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Drive Around the World Team Attends Land Rover University
LONGITUDE team members hone automotive service skills - September 2003

ALISO VIEJO, Calif.--Drive Around the World’s LONGITUDE team spent two days in the classroom garnering basic diagnostic service techniques from a Land Rover automotive guru John Thomas.

“He was to us as Q is to James Bond,” said Rolf Potts, travel writer and LONGITUDE expedition team member. “He showed us all the tricks behind our vehicles.”

Land Rover University, located in Aliso Viejo, Calif., was created to educate and develop Land Rover’s retail and corporate team members in all aspects of the automotive business, including technical repairs, customer handling, product knowledge, leadership and management, selling skills, teamwork and even off-road driving skills.

The LONGITUDE team had the privilege of attending a two-day crash course in basic diagnostics for the Land Rover Discovery Series II.

“We have the utmost confidence in our certified, pre-owned Discovery’s, so it wasn’t necessary to get into the nitty gritty of vehicle repair, but when you’re on the road, anything can happen. We have to be fairly self-sufficient, and there’s nothing like formal training from real professionals to instill confidence in a team,” said Nick Baggarly, expedition leader. “Confidence is the biggest take-home we received from LRU.”

As the team prepares to embark on their 34,000-mile, four-continent trek, Baggarly is intent to supply his team with the knowledge and skills they will need to be successful. He says the key is proper preparation.

“We learned how to use our portable diagnostic computer, and, most importantly, we learned what tools, spare parts, and consumable items we should pack along with us. We really value John Thomas’ advice, and we’re privileged to be able to benefit from his experience,” said Baggarly.

Baggarly has quite a bit of expedition experience, himself. LONGITUDE is his third vehicle expedition, and his second circumnavigation of the globe. Drive Around the World’s 1999 expedition, Latitude, was a three-month journey in two Land Rover Dormobiles, a ’68 and a ’70.

“We could fix anything, anywhere, in those vehicles with a crescent wrench and a screwdriver. Today’s systems, obviously, are a lot more complicated. At LRU, we learned how to service our LONGITUDE vehicles,” said Baggarly.

The LONGITUDE team has one more training session with Land Rover scheduled before they depart November 1. Next on the calendar: off-road driver training in Hollister, Calif.