Hyundai Motor takes on the KONA 10 volcano challenge
Posted on January 18, 2018
Picture in your minds eye one of the most daunting driving challenges Europe has to offer – reaching the summit of the UK and Ireland’s 10 most famous volcanic landscapes in under 72 hours. This challenge – dubbed the ‘KONA 10’ – has now been conquered by Hyundai Motor, the new 2018 Hyundai Kona SUV and super adventurer Sophie Radcliffe.
With the help of the All-New 2018 Kona, Radcliffe battled through snow and high winds to climb elevations in excess of 12,000ft and complete the adventure of a lifetime, as well as raise money for the Stand Up To Cancer charity. Hyundai also worked with historian Dr. Michael Scott to uncover the secrets behind some of the UK and Ireland’s volcanic landscapes, from Snowdon in North Wales to the Cuillin Ridge on the Isle of Skye.
Radcliffe drove as far as could be driven at each location, taking on routes that are normally not open to the public and, when the Kona could safely go no further, she set out on foot – running, walking, climbing or cycling to the summit. The 72 hours were non-stop and she was only able to sleep on ferries and in the back of the Kona before she took on the next volcanic landscape on the KONA 10 route.
Highlights from the two-day adventure included a stunning sunset atop Mount Snowdon, with Radcliffe traversing the all-wheel drive Kona up its miner’s track – not normally accessible to the public to drive on – before setting out on foot to get to the first summit.
Scotland was no less challenging, featuring a scramble up North Berwick Law in the dark, with rain pouring down making conditions even more nerve-wracking. Radcliffe reached the summit of Ben Nevis 52 hours into the challenge with eight locations down, in sub-zero temperatures that went to a bone-chilling -10 degrees Celsius.
The final task was scaling Bla Bheinn mountain at Cuillin Ridge on the Isle of Skye, before descending down it to complete the challenge just 69.5 hours after the journey began. The Kona travelled a total of 1,683 kilometers – the equivalent of driving from North Wales to Paris and back again.
Radcliffe is not a professional athlete, but four years ago she made the decision to quit her job in the city and try something new. Today Sophie is motivated to continuously push boundaries as she regularly takes on new challenges to run, climb, swim and cycle all over the world. She is the only person in history to have climbed the highest mountains in the eight Alpine countries and cycle between them in just 32 days.
After completing the KONA 10 challenge, she revealed just how tough the task had been: “The toughest moment was the descent of Ben Nevis in the dark. I was feeling exhausted after 10 hours on the move and full winter conditions: snow, wind and freezing temperatures."
Hyundai’s All-New Kona is a compact SUV with a bold, sharp design with full-LED twin headlamps, two-tone roof and the choice of ten distinctive exterior colours. A true SUV with four-wheel drive, the Kona also has a head-up display, a high-end sound system by Krell and complete connectivity that allows passengers to use Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on the seven-inch touchscreen.
Knowing that I had another big climb ahead on the Isle of Skye and would only get three hours sleep was tough, but it’s at times like this that my experience doing challenges over the last few years has taught me how to motivate myself, how to focus on the end goal and just go for it. The incredible views made it all worth it. The moment when the clouds parted to reveal a stunning sunset on the summit of Ben Nevis was once in a lifetime experience.