MIRFIELD man Steve Burgess has reached another landmark in his epic globetrotting expedition to drive a modified Land Rover from Mirfield to Cape Horn in Chile.
Steve, 52, and partner Nicky Spinks, 40, have undertaken the trek with fellow adventurers Simon Dedman, 44, of Mirfield, and 38-year-old Dan Evans, from Skipton.
The intrepid travellers, who set out on January 29, have now reached Yakutsk – known as the City of Diamonds and Gold – in eastern Russia.
Steve and his party have been sponsored by Brighouse-based Millers Oils, which has supplied specialist oil and anti-freeze to keep the Land Rover moving in temperatures that can plummet to minus 50°C, not to mention severe blizzards!
Steve has a long history of exploring the globe. He has travelled along the coast of Panama by canoe, climbed mountains in the then Yugoslavia, explored the Darien rainforest in Panama and crossed the Ethiopian highlands.
He said: “The Land Rover has been running perfectly, down to temperatures of minus 43°C. We leave the Land Rover running overnight and have been sleeping in it as its too cold in the tent.
“Each morning, we set off and do about 10 kilometres at 10 to 15kph, just to let everything warm up. After that we travel at up to 80 and 100kph with no problems.”
The next stage of the expedition will see Steve and his team travel nearly 4,000km east to the Bering Strait, the narrow stretch of shallow sea which links the two land masses of Asia and the American continent. They hope to cross the straits in June.
The group will be back on dry land in Alaska before driving through North, Central and South America to Cape Horn.
The Land Rover Defender 110 has been adapted to accommodate snow tracks for the frozen Siberian tundra and floats for the Bering crossing. Also installed is a Webasto heating system to keep the engine – and the occupants – at working temperature.
Steve has been planning the £250,000 expedition for six years. During that time he designed and perfected both the Land Rover’s all-wheel track system and the Hypalon floats and propeller power which enable water travel.
Fell runner Nicky spent two years exploring Africa, Asia and the former Russian republics with Steve. She is a qualified skydiver and open water diver.
Stephen Parker, marketing manager for Millers Oils, said: “The efforts of Steve and his team is extraordinary and Millers Oils are proud to be associated with their efforts.”