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Don’t feel nervous if invited to the Land Rover Defender Trophy Competition. Be proud because you get an opportunity to learn how to adventure. The 2023 Land Rover Defender 130 is well-equipped to teach you how to use your Defender to its fullest potential in a safe environment. 

What comes with the 2023 Land Rover Defender 130 Trophy Edition? 

2023 Land Rover Defender 130 with a winch
2023 Land Rover Defender 130 | Allison Barfield, MotorBiscuit

The 2023 Land Rover Defender 130 Trophy Edition is a unique model equipped with an exclusive look and ruffed off-roading equipment to take you to the next level. Only 220 models were made, and it’s based on the Defender 130 P400 SE. 

Each Defender 130 P400 SE has a turbocharged 3.0-liter straight-six engine with 395 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque. It can tow up to 8,200 lbs. 

It may differ from your Defender 130, and that’s alright. The competition allows you to engage in new challenges without the worry of damaging your own vehicle. 

The Defender 130 Trophy Edition has a unique golden topographical map design against Santori Black paint and black exterior features. Even the recovery points and tow hitch are black. 

The interior features rubberized all-weather mats, ebony-grained leather, an Ebony Morzine Headliner, the Cold Climate pack (heated seats/steering wheel, etc.), custom badging, and a five-seat configuration.  

Other goodies include an Expedition roof rack, a Pelican roof box, a deployable ladder, an electronic winch, mud flaps, and wheel arch protection. 

It starts with an MSRP of $103,000 but comes with an invitation for two to the Defender Trophy Competition. The top prize is a four-day trip to Namibia with routes that include the sand dunes and rocky terrain around the Erongo mountains and Spitkoppe peaks. 

The contest was held in Austin, Texas, from October 29, 2023 – November 8, 2023. Teams of two competed in waves of up to 15 per day. If you missed it this fall, there’s always next year! 

What is the Defender Trophy Competition? 

The Land Rover Defender Trophy Competition is an off-roading competition designed to teach you how to use your vehicle and its equipment in the wild. It’s also designed to instill safe habits, promote teamwork, and enhance communication. 

Each team has a 2023 Land Rover Defender 130 and a map with checkpoints along the way. You have a certain amount of time to visit the checkpoints in any order to complete challenges for points.

Any team can go to any area of the map as they please, so there is an element of strategy in planning your route. If a checkpoint is busy, you can wait for the team in front of you to finish or move on. 

You don’t have to complete each one, and you might not. But that’s fine. Each activity has a different amount of points based on the difficulty of the activity. 

Some challenges, like using your winch to move a log from one area to another, are timed. Once you reach the time limit, it’s time to move on. You will receive points based on how much of the activity you completed during that time. 

Other challenges, like shooting targets with a Nerf gun around a smaller off-roading course, aren’t timed. Also, there was a challenge to see how fast you could change a tire, start a fire, and to see how many times you could lasso a plastic bull. 

Some challenges involved memorizing driving routes around cones and then driving through the course backward. You had 30 seconds to look at the map. 

Another challenge involved communicating with your partner while they wore a blindfold. One person stood outside of the Defender 130 with a walkie-talkie and gave the driver directions around rope barriers. 

Each challenge has little rules to remember to promote safe habits. For example, you can’t walk over the winch cable once it comes out and need to wear your gloves while handling it. You also need to slowly feed it back in and place the edge of the hook against it horizontally. 

At the Nerf gun challenge, you could be penalized for moving without your seatbelts on or with the windows still down between target stands. 

Of course, hitting a cone or rope barrier resulted in penalties. Also, you would get a penalty for driving off of the approved route, getting a flat tire, or going over 15 mph. The roads have a lot of large rocks and a few steep inclines. You won’t want to go any faster anyway. 

Is the Defender Trophy competition difficult? 

2023 Land Rover Defender 130 Trophy Edition off-roading on a dirt trail
2023 Land Rover Defender 130 Trophy Edition | Allison Barfield, MotorBiscuit

I found taking the 2023 Land Rover Defender 130 through the Defender Trophy competition to be moderately challenging. But I had a skilled partner who decided to be the navigator as I drove over light off-roading obstacles between challenges. 

The actual challenges for points are pretty random. I only got one penalty for killing a cone, and my partner moved forward while my window was still down once. We came in 5th and completed 7 out of 10 challenges for the day. 

Some puzzles require a little thinking, and others are random. I found the lasso portion to be the most difficult, which hurts my ego as a farm-raised gal from South Carolina. But the actual challenges don’t require off-roading knowledge. 

If I get invited back, I’ll wear athletic gear instead of jeans. An easy one to two-mile hike and short bike ride were involved. They weren’t physically demanding or timed, but I did jump in and out of the Defender 130 a lot. 

At 5’1”, I found the 11.5-inch ride height to be steep. My muscles for climbing in and out got slightly sore after the day. 

Also, the night before the event, Land Rover guides are there to answer all of your questions. They even gave a winching presentation and let competitors sit in the vehicle to go over all of the controls for off-roading. 

The Defender 130 models are already set to the correct terrain mode for the challenge, and downhill descent control is automatically engaged, so you don’t have to worry about keeping control. 

The real challenge is remembering the rules and penalties for each challenge, which are clearly explained. Weather can be an issue on cold, rainy, or hot days. Luckily, the Defender has heated and ventilated seats. 

Plus, you get gear in advance. You get plenty of water, lunch, snacks, a sweatshirt, a competition jersey, a waterproof gear bag, bug spray, and automotive repair gloves. 

Each team is tracked via an Apple air tag on the key fob, so guides know where you are at all times. You also have the phone number to call for immediate help or instructions at all times. 

If you have a Defender and get the invite, be sure to take it. Even if you come in last, you’ll walk away with the knowledge necessary to take your family on more adventures without worry. Do you want to go? Do you have any questions I can answer about it?