Madagascar, the mysterious "Great Red Island" off the east African coast of Mozambique, was chosen as the venue for Camel Trophy 1987. The event's return to Africa also heralded the return of Range Rover as the preferred vehicle. It was not the ubiquitous V8 that drove the event this time but the new Italian VM-powered 2,400cc turbo-diesel. After an interval of five years, it was great to see Range Rover back where it performed best.
Considered to be an ideal location, a vast variety of landscape, terrain, weather conditions, flora and fauna awaited the teams. From the tropical rainforests of the north, where storms and driving rain caused severe flooding, to the scorched savannah of the south, Madagascar provided a superb challenge.
Once more fourteen countries sent teams on the 2,252 km adventure from Diego Suarez on the northern tip of the island to Fort Dauphin at the southern end, the first ever continuous north-to-south journey by vehicle in Madagascar's history.
At the end of sixteen days, Camel Trophy had exceeded everyone's expectations. The changeable Madagascan landscape produced exactly what was necessary for a classic Camel Trophy.
However not all was well.
The special tasks incorporated into the event in Madagascar proved woefully inadequate, badly designed, damaging to the vehicles and participants alike and almost impossible to score and judge with any accuracy at all. This unfortunate situation led to a near mutiny at the final special task site when most of the "Latin" teams refused to take part declaring, "the event had ended," much to the exasperation, disappointment and disgust of the event organiser. Special tasks were not directly his responsibility but that of "part-time" amateur enthusiasts, who decided what the tasks should be as the convoy moved along the route. No planning, preparation, recces or specific rules were apparent. Only two teams kept out of the dispute, the USA and the UK. No doubt Iain Chapman, from Team UK, was watching intently - he was later to become Camel Trophy's Event Director.
This unfortunate dispute led to one of the only real travesties of justice in the history of Camel Trophy, by some screwed up logic and polarisation of teams. The USA team, who by every right should have been awarded the Camel Trophy had to make do with second place.
As a direct result of this, events in the future were staffed by professional marshals, event organisers and competition personnel all working to pre-defined written rules, regulations and procedures.
The Italian team of Maurizio Miele and Vincenzo Tota were awarded Camel Trophy whilst the USA team of Don Floyd and Tom Collins were placed second. In an equally shambolic vote the "Team Spirit Award" was given to the team from Spain of Jaime Puig and Victor Muntane.
- Team Vehicles: Range Rover turbo diesel
- Support Vehicles: Range Rover turbo diesel
- Distance: 2,252 km
- Number of Teams: 14
- Belgium - Philippe Cousin & Frank de Dobbeleer
- Brazil - Gilberto Castro & Paulo Bergamaschi
- Canary Islands - Manuel Almeida & Carlos Penco
- France - Jacques Lepold & Theirry Pacaud
- Germany - Franz Alt & Jurgen Kelber
- Holland - Fons van Oers & Gerrit Dammer
- Italy - Mauro Miele & Vincenzo Tota (Camel Trophy)
- Japan - Toru Takahashi & Toshiharu Urabe
- Spain - Jaime Puig & Victor Muntane (Team Spirit Award)
- Switzerland - Jean-Pierre Falcy & Daniel Nicollier
- Turkey - Metin Kap & Kazim Aya
- United Kingdom - George Bee & Iain Chapman (recorded as Ian Chapman on the side of the Team UK vehicle)
- United States - Don Floyd & Tom Collins