile apart, requiring them to run from pitch to pitch afterthey rappel. And kayakers will have to portage several portions of theriver run.

The three preliminary competitions will be held in:Mammoth Lakes, Calif., March 25-26Conway, NH., April 29-30Vail, Colo., May 20-21

The winners of each preliminary event ¿ determined by the highestcomposite score at the end of all four disciplines ¿ will test theirskills against each other and a “Ford Outfitters Team” during the finalcompetition in Hood River, Ore., this June.

“In recruiting the Ford Outfitters Team, we didn’t want just the bigstars of each sport,” said Ed Molchany, Explorer Sport Trac brandmanager. “We wanted professional outfitters who personify the sport ¿who are respected by their peers for their ambassadorship. We think wefound them.”

The Ford Outfitters Team includes:Mike Hattrup – Skiing – Fully certified American Mountain GuideAssociation mountaineering guide.Tiffany Levine – Rock Climbing – Owner/Operator Proclimb guide serviceand nationally ranker competition climberPhil DeRiemer – Whitewater Kayaking – Owner/Operator DeRiemer AdventureKayaking,Dave Hagen – Mountain Biking – Owner/Operator Durango Single Track Toursand Durango Mountain Bike Camp.

In addition to the Ford Outfitters Team, two teams will be recruited fromthe general public, and one team will be comprised of Ford employees.Other corporations (Nike ACG and Mountain Hardware) and publications(Outside, Men’s Journal and National Geographic Explorer) are alsosponsoring teams.

Individuals interested in becoming a Ford Explorer Sport Trac team member¿ as part of either a general team or the Ford employee team ¿ mustcomplete an application at www.sporttracchallenge.com. Only those withsolid experience and incredible mental and physical stamina need apply.The Ford Explorer Sport Trac Challenge is not for amateurs.

Those not quite up to the task can watch every exhilarating moment,tracking participants’ heart rates and VO2 conditions and predicting thewinners at www.sporttracchallenge.com. In addition, Fox Sports willbroadcast four Ford Explorer Sport Trac Challenge segments this spring.

During the course of the four competitions, participants will vie for atotal of $200,000 in cash and prizes, and the winners of the finalcompetition will be awarded 2001 Explorer Sport Tracs.

The Explorer Sport Trac will be the first SUV of its kind on the road.It combines the comfort and refinement of a sport utility vehicle withthe added versatility of an open, dedicated cargo area in one ruggedpackage. The 2001 Ford Explorer Sport Trac, available in two- orfour-wheel-drive, began to hit Ford dealer showrooms earlier this month.