Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Headed to the OiLibya Rallye du Maroc

Yup, headed there in three weeks.  Will be covering the event for an online publication (I think?!?!) and trying to give readers a feel of what the event and major international Rally-Raid is like in person.

I will be getting schlepped from location to location by the organizers and also staying in a tent with the rest of the media during the desert bivouac that marks the highlight of the event.  The list of racers is not out yet but is expected to include all the best racers from the top flight teams including Nasser Al-Attiyah, Giniel de Villiers, Yazeed al-Rajhi, Stephane Peterhansel, etc.

Let me know if you have any questions or photos you'd like me to ask or take while on site.  I should have consistent internet access so I will be posting info on a daily basis.

OiLibya Rallye du Maroc

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Second Largest Exposure to Stage Rally in the US Was...the November Issue of DirtSports and Offroad Magazine?!?!

So a little while ago I posted that the RAV4 Virtual Reality display from Toyota featuring Ryan Millen and his stage rally SUV at Supercross events across the US was arguably the biggest exposure to this type of motorsport in the US this year.

On the heels of that comes what I would argue is the second largest exposure of stage rally to those of us in the US this year.  Written and shot by Cole Sprague for DirtSports magazine which is available both digitally and in print (see your local B&N), the article really doesn't cover anything ground breaking and only sounds like Cole attended and shot from the spectator locations (shocker that he didn't get any real proactive support from the series to put him in the thick of the action) but Team O'Neil gets a mention for their support of one of the racers as does the usual Higgins and Pastrana Subaru crew and, again, Millen's RAV4 showing and being mentioned prominently.

It would have been nice of Cole to have dug deeper into Bryan Bouffier's effort given his unique car but at least it gets a photo as does the classic Volvo of Derek Knight.

While print's circulation numbers aren't what they once were and DirtSports is not half the magazine it was a decade ago (its merger with "OffRoad Magazine" has resulted in far too much pandering to the mall crawler, bolt on accessory crowd) but stage rally coverage (three full pages with lots of photos!) in a magazine that has a reader count safely in the tens of thousands is a pretty good thing and positive exposure for the sport.

Sooooo...the two arguably largest exposures to stage rally in the US this year were...Supercross event displays and an article in a largely desert racing/offroading magazine.  Nice work Rally America...nice work...

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Half Way Through the Silk Way Rally and Jurgen Schroeder and His Nissan are in 16th Overalll

In what is one of the longer, more difficult rally-raids the Silk Way Rally is often viewed as a precursor to the Dakar where the big boys come out to play and test their machines.

With Cyril Depres, Sebastian Loeb, Stephane Peterhansel, and Yazeed al Rajhi all present the leaderboard is stacked with potential Dakar 2017 winners.

Jurgen Schroeder and his son Max are piloting their South African built Nissan Navarra V8 across Russia, its former territories, and all the way to Beijing.  They have run well so far with a few navigation hiccups today that cost them some 10 minutes or more and leaves them in 16th place overall and one hour, nine minutes behind the leader, Cyril Despres.  The Nissan shop in South Africa run by Terence Marsh for Red Lined Motorsport has sent some mechanics to assist but otherwise this is a pure privateer effort.

Silk Way Rally Nissan Results through Stage 6

16th  Jurgen Schroeder, Nissan Navara, 1:08:54 adrift
20th  Sergey Uspenskiy, Nissan GForce Proto, 1:36:48
21st  Miao Ma, Nissan Pathfinder, 1:42:08
37th  Sergey Fomin, Nissan NP300 Pickup, 3:14:48
53rd  Rong Zi, Nissan Patrol, 4:45:21

Monday, July 4, 2016

Largest Exposure to Stage Rally in the US in '16 was...the 2016 Supercross Season???

Been meaning to post this for a while but just getting around to it now.  Never saw anyone else in the rally scene mention this so either most rally people in the US don't go to Supercross events or they just didn't think it was a big deal.

When you are involved in a sport that generally attracts a few dozen to a few hundred spectators over the course of a weekend event and there are constant hand-wringing sessions over what can be done to improve the visibility of the sport and get more people at least AWARE of it so there is some potential for new blood to be brought it, getting the sport in front of the eyes of tens of thousands of people in a short period of time is a huge deal.

The setup was pretty simple.  You hop in one of the four seats, the Toyota rep helps you put on a set of VR goggles and off you go with Ryan, racing down some dirt roads, keeping up with dirt bike rider racing the same terrain.  Using VR you can look around the interior of Ryan's Rav4 seeing the cage, gaze out the window at the dirt biker, look across at Ryan, examine all the buttons on the was a REALLY cool experience.

In combination with Ryan Millen and his stage rally Rav4 and Toyota, what you see photos of here went traveling around to the 17 some odd Supercross events in the first half of '16.  With total attendance for Supercross events pushing over 3/4 of a million individuals and a constant stream of people throwing on the VR goggles and riding along with Ryan Millen in the Rav4 down some dirt roads in California, it would have done a Stage Rally organization a great deal of good if it could have partnered with Ryan and/or Toyota to put some kind of "For more info about Stage Rally, go here: XXXX" or "If you want to get into racing cars in the dirt like Ryan and his Rav4 see this: XXXX", etc.  At the very least it could have gotten a lot of eyeballs on the sport and let them know that the sport is out there.

For any rally organizer looking at this...Supercross does have one more event in '16...the season finale at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas in mid October...The opportunity to pull some new eyeballs and competitors/fans into the sport still exists...somebody get on it....

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Now This Is My Kind Of 240Z!

Modified to take on the Peking to Paris rally for pre 1975 cars.  This 240Z was rotisserie restored before being modified to handle offroad roads.  Not some garage queen, this was put on a boat and off to China for a 10,000 mile race that combines TSD and Special Stage style racing with a reported 50/50 mix of offroad/onroad terrain.

The host in the video is a bit of a goober but if you can make it past him, the owner/driver of the vehicle seems cool and down to earth and knowledgable about the history of offroad 240Zs which includes Baja and the East African Safari.  The R&T article and the team's Facebook page are linked to below.  They are currently in the middle of their race passing into Kazan, Russia yesterday and were busy cleaning off the Mongolian dirt.  You can see their progress, trials and tribulations in their posts...amazing that quality internet access seems to be almost EVERYWHERE now...

240Z Peking to Paris page...

Road & Track Peking to Paris 240Z...

Friday, July 1, 2016

Yours Truly on the Nissan Nation Podcast!

Yup...interviewed about the NISMO Stuff Racing Frontier, its history, its present and its future.  Great working with Daniel Grooters (who has his own Nissan racing effort underway) and David Boyd to do this.  Keep up the good work boys!

Scroll down here to play episode 37 of their podcast where my long segment is.

Episode 37 of Nissan Nation Podcast!!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Hellwig Introduces 2016 Nissan Titan Sway Bars

For lifted and stock height Titans.  Good to see some aftermarket support for the new Titan...hope it keeps coming and gets more varied...

Hellwig Sway Bars for 2016 Nissan Titan...