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Santana Trophy 2019: The Great Adventure

What is the Santana Trophy? That’s the question many of you will be asking. No better way to define it than the text included by the organisation on its website (

“Santana Trophy is a tribute… an homage to the past, to classic Land Rovers and to the pioneers in rally raids like the first few Paris-Dakar or the Camel Trophy.

Santana Trophy is a race made up of 6 stages driving Land Rover Santana and Series. Navigation, orientation, driving-ability rescues are all part of the day-to-day of the event, but friendship and comradeship play a key role in getting past the numerous obstacles - all of this set in the spectacular landscapes of Morocco.

Santana Trophy is NOT a time trial race or an extreme 4x4 race. All the itineraries are chosen and further verified by the organisation to ensure they are all acceptable for all permitted models."

The competition is decided by a score that favours the teams that most closely follow the track set by the organisation, with an allowance being made for the least powerful cars and a series of tests being established in which the teams will have to show their dedication and intelligence in order to pass them.

This year 2019 we took part with my super 1984 Land Rover Santana 109. The car is a series model, off the production line without having undergone any modification to prepare it for the tough nature of the Moroccan landscape, although it has been painstakingly serviced and looked after.

There were three of us extremaos (we’ll tell you later who we extremaos are), namely Rafa, Paco and myself, in my car. The human experience was an excellent one – there was a little bit of friction regarding coexistence and navigation issues, but everything turned out just fine in the end. I would draw attention above all to the chance to get to know people who, like us, are a bit obsessed with these old bangers. Land Rovers, previous models prior to the Defender – basically series models – and Santanas.

The rally raid takes place on Moroccan territory in an area that is pretty close to the border with Algeria, although the actual route changes every year. It’s not an especially difficult route, but it is demanding on the cars, which means that those taking part need to be serviced and maintained in suitable condition to ensure they provide minimum reliability. In any event, the fact that a car has been serviced and is well looked-after is absolutely no guarantee of anything, although it does minimize mechanical risks to a large extent.

Two points should be made: one, Rafa’s role as navigator, without whose extraordinary orientation and control of the instruments – the route planner and compass – we would have never been able to reach our destination each night; two, the new friends we made – extraordinary people who are at least as addicted as we are to these old bangers.

In short, it was a really worthwhile experience and one that needs to be tried at least once in your life…and so I encourage all those of you who own these cars to take part in it one year.

You can watch the Youtube videos showing our participation in the Santana Trophy: The Great Adventure via the following link.


Posted on 02-02-2020 | The Shire Overland


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