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New world record for ultra-distance cyclist

For most people, the Easter long weekend is filled with rest, reflection and family time. But for Melbourne ultra-distance cyclist Dr Mitch Anderson, this year it was all about 24 hours of gut-busting exertion. And the reward of setting a new world record.

During 24 consecutive hours in the saddle, Anderson hammered out a staggering 894.35km – the equivalent of riding from Melbourne to Sydney in a single day. In his case, though, it amounted to 275 laps of a 3.25km road loop at a proving ground near Anglesea, in Victoria.

Circulating at an average of 37.2 km/h with only a Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain containing officials and support staff for nutrition, he surpassed the previous world record distance by just 4km. Success was not certain until the tense final minutes of the challenge.

The official organisation governing such attempts, the UltraMarathon Cycling Association, has since ratified the record and it is expected to be entered into the Guinness Book of World Records soon, in spite of a false start that cost Anderson about 90 seconds and put him on the back foot from the very beginning.

“At the time it was pretty annoying because we knew it was going to be close at the end,” Anderson said. “I only ended up with five or six minutes up my sleeve – the thought of going through 24 hours of purgatory and missing out by one or two kilometres for the silly mistake at the start would have been heartbreaking.”

Anderson is already the world record holder for the 12-hour outdoor cycling mark, which he broke in 2017, and has been an age group winner at the world’s most gruelling triathlon, the Hawaiian Ironman held annually in Kona, Hawaii.

Speaking at a party held at the Mercedes me store in Melbourne’s CBD to launch a film detailing the 24-hour record attempt, Anderson said the magnitude of the challenge dwarfed all of his previous achievements.

“Winning the 25-29 age group (at the Hawaiian Ironman) was the little leagues compared to this,” he told the audience.

“Kona’s hard, but this rated 10 times higher on the Richter (scale) than doing Kona. Perform the same skill for 24 hours, and think about cycling for 24 hours, and get your nutrition right, and get your breathing right. It’s a cerebral game as well as a physical game.

“I had to put in place a mental application that let me almost put my brain into sleep mode, and my body into awake mode. There’s an automatic effort that goes into riding a bike, you don’t need to think about it, just the intensity. But it’s superimposing the mental stress on the physical stress and coping with that. It’s not just the physical feat, it’s coping with both those elements.”

In this trance-like state, Anderson was able to withstand extreme discomfort for extended periods – for the entire 24 hours he was off the bike for a total of about eight minutes, including the false start drama and a handful of toilet breaks. He admitted afterwards that there were many hours of the ride from which he has no memory.

“It was such a dissociative state that it was like my brain was on Mars while my legs were pedalling. It was quite a bizarre feeling,” he told the audience at Mercedes me.

As well as the physical exertion, he also had to deal with severe nausea that struck around the 10-hour mark, plus chafing and numbness of his “undercarriage” causing damage that took weeks to heal. He used numbing creams during the ride – which also made toilet stops more difficult – and swapped between his two Giant/Shimano-supplied bikes regularly, trying in vain to find a better saddle position. “I wasn’t expecting that much discomfort in the downstairs region,” he said frankly.

“I honestly thought I wasn’t going to make it after 10 hours because I started vomiting, and it got a lot colder than expected. It was about eight degrees, and I hadn’t thought through the physiology of my gut at that stage.

“I was feeling prepared enough and good enough in that first six-to-eight hours that 930km was going to be a realistic target, and then suddenly (with the stomach issue) I thought ‘I don’t know if I can do this’. I didn’t know if I could even finish.

“(Before the ride) not finishing was never an option, I’d fall off the bike before I wasn’t going to finish with the amount of preparation I put in. But it became a real possibility.”

With the end in sight, there was one final hurdle to overcome, as the wind sprung up. “In the last two hours there was a headwind, and there’s a slight uphill into the headwind. It was only 12 metres per lap, but 12 metres of rise over 275 laps is about three and half thousand metres of climbing (over the 24 hours),” he said.

Anderson is resisting the urging of friends to look for another challenge such as the annual Indian-Pacific Wheel Race, which sees cyclists pedalling solo and unassisted from Perth to Sydney via Melbourne.

“The single day test of endurance is what floats my boat. It’s being able to push yourself over a discrete period, and say ‘here’s a mark’,” he said.

He told the Mercedes me audience he has now retired from ultra-distance cycling challenges. “Would I do it again? Not a chance. Would I go longer? Not a chance.”

Less dramatic than Anderson’s achievement but still noteworthy was an unexpected milestone achieved by the Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain supporting Anderson. Starting with a full tank of fuel, the 2.0-litre turbo diesel-powered wagon finished the 24-hour drive with the onboard computer showing an indicative 621km of range still available. That adds up to an impressive theoretical range of greater than 1500km on a single tank of fuel.

“It’s a fair indication of the sort of economy that it is possible to achieve from a family-size wagon, even when driving at higher speeds than was required of the All-Terrain during Dr Anderson’s world record bid,” says Mercedes-Benz Australia-Pacific spokesman Jerry Stamoulis.

“Whether it’s at 60, 80 or 100km/h, the choice of a fuel-efficient vehicle combined with a consistent driving style can deliver outstanding fuel efficiency and considerable savings over the life of the car.”

Proceeds from ticket sales to the launch of the film of Anderson’s attempt on the 24-hour outdoor cycling world record will be donated to the Craig Percival Memorial Trust.

Words by Steve Colquhoun

Australian trio to take on the world in MercedesTrophy final

Three Australian Mercedes-Benz customers have won the opportunity to contest the global final of the MercedesTrophy golf tournament after topping the scores at the Australian final at Queensland’s prestigious Intercontinental Sanctuary Cove Resort.

From a field of 89 players playing rounds of golf on the renowned Pines and Palms courses, Ken Weng (Mercedes-Benz Gold Coast, QLD) won the A-Grade section and Paul Matson (West Point Star Mercedes-Benz, WA) the B-Grade with 71 stableford points each. Brett Kiteley (Mercedes-Benz Wollongong, NSW) won C-Grade with 69 points to grab the final spot in the three-berth team after a countback. The trio will represent Australia at the global final of the MercedesTrophy, to be held in Stuttgart, Germany, in early October.

Mark Lawrence (Mercedes-Benz Geelong, VIC) was the winner of the weekend’s other major prize, a trip to the British Open golf tournament in July in Carnoustie, Scotland. He collected the ‘Drive to the Major’ prize for the straightest drive on the 18th hole of the Palms course, landing closest to the centre of the fairway to claim the hotly contested prize by mere millimetres from the next-best attempt.

For the rest of the field, the national MercedesTrophy final was the culmination of a journey that began as one of 2400 Mercedes-Benz customers contesting 35 dealer days, with the top three players from each event advancing to the national final at Sanctuary Cove.

Off the course, players and their partners enjoyed functions at the Intercontinental Sanctuary Cove on all three nights of the final. These included a Thursday evening cocktail function, and a Friday night barbecue dinner menu prepared by celebrity chef and Mercedes-Benz Friend of the Brand Shane Delia.

Chef Shane Delia cooked up a storm during the tournament

With the golf finished on Saturday night, the group again assembled for a celebration to announce the winners, after which Australian Olympic swimmer Cam McEvoy – also a Mercedes-Benz Friend of the Brand - entertained guests with stories of his own competitive experiences and how he deals with pre-event nerves.

Life was not quite as competitive for the players’ partners during the event. On Friday, a fleet of Mercedes-Benz vehicles supplied by the Mercedes-Benz Driving Events team was available for partners to take a relaxed drive to Sirromet Winery in the Gold Coast hinterland, where they enjoyed lunch on the Tuscan Terrace before driving back to Sanctuary Cove. The following day kicked off with a yoga class, followed by lunch at the Verandah Bar and beauty spa appointments in preparation for the gala dinner.

The annual MercedesTrophy golf tournament is in its 28th year and attracts 60,000 players annually from around the world. It is one example of the company’s enduring commitment to golf, which includes sponsorship of key events such as the US Masters, and of players such as Rickie Fowler and golfing great Bernhard Langer.

Find out more about Mercedes-Benz’s involvement in golf and the MercedesTrophy. 

Words Steve Colquhoun

Three winners emerge at Millbrook in MercedesTrophy national final

Three finalists have been selected to represent New Zealand for the MercedesTrophy World Final in Stuttgart following two testing days of tournament play at the award-winning Millbrook Resort, near Queenstown.

Finishing equal first on 67 stableford points, and claiming the prestigious National Final title on countback, was Graham Dorward from Windross Farm Golf Club. Finishing in eventual second place, also on 67 points, was David Lightfoot from Nopera Bay Golf Club, and rounding out Team New Zealand with 65 points was Gary Gillard from Russley Golf Club.

The MercedesTrophy New Zealand National Final presents golf-minded Mercedes-Benz customers with the opportunity to experience New Zealand's premier golf resort, courtesy of Mercedes-Benz. The brand’s passion for perfection transcends the professional environment as the international automobile partner of three major tournaments: The Masters, The Open Championship and The PGA Championship.

From the initial regional group of over 500 players, a field of 24 qualifying competitors played off at Millbrook for the opportunity to represent New Zealand at the MercedesTrophy World Final, to be held in October at the ‘birthplace of the automobile’, in Stuttgart, Germany. In total, more than 65,000 golfers from over 60 countries participated in the qualifying rounds in an attempt to secure a spot at the world final.

Competitors faced trying conditions during the two competition rounds over two days, playing across all three of Millbrook Resort’s championship nine-hole layouts – Remarkables, Arrow and Coronet. The work put in by resort staff to ensure play could take place on the first day of competition was commendable, with players facing a waterlogged first round.

On day two, players were thankfully spared the rain and after 36 holes of tournament play, three players prevailed.

One of the major highlights of the tournament was an incredible shot by David Lightfoot on the 18th hole of day two, in front of a packed crowd celebrating the end of the tournament. Shooting from across the stream onto the green, David perfectly chipped the 50-metre shot, allowing it to roll down the green and into the hole for par, to cement eventual second place overall.

In addition to contesting the prestigious winners’ prize, the New Zealand finalists were given the opportunity to compete for a number of once-in-a-life time golfing experiences. The ‘Drive to the Major’ straightest drive competition, held on the 7th hole of the ‘Remarkables’ nine on Sunday, offered golfers the chance to win a VIP trip to the 2018 staging of ‘The Open Championship’, and tee off on the historic Carnoustie Links Golf Course in Scotland the day after the tournament.

In a tight competition, Phil Cooper from Taieri Lakes Golf Club landed his drive an astonishing 11 cm from the centre line to be awarded the all-expenses-paid experience on a difficult day when a number of players struggled to even land on the fairway.

The other major prize offered was the chance to win a new Mercedes-Benz GLC 250 for any competitor able to achieve a hole-in-one on the designated par three hole each day. Despite excellent shot-making under pressure and some extremely close attempts, no-one sank the elusive ‘ace’.

Commenting on the tournament, Ben Giffin, General Manager, Mercedes-Benz Cars New Zealand Ltd, said: “Mercedes-Benz is proud to continue its global association with golf, and we are honoured to have the privilege of bringing our national finalists to the award-winning Millbrook Resort. The MercedesTrophy offers our dedicated customers a number of exclusive once-in-a-lifetime golfing experiences, which are unrivalled by any other amateur tournament.

“We would like to wish Graham, David and Gary the very best of luck as they represent New Zealand on the global stage. We know they will do us proud.”

Find out more about Mercedes-Benz’s involvement in golf and the MercedesTrophy.

Words Steve Colquhoun
Adventurer Mike Horn

Mike Horn's polar opposites

From tackling New Zealand’s fiercest mountain ranges to one of Australia’s most unforgiving deserts, it’s all in a day’s work for explorer Mike Horn, who visited both countries during 2017 as part of his epic Pole 2 Pole expedition. This sees him travelling to both Antarctica and the Arctic and he is now on his homeward leg, aiming to cross the Arctic Circle late this year and finish at his starting point, Monaco, in mid-2018.

Here are some of the spectacular highlights from his time in the wilderness of Queenstown in New Zealand, and leading a group of journalists through the unforgiving Simpson Desert in Australia.

The latest Mercedes-Benz Magazine has the full story about Horn’s incredible undertakings and sense of adventure.

New Zealand 

Mike Horn's first Australasian adventure was tackling the snowy peaks of Queenstown. 

The intrepid adventurer is accustomed to solo travel in the most extreme parts of the world, including Antarctica. 

On the land, Mike Horn travels in a G-Wagon – a vehicle that he says "buys you freedom". 

While his gruelling adventures are mentally and physically demanding, Mike Horn also gets to witness some of the world's most spectacular and isolated landscapes. 


The Simpson Desert was Mike Horn's playground in Australia – he was joined by a bunch of thrill-seeking journalists. 

Mike Horn's V8-powered G-Class made light work of a range of conditions and terrain, including Outback bulldust. 

South African-born, Swiss-based Mike Horn relishes his life of professional adventure – for him, there's simply no other path. 

Mike Horn contemplates the next legs of his journey as he heads back towards the Northern Hemisphere. 

A true great: rugby’s Sean Fitzpatrick

In the world of rugby, Sean Fitzpatrick is as big as it gets. The legendary former All Blacks captain (from 1992 to 1997) led his team to victories against the best teams in the world and is rightfully recognised as one of the all-time greats of the game.

Based in the UK, Fitzpatrick will be back on home turf for the British Lions’ tour of New Zealand in June. Earlier this year he was part of the Laureus Sport for Good Tour 2017, supported by Mercedes-Benz. This is an initiative of the Laureus Foundation, which supports children’s sporting charities around the world. 

We caught up with him ahead of his trip down south...

What is your involvement with the British Lions tour in 2017?
I am a pundit for Sky UK covering all the games and I’m also an AIG Ambassador. 

What was the highlight of your rugby career?
Captaining the All Blacks in 1996 to our first ever series win in South Africa.

What aspect of the Mercedes-Benz brand do you most admire?
The brand has an iconic status – everyone dreams of owning a Mercedes one day. Oh, and didn't they invent the car?! 

How does being a UK-based New Zealander give you a different perspective on business and leadership?
We like hard work and being up against the odds. Not being a Brit you have to really prove yourself, which is a good motivating factor.

What changes or shifts do you most frequently see having the most impact on individuals or organisations’ improved performance?
Making people realise that to be the best you can, you have to prepare better than the opposition and with that come sacrifice.

What are your New Zealand must-dos, when you are back home? 
Spend time with my close friends and family, and eat plenty of Bluff oysters. 

What three things do you never travel without? 
Kiwi passport, iPad and my family, if possible.

Interview by Lucy Siebert  

MercedesTrophy – an unforgettable golfing experience

A white flag with the black Mercedes-Benz three-pointed star catches New Zealander Stewart Browne's eye every time he glances up from the desk in his home office.

It's a constant reminder of what the retired electrical consultant and keen golfer describes as one of the most memorable weeks of his life.

Browne and two colleagues represented New Zealand in the MercedesTrophy World Final in Stuttgart last October and the flag, signed by top German golfer Martin Kaymer, is a cherished memento of the week-long trip. 

"It takes pride of place. I can almost touch it from where I sit," Browne said from his home at Tauranga, a harbour city on the Bay of Plenty, south-east of Auckland on NZ's North Island. 

"It's a great reminder of the trip and excellence of everything involved with it. I can't speak too highly of the absolute professionalism. Everything was done right and on time with typical German precision."

Excellence – on and off the course

Mercedes-Benz is heavily involved in golf all around the world and each year it hosts the world final in Stuttgart. Ninety six men and women amateur golfers were the lucky qualifiers from more than 60,000 golfers from 60 countries who competed in a regional round and then 36-holes national finals to earn the right to represent their nation in three-player teams for three rounds of Stableford competition in Germany.

"The highlight for me was the visit to the Mercedes-Benz factory, with 35,000 workers producing 300 cars a day. To see the magnitude of the whole operation was breathtaking. And the museum with the first Mercedes car and the fascinating history of the company. They also produced the first motorbike with wooden wheels," Browne said.

In addition to golf and Mercedes-Benz related activities, there were social events, such as a night at a local beer festival and a welcome party.

"Meeting people from other countries and different walks of life made it an unforgettable experience," remarked Browne.

While there was plenty of activities beyond the course to keep competitors busy, the golf, of course, was the focus.

Browne, a 20-handicapper, described the chase to accumulate the stableford points in each day's competition as "a challenging but pleasant experience", with France the eventual winner, Australia was a creditable seventh and New Zealand finishing midfield.

Keep calm and compete

Australian representative Tim Fletcher, who plays off 14 at Barwon Heads golf club on Victoria's Bellarine Peninsula, recalls how the tension of amateur players trying to master the difficult sport led to amusing moments in the national final at Sanctuary Cove on Queensland's Gold Coast.

"I went up a couple of days earlier and met a doctor from Noosa who was also in the final and we played a practice round together," he said.

The retired chairman of Fletchers Real Estate company said the medico became a nervous wreck after compiling a stunning 40 points in the opening round. It led to a brief and bizarre role reversal.

"He was so nervous before the second round that he couldn't even hit a ball on the practice range. So I told him to lie down and stretch out. He was in a sweat and I was telling him to take deep breaths," Fletcher said.

 "The irony is I came in with 41 points and pipped him to be one of the three guys to go to Germany. It happened only because I was pretty cool about it because I didn't think I was in contention."

Fletcher described the trip to Germany for the final as "an experience of a lifetime" that forged lasting friendships.

"It's extraordinary the memories. For me, getting there was my prize and whether I did well in Germany was beside the point," he said.

"It was an incredible experience, the companionship between the various countries, particularly the New Zealanders and South Africans. We made some great friends out of it and I'm actually catching up in a couple of weeks with David McKenzie, one of the other Australian contestants from Mt Eliza in Victoria.

"We were thrilled to represent Australia when you consider all the people who participated in the regional events," Fletcher added.

Find out more about Mercedes-Benz’s involvement in golf and the MercedesTrophy

Words Bruce Matthews