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"I really like using TimePilot. It is simple, it can take the beating, low battery-consuming, and most important, it's reliable. And that's crucial for us ..."

TimePilot Extreme conquers Africa

Cristiano WerneckThe race runs for 7,500 miles, from Cairo to Cape TownWe recently received this e-mail from Cristiano Werneck, who oversees the timing on Tour d'Afrique's 7,500-mile bike race from Cairo, Egypt, to Cape Town, South Africa: 

"For the last two years, I've been the person who manages the timing system during our bicycle race in Africa, carrying my TP Extreme up and down daily through all kinds of real extreme conditions. I must say that this 'little' black box handles well what we put it through during 4 months every year for 12,000 km across Africa. Desert, heat, cold, huge sand storms, heavy rain, mud, floods... And a lot of sun!

"In 2011, we pretty much attached it and zip-tied it to the back of the trailer being pulled by a big overland truck in Cairo and left it there all the way to the end in Cape Town, through horrible roads, exposed to all the mud and dust and everything else you can think of. [Editor's note: See the photos at the bottom of this page.] I guess we changed the batteries once, and I knew that every evening I would have the results in the USB stick.

"We did learn from the previous year that the plastic battery holder couldn't really handle all that, and we now always zip-tie it to batteries pretty tight as soon as we get the device out of the box, and we haven't had any more problems. But that is just us abusing it too much, it is actually not a quality problem. It's our fault.

"Personally, I really like using Time Pilot. It is simple, it can take the beating, low battery consuming, and most important, it's reliable. And that's crucial for us, especially since we have been getting more and more serious racers year after year."

Two Extreme clocks returned for refurbishment after three trips from the Cairo to Cape Town.Tour d'Afrique returned its two clocks (shown at right) to us for refurbishment before its next race across Africa, which begins in Cairo in January, 2013.

We were pleased—but not surprised—to find that despite their beaten-up appearance, the clocks still worked perfectly.

For the last three years, Tour d'Afrique has used TimePilot Extreme timeclocks with our off-the-shelf software. For this year's race, however, TimePilot has customized its Extreme system to provide race times down to the second. If your company is interested in using this version of our product, please contact us at info@TimePilot.com or 630-879-6400.

The Tour d'Afrique is one of several trans-continental bike tours run by Tour d’Afrique, Ltd., a Toronto-based company. The company also sponsors the 7,500-mile “Silk Route,” from Shanghai, China, to Istanbul, Turkey, and the “North American Epic,“ a 6,200-mile cycling odyssey from Anchorage, Alaska, to Mexico City, Mexico. In each of these events, riders have the option of racing or simply enjoying the experience and cycling either the entire distance or just a section of it at their own pace.

Photos from past Tour d'Afrique races (All photos courtesy of Tour d'Afrique, Ltd.)

Somewhere in Africa, a rider clocks in to start his day. A rider clocks in with her iButton at a TimePilot Extreme clock (mounted to ladder at right).


At the Pyramids outside Cairo. Roadblock in Botswana.

TimePilot Corporation, 340 McKee Street, Batavia, Illinois 60510
Phone: 630.879.6400 Fax: 630.879.8072