British explorer Ben Saunders has announced his attempt to become the fastest ever to reach the North Pole. Ben Saunders is a pioneering polar explorer and one of only three people in history to have skied solo to the North Pole. In 2004, at the age of 26, Ben was the youngest explorer to complete this by more than ten years. He achieved this feat in conditions NASA described as 'the worst since records began', and in doing so set the record for the longest solo Arctic journey by a Briton. This year, leaving the UK on March 15, Ben will undertake this expedition alone, on foot, without air-drops of food, and with the aim of setting a world speed record. Ben, supported by Land Rover, aims to break the current speed record of 36 days, 22 hours. It will also serve as a build-up to Ben’s 2011/12 Scott Antarctic Expedition, a 1,800-mile return journey to the South Pole on the centenary of Captain Scott's Terra Nova expedition, a trip that will be the longest unsupported polar journey in history. Ben Saunders said, 'I am thrilled to be returning to the Arctic Ocean with the aim of breaking the North Pole speed record. I last skied solo to the North Pole in 2004 and since then no one else has managed it alone, an indication of just how hostile an environment, and just how tough a challenge this can be. I am excited and proud to have Land Rover’s support in this expedition. They have been on my dream sponsor list for nearly a decade. Success on this trip will be all about performance, innovation and resilience so I couldn’t ask for a better partner.'
The speed record attempt will be a unique stepping-stone to the 2011/12 Scott Antarctic Expedition, which I hope will be a fitting way to mark the Centenary of Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s last expedition, and the completion of the last great unfinished journey of the Edwardian golden age of exploration. Saunders said, 'In a world where you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s all been done, it fascinates me that Scott’s last journey has never been completed.'
Phil Popham, Managing Director of Land Rover, said, 'Ben is a modern-day hero, who optimises Land Rover's spirit of adventure. He's an inspirational character who we are delighted to be supporting in this exciting record breaking expedition. We wish him all the luck in his aim to break the current speed record of 36 days, 22 hours.' Polar explorer, Pen Hadow, the only Briton to have trekked, without assistance, to both the North and South Poles, added, 'Travelling solo and on foot to the North Geographic Pole is an immense challenge; doing so with the aim of setting a speed record is tougher still, and demands a unique combination of extensive Arctic experience and superlative physical fitness. Ben is one of a handful of a people in the world with both these attributes, and if anyone can achieve this goal, it's Ben.'
Ben will also be supported by two other iconic British brands, the Bremont Watch Company and Sunspel. As a watch of choice for Ben, Bremont will be working with the explorer to help develop and test its mechanical watches in extreme environments. Sunspel, has been making the finest English underwear since 1860, is providing Ben with custom-made merino wool thermal underwear to keep him warm at temperatures as low as -50 degrees centigrade.
For further information about the expedition and to follow Ben’s challenge, visit www.bensaunders.com or click here for Ben Saunders