A team of drivers from Italy’s Carabinieri national security force has embarked on a 6000km (3700 mile) adventure across southern Africa with four McCormick tractors on a route that will take in mountain ranges and deserts, the wine-making area of the Western Cape, and some of South Africa’s most celebrated national parks.

The McCormick Xtractor Around the World 2018challenge will help raise awareness of environment issues and responsible use of natural resources while giving the McCormick X7 and X8 series tractors a demanding mixture of terrain from smooth tarmac to rough dirt tracks and desert sand.

Introducing the 2018 route, Antonio Salvaterra, marketing director at McCormick manufacturer Argo Tractors, said: “Along the 6000km itinerary, which we plan to cover in 55 days, the drivers can look forward to a huge variety of landscapes, major parks and game reserves, which are home to an amazing concentration of wildlife, and a rich and diverse ethnic and cultural heritage.”

From the starting point in Cape Town in south-west South Africa, the tractors and support crew visit the Cape of Good Hope before making their way through the vineyards of the Western Cape, along the famous Garden Route to Port Elizabeth in the south-east before turning inland to push deep into the semi-desert interior of the Great Karoo.

Having driven among the sand dunes and endless horizons of the Kalahari desert, the McCormick tractors will turn eastwards, aiming for the summits of the small mountain kingdom of Lesotho before a steep descent down the imposing slopes of the eastern Drakensberg mountains to the Indian Ocean.

A tour of nature parks, including the renowned Kruger for big game spotting, precedes a finishing stretch that takes in Johannesburg and Pretoria.

The drivers have been selected for their complementary skills and interests from the Carabinieri’s parachute regiment and officers of the unit protecting forest, environmental and agri-food resources, who will work with Amref, Africa’s largest health charity, on humanitarian projects along the route.

Plans include a new football pitch at a high school south of Johannesburg, encouraging children to exercise and practice a healthy lifestyle, and a vegetable garden to bolster nutrition at a maternity health centre.

The venture is being sponsored by BKT, which supplies the Argo Tractors factory with a number of different tyre designs and sizes as original fitments across the McCormick range.

For the McCormick Xtractor Around the World 2018adventure, BKT has supplied its Agrimax RT 657 for the pair of 206/225hp McCormick X7.690 P6-Drive tractors, the new model that tops the second-generation X7 Series. High performance Agrimax Force IF tyres have been fitted to the 286hp McCormick X8.670 VT-Drive duo from the all-new 264-310hp X8 VT-Drive Series.

The journey is being documented on the www.xtractor.tv website and on social media. 

Pictured top: The McCormick Xtractor 2018 adventure in South Africa gets underway as the four McCormick X7 P6-Drive and X8 VT-Drive machines head from Cape Town to the Cape of Good Hope