Ernest Shackleton’s great grandson completes mission 100 years later
Patrick Bergel is the great-grandson of Sir Ernest Shackleton, a famous Antarctic explorer who is best known for leading the ‘Endurance’ expedition of 1914-16.
Shackleton planned to cross the frozen continent via the South Pole but his ship was trapped in the ice; he later left to find help, and eventually returned to rescue the entire crew.
“Surrounded by nothingness, I journeyed across Antarctica for 30 days,” said Patrick Bergel about his adventure driving a modified Hyundai Sante Fe to the ends of the earth in a new short film.
Bergel, 46, retraced his great grandfather’s 3,500-mile expedition to commemorate Shackleton’s heroic expedition from Union Glacier near the Antarctic Peninsula to the South Pole, to Leverett Glacier, across the Ross Ice Shelf, and finishing at McMurdo Sound.
“Finally, I reached the place my great-grandfather dreamed of, a hundred years ago,” said Bergel, a tech entrepreneur from London, about his own historic journey in a Hyundai crossover.
Hyundai also made the history books last December when the slightly modified, 2.2-liter diesel Santa Fe became the first passenger vehicle ever to be driven across the continent of Antarctica and back again.
The Santa Fe was modified to fit giant low-pressure tires for the 30-day expedition over icy terrain, floating ice caps, and driving conditions with -18-degree Fahrenheit temperatures. Hyundai says the Sante Fe’s body was raised with new sub-frames — “suspension and gears were fitted inside the wheel hubs to cope with the different forces and the need to turn more slowly to run at the same speed.”
Aside from that, the Sante Fe’s fuel tank capacity was increased and converted to run on Jet A-1 fuel — apparently, it’s the only fuel available on the continent — and a pre-heater was installed to keep the fuel from freezing.
The names of Shackleton’s original crew were etched into the paint of the Hyundai by family ancestors, along with a quote by the explorer himself on the hood that read, “I shall keep on going old man, till one day I shall not come back.”
“The journey was incredible and the car was a pleasure to drive. Sometimes it felt less like driving and more like sailing across the snow. It was a proper expedition with a challenge to accomplish that nobody else had done before,” said Bergel in a statement.
“It was about endurance not speed — we only averaged only 17 mph (27 km/h) — and success was about how we and the car handled it. I’m very reluctant to make direct comparisons between what my great grandfather did and what we’ve done recently. But it is quite something to have been the first to do this in a wheeled vehicle.”
The film can be viewed at www.Shackletonsreturn.hyundai.com. Congrats to Bergel and the entire Hyundai team on the epic run.