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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