Borneo 1985

Camel Trophy 1985 was the largest event run at that point with sixteen teams from eight different countries taking part, including three teams new to the event: Japan, Brazil, and the Canary Islands. This time, Camel Trophy took participants to the world's second largest island, Borneo and the vast expanses of unexplored territory in its hinterland. Would the Italian team triumph for the third time in a row?

The selected route started at Samirinda on the east coast of Indonesian Borneo (Kalimantan) and by way of a long anti-clockwise sweep ended in the oilfield city and port of Balikpapan.

Rain once again proved to be a formidable obstacle to progress during the event, creating perilously slick trails and fast flowing swollen rivers. Progress was even slower across the mountains of East Kalimantan’s jungle regions, at times reducing the convoy’s speed to a mere two or three kilometres per day.

What made Camel Trophy 1985 particularly memorable was the improvised helicopter airlift of the complete convoy of Land Rover Ninetys across miles of flooded rainforest. The vehicles had become marooned on a low rise within the flooded forest where, without this piece of ingenuity, they would undoubtedly have remained until the next dry season.

The other significant innovation was the introduction of the "Team Spirit Award", presented to the team who, in the opinion and judgment of all the other teams participating, most epitomised the fellowship and camaraderie of the event. The first Team Spirit prize was awarded to the likeable Brazilian team of Carlos Probst and Tito Rosenberg.

"In 1985 Camel Trophy changed. Brazil participated for the first time in the event. From time to time a new sound has penetrated this harsh adventure that demands the maximum of men and machines. I am not just referring to the samba rhythms that echoed from Team 1's Land Rover 90, penetrating the jungle of Borneo just across the world, what actually happened was a kind of South American joy, imposed on the terrible mudflats, the humid heat of the tropics and the aggressiveness of the insects. It was Carlos Probst and Tito Rosemberg who for three weeks and almost twenty hours a day, surrounded by the most adverse conditions, were in charge of maintaining the high spirits of the Camel Group."

Axel Thorer, participating journalist

There were nine special tasks during which the Italians were the favorites to take the podium due to the excellent performances of their compatriots in previous years. However overall victory on Camel Trophy 1985 went to the West Germany 1 team of Heinz Kallin and Bernd Strohdach.


  • Team Vehicles: Land Rover Ninety
  • Support Vehicles: Land Rover One Ten
  • Distance: 1,500 km
  • Number of Teams: 16

Participating Countries

  • Belgium 1 - Philippe Goblet & Hubert Callens
  • Belgium 2 - Jean-Claud Decraene & Wilfried van der Kalen
  • Brazil 1 - Osmar Eugenio Kretschek & Luis Aylton Casertani
  • Brazil 2 - Carlos Probst & Tito Rosenberg (Team Spirit Award)
  • Canary Islands - Fernando Rebull & Jose Antonio Reyes
  • West Germany 1 - Heinz Kallin & Bernd Strohdach (Camel Trophy)
  • West Germany 2 - Georg Michael Diehl & Jurgen Meinig
  • Holland 1 - Arie Plugers & Will Walters
  • Holland 2 - Jouke Eikelboom & Gerrit Oudenampsen
  • Italy 1 - Flavio Dematteis & Stefano Gasi
  • Italy 2 - Roberto Ive & Beppe Gualini
  • Japan 1 - Kunio Takagi & Fukumu Uzuta
  • Japan 2 - Hirotaka Shimamura & Gentaro Izumitani
  • Spain - Javier Casasus Lattore & Jaime Masferrer Ordis
  • Switzerland 1 - Bruno Camenzind & Urs Beer
  • Switzerland 2 - Werner Ehrsam & Werner Paul Buhrer