The pro paddler, who entered the annual competition through Media24, was partnered with obstacle racing legend Hanneke Dannhauser and despite tough competition, managed to amass enough points to win a new Toyota Fortuner.
The fifth edition of the Fortuner Challenge was the first to be held in Gauteng, rather than the traditional backdrop of the Garden Route. Despite the change in scenery, as well as a shortened one-day format, the event retained its core mechanics and offered a stern test to both contestants and heroes. As before, four heroes – all related to Toyota in one way or another – were partnered with four contestants, who entered the competition through one of Toyota’s media partners.
This year’s heroes were Toyota Gazoo Racing SA driver Giniel de Villiers, Toyota Cheetahs rugby player Junior Pokomela, fitness athlete and obstacle racer Hanneke Dannhauser and fitness queen and personal trainer Mapule Ndhlovu. Toyota Cheetahs player Clayton Blommetjies was the reserve hero. The four contestants were Carla Erasmus from Johannesburg, Harold Durnez from Cape Town, Andries Kruger from Pretoria and Mark, who hails from Fish Hoek in the Cape.
The heroes and contestants were paired into teams of two, and they took on five challenging tasks. These included pulling a Toyota Fortuner across a field, driving a testing 4x4 course and taking on an urban obstacle course in the ruins of the old Syringa Spa at Avianto, near Muldersdrift in Gauteng.
Two of Toyota’s partners, Garmin and Specialized, also sponsored tasks. The participants took on the Garmin Thread the Needle, which required precision and communication, while the Specialized cycle task taxed the contestants to the max, especially given the Gauteng heat.
While winner Keeling is best known for his prowess as paddler, he persevered in the tough conditions and won, walking away with the keys to a Fortuner.