Thursday, September 30, 2010

Europe is good to Nissan, Part 2

The second part of our small serial takes us to Hungary. Two Nissan drivers were capable to win but only one of them made it to the finish.

Hungarian Baja (August, 26. - 29.)

For the seventh year of its existence Hungarian Baja moved to another location; from the city of Veszprém to Dabas, near Capital City Budapest. Not everyone was delighted by this change as Veszprém’s military area was hugely popular but you can’t every time get what you want.

Hungarian Baja was a round of FIA International Baja Cup so it’s no wonder some of the best European drivers came. Krzysztof Holowczyc with Nissan Navara, as provisional leader of rankings, had to face G-Force Motorsport’s duo Boris Gadasin and Bogdan Novitskiy. You can’t rule out Belgian Joost van Cauwenberge with another Navara either. Add few strong domestic crews such as Erik Korda (Nissan Navara), Balázs Szalay (Opel Antara), Károly Fazekas (BMW X5) and you get tense and fierce fight for top positions. And as a cherry on top multiple German rally champion Matthias Kahle came with brand new SAM Mercedes 35 CC prototype.

And now as we have started with Kahle we can finish him already. The fifth place in prologue was a swan-song before withdrawal after just two Saturday’s specials. Gathering of data was the main goal so it was not a disappointment actually. The prologue winner Holowczyc didn’t last much longer, the fourth special was his last. He slipped out of track, hit a tree and thus handed the first place over to Gadasin.

A bad news: Holowczyc was not the only Nissan pilot to leave the race before the halftime. Massimo Cavinato, Márton Kristóf and Pál Lónyai were the unlucky ones.
A good news: No other Nissan - and there were five of them - enlarged a group of fallen.

If you have a hat, take it off to Erik Korda. While his South African Navara is powered by 4-litre Nissan engine, five of his nearest rivals use big-capacity Chevrolet engines. But only Boris Gadasin was faster. With a help from team colleague Novitskiy who effectively hindered Korda, Gadasin widen the gap and won the race. It was a satisfaction after last year’s DQ from the second place.

Korda was under permanent attack of Balázs Szalay. The stakes were high – title of Hungarian champion. Szalay had quite a lead but not big enough to slack off. This time he lost but Korda is still behind. With one last race in calendar only ill luck or technical breakdown can take the first national title away from Szalay.

Three Nissans made it to the top 10: army guy Zoltán Bálint finished sixth, Imre Varga ninth and Joost van Cauwenberge tenth. Gábor Attila put his Pathfinder on seventeenth position.

Part three will take us back to Poland.

Wacko Nissan Concept Vehicles...

 Nissan Prince Sprint 1900 Prototype, 1963

I don't think this is an encyclopedic list but it certainly is a substantial one.

Here are, in chronological order a great number of Nissan/Infiniti concept vehicles.  While some are purely paper exercises and never had a single part manufactured for them, others made it all the way to living, breathing, running prototypes.  Note that a LOT of design features from these prototypes made it into real world production vehicles for Nissan.  For example--take a look at the downward sloping roof line if the Mixim from 2007.  Though it looks odd then and now it is EXACTLY what can currently be seen in not only the new Nissan Juke but in something like the Kia Soul as well...

 Nissan 126X, 1970

 Nissan 270X, 1970

Nissan 216X, 1971

Nissan Skyline Concept, 1972

 Nissan AD-1 Concept, 1975

 Nissan NX-21, 1983

 Nissan CUE-X, 1985

 Nissan Boga, 1989

 Nissan Figaro Concept, 1989

 Nissan FEV, 1991

 Nissan AP-X, 1994

 Nissan TrailRunner, 1997

 Nissan KYXX, 1998

 Nissan Jikoo, 2003

 Infiniti Kuraza, 2005

Nissan Zaroot, 2005

 Nissan Terranaut, 2006

Nissan Mixim, 2007 

 Nissan Bevel, 2007

 Nissan Pivo-2, 2007

 Infiniti Essence, 2009

Nissan Land Glider, 2009

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Book Review: Men Without Women

In one of the rare instances where I have gone back and reread something, I finished this collection of stories by Ernest Hemingway this weekend.

Usually I have so many new books and such I want to get to, its hard for me to be satisfied with going back and pouring over something I've already devoured.  I had forgotten, however, just how good this group of stories was.

Gathered here are 14 of Hemingway's best vignette's including "The Killers", "Hills Like White Elephants", "Ten Indians" and "Fifty Grand" to mention a few.  The stories are short and sharp.  Truly there is nary a wasted word and many of the stories contain a punch as hard as any boxer.  Covering topics from abortion, to homosexuals in the military, to drug/alcohol abuse, to gangsters, and bull fighting (to name a few), Hemingway is in his prime here.  These stories remind me again why he is my favorite fictional writer.

If you want a short primer on what makes Hemingway so great near some 100 years after his initial works, you could find no better example than this work.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Europe is Good to Nissan, Part 1

During the summer three interesting rallies took place in Central Europe. Two were held in Poland and one in Hungary. Two of these were kind to Nissan drivers and one not so. Let's begin with unlucky one, shall we?

Baja Carpathia (July, 2. - 4.)

New organizers, new name, one new special stage and one from previous year – these are main points of Baja Carpathia 2010. Right from the beginning the race showed its cruel face. Saturday’s special stage was located in a military area and very difficult due to the terrain. Twisted gravel roads were soon followed by huge sand field just to change to narrow forest roads a bit later. Two crews were failed to finish with their competition. Unfortunately one of them was Nissan.  A green Pathfinder driven by Zoli Garamvölgyi spent some time in service area but got back on track no sooner then on Sunday.

Two Polish crews lasted just a little bit longer; Grajek was betrayed by brakes of his SAM Proto, Loszewski lost front diff and wrecked the engine in deep sand. Close to the end of the first special another Nissan stopped. My friend Lumír was very surprised to see a hole in a radiator of his Patrol GR. Two Nissans out of four failed to finish the first stage of rally.

There is an old saying “Disaster never walks alone”. It was very true for Nissans on Baja Carpathia. Polish driver Wozniak also struggled during the first special and fell down the order because of time penalty. He was able to repair “old lady” Navara and successfully completed all remaining specials. But with huge time loss he wasn’t able to finish better than 11th out of fourteen classified. Oh, twenty five cars started the race.

Do you want to know how the last Nissan’s crew did? They did well but fell victim to a strange mishap. By the time Juraj and Danka (my team) were in comfortable lead in T2 class, the Navara started to stop occasionally. And because of this the only T2 Nissan in the race exceeded the time limit for one of the stages which moved him back in the order. And what’s the cause of this? A price label in fuel tank. How it ended up in there? No one knows. The result? Second place in T2 and the eighth overall. Not bad after all.

A brief recap of the rest. Czech Viktor Chytka won the race after flawless performance driving a Toyota-powered Hummer H3 Evo. Another Czech, Zdeněk Pořízek in a BMW X5 CC tried hard to improve from the second position but failed to outrun Chytka. The indestructible Bowler Wildcat of Marcin Kruszewicz placed third and saved the pride of local competitors. Amongst those who were unable to reach the finish line was also Slovak crew of Ľuboš Paška and Juraj Medveczky. A brand new Touareg based on next generation of this SUV showed a beautiful performance until it fell down a steep hill. Both men ended up with damaged vertebras and their season came to a premature end. What a pity.

Next time we are gonna visit Hungary, don't miss Part 2.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Just Two Photos From the NEFR...

Finally getting around to posting these particular reason for the delay, just lazy...

This was at least the second year in a row that the '91 240SX of Martin Walter and Ferdinand Trauttmansdorff has finished the New England Forest Rally.  In the '10 event the Canadian Nissan effort finished in 7th place in the 27 car 2WD Max Attack series event which did encompass both days of racing in Maine and would have finished 14th in the National Rally America field had he paid the extra money to enter that series.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Just Some Inspiration For The Weekend...

Just a couple pictures from the last Rallycross event, about a month ago, up in Belmont, NH.  Very rocky and dry.  Next race is this Sunday, with all the new fiberglass on as well--lets home we don't crack up the front fenders and need them redone as well!!


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Even MORE UAW Stupidity...

Now this one hits home for me and I'll leave my disclosure at that...

The UAW, lead by my newest, most hated man in America, Bob King, is going to pull all UAW funds (several hundred million dollars) from JPMC accounts if the bank does not declare a moratorium on all home foreclosures and RJ Reynolds does not begin negotiating with North Carolina farm workers.

Never mind for a moment that JPMC is one of the institutions primarily responsible for this man's job (JPMC is one of the major handlers of the upcoming GM IPO and also one of the ones who helped shuttle GM through bankruptcy and the government bailout), but what is the UAW doing in North Carolina worrying about farmers?

Well come to find out, a whole bunch of blackmailing organizations (career criminal Jesse Jackson and the Rainbow Push Coalition and the Farm Labor Organizing Committee for instance) have now gotten together to pressure the country and its institutions/businesses into any number of Socialist/criminal endeavors.  The UAW is supporting the farmers in trying to get RJ Reynolds (also heavily financed by JPMC) to increase wages in order to garner support for the UAW in the South and elsewhere for his stated goal of unionizing the decidedly non-union plants of Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Mercedes, etc. that are located in the tobacco belt.

I was at Toyota and saw them cave to Jesse Jackson a few years back and fund him and his thugs in order to make them go away and I hope that JPMC doesn't take the same route and stands up against the UAW, telling them to go screw...but they probably won't.  The American auto industry was brought to its knees years and years of caving to the Unions and they think with the current nitwit in the White House, this may be their best chance to expand their base of power--may god (small g) help those companies who give in to these demands...

Quoting from Mr. King: "Chase needs to help unemployed homeowners in Michigan and underpaid farm workers in the Carolinas. The bank could make a huge difference by suspending foreclosures and pressuring RJ Reynolds to do the right thing." making JPMC, the most successful, highest regarded, valuable, best run bank in the country just give away money and ignore the fact that people can't pay for what they bought--That's a good idea.  Plus, just for shits and giggles, lets blackmail JPMC into some kind of socialist agenda where it begins pressuring its customers into the UAW's agenda...great...what a wonderful country...

Given that Jamie Dimon (JPMC CEO) and Mr. Obama already have a testy relationship and that this agenda is being driven by Mr. Obama's partners in crime, I don't think you'll find them hanging out in the West Wing together any time soon.  Now if only Mr. Dimon was the current Pennsylvania Ave. resident of note...then we might get some where...

UAW, Rainbow Push and other Socialist Losers Blackmailing JPMC...

Details of current threat to pull funds from JPMC...

More UAW Madness...

It's not shocking that people in Detroit are drinking and smoking pot on the job...I'd probably do the same if I lived there...

What is surprising is that after all the scrutiny that the domestic auto manufacturers have received and their near collapse and extermination that workers would still take their jobs for granted and perpetuate this behavior.

Evidently completely comfortable drinking and doing drugs in public and amongst numerous fellow employees the UAW workers of Chrysler feel so entitled to their jobs and so protected by their union that doing these things on their contract protected half-hour morning break (one wonders what they do during their longer lunch break and if they are even still able to stand by their afternoon break) appears completely within the norm of their daily activities.

Chrysler Jeep employees able to drink and get high on the job and still build Grand Cherokees and get their jobs/company/habits subsidized by the American tax payer?? YES WE CAN!!

Detroit, Chrysler Union workers at play!!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Two Steps Forward...

To be honest I'm surprised it took this long before I encountered a significant hiccup...

Yup, the outside "look" of the vehicle is done...kinda...

I picked up the truck from the shop today and it looks great. The front fenders look fantastic and the paint, fit and finish are top shelf work. Only the small strip of blue vinyl continuing from the doors and going forward to the wheel wells remains to be done.

That was the good news...The bad news was that three "starbursts" were found on the very top of the bedsides. Clearly the result of rocks thrown up at my last RallyCross event by the rapidly spinning RWD they point out an obvious deficiency of the fiberglass in motorsports and if I don't want the bedsides and fenders to be junk in short order a solution needs to be found. In hindsight, as always, the problem can be easily foreseen and I should have headed the problem off and solved it ahead of time...

Thereby the Two Steps Forward, One Step Back reference...

Though it is not likely to impact my progress in terms of time for the project (repairs and resolution to problem estimated to be a less than one week job) it will impact my budget as the costs to repair the fiberglass, repaint those small sections and re-clear both bedsides will be significant. Then a solution to the flying rock problem--likely rubber inner fender liners attached to various points/brackets will be a hit as well. None of the materials in this are going to amount to much but the time involved will be.

In any project as long and involved as this, there are bound to be setbacks. This is the first...but will not be the last...