Sunday, March 31, 2013

Film Review: Zero Dark Thirty

This was one of those many films I wish I had gotten to see in the theater but didn't and was waiting expectantly for to come out on DVD.

Coming into the film I already knew the vast majority of the background behind the search for Bin Laden.  I'd read boatloads of stuff in the media over the years that had been leaked regarding this effort, I had read and reviewed here No Easy Day which recapped the life and efforts of Matt Bissonette who was in line behind the Seal who shot and killed Bin Laden and read the Vanity Fair article with the "shooter" himself.  I would consider the film a historically important work--but is it a good film?

I won't quibble with some of the film's technical inaccuracies pointed out by the "shooter" in his viewing of the film (too much talking by operatives during mission, Belgain Malinois vs. German Shephard, etc.) as they are merely conventions for the film's sake and yet not gross, purposeful, historical, inaccuracies.  In fact "the shooter" doesn't seem to have much in the way of issues with the way the Bin Laden killing was portrayed.

The biggest criticisms of the film came not from those who truly felt it was a inaccurate recall of these efforts but from those (John McCain being one) who felt that its portrayal of torture as conducted by members of the CIA (or those directly/indirectly employed by the US governmental forces) was misplaced in its ability to provide valuable information.  Mr. McCain is not able to be a impartial observer in this instance given his treatment at the hands of the Vietnamese and others leveling similar criticisms are grossly blinded by their political views.  What is inarguable is that torture can be a valuable method of obtaining information.  Is it perfect?  Certainly not, but when you are dealing with murderers and assassins who could kill thousands of your citizens, such ugly methods can and should be employed.  Such vaunted conservatives (please hear the sarcasm) as Alan Dershawitz understand this, particularly when viewing a situation via the prism of Israeli and US concerns with terrorism.

As to the film itself, I did not find the water-boarding scenes nearly as "horrific" as described in the main stream media...truly they weren't uncomfortable to view or wince inducing.  I'm sorry but some water over the head, some choking and gagging on wet clothes and moral embarrassment via being portrayed nude in front of a woman for the captured Al Queada operatives doesn't exactly come close to my personal squeamish meter.

Nor was the penultimate mission to kill Bin Laden as exciting and breathless in nature has been described in most reviews.  Yes, the portrayal is suspenseful but given you don't have any emotional connection to the characters, it just isn't that impactful.  Perhaps some of this is due to the fact that I pretty much knew everything that was going to happen and how it was going to happen from my previous readings.  Certainly reading No Easy Day gives you much more of a personal connection to Matt Bissonette than this film does for any of its characters.

Jessican Chastain portrays the main character in the film, Maya, who is the CIA analyst who, over the course of many years tied enough circumstantial evidence together to track down Bin Laden's location.  Again, cross referencing the info in No Easy Day to this portrayal leads one to believe that both sources accurately depict "Maya" as an intelligent, driven, ball busting, pain in the ass, disliked by her peers, analyst.  Chastain gets this point across despite her somewhat "too high for this role" pitch of her voice which had me wondering if they could have found an actress that sounds less like a whiny college co-ed for the part.

In the end my favorite parts of the film are those that remind the viewer that 9-11 was not a one off, singular event unlikely to recur but instead simply one in a series of attacks on Western citizens around the world over the period of decades.  It reminds one that it was an extended and brutal war we were/are fighting and one that is not covered by rules that in retrospect look as moronic and short sighted as the waves of WWI soldiers sent en mass, shoulder to shoulder into the uncaring maw of fixed machine gun positions.  Thank god for those men and women willing to do what it takes to protect the rest of us.  Hopefully this very good film gets that point across to at least some people out there...

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Jesse Jackson Can't Draw a Crowd in Detroit!

Poor, poor Jesse Jackson...

With his son facing sentencing for fraud, conspiracy and a host of other items and Jesse's coalitions going downhill faster than the ratings over at MSNBC, the race baiting huckster decides to pop his head out of his mistress' hole long enough to "protest" the new emergency manager put in place by the governor of Michigan over the city of Detroit.  The city and the people of Detroit have shown themselves incapable of governing themselves and have driven the city into a third world apocalyptic image of African American slums--but that's really not the point here...

The greater point is that Jesse couldn't rally more than an estimated 35-100 people at his downtown Detroit protest against Mr. Orr, the appointed emergency manager.  The people of Detroit are either too cold, too scared or too smart to buy into Jackson's 50 year old diatribes--and good for them.  If only more people and particularly companies had stood up to Jackson along the way, millions of dollars could have been kept out of the hands of do nothing criminals.

Jackson has been defrauding companies for years.  My first encounter with his methods came some 15+ years ago when he defrauded Toyota of millions of dollars over "minority" hiring and sourced materials.  The Auto industry was a favorite target of Mr. Jackson (see op ed here: Receiving end of extortion...) and given his ties to "organized" labor its not surprising.  Reading this and other articles in the Detroit News along with their comments makes it appear as if Jesse may have come to the end of the road (hopefully).  If he can't draw more than 50 people in the most corrupt African American city in the US, where can he draw people?  Its as surprising to see this as it was to see George Wallace take 90% of the African American vote in Alabama back in the 80's...Maybe they both can commiserate in hell when its all over...

Not surprising though from a family co-chairing the '08 Obama election campaign though...

Monday, March 25, 2013

Bryce Menzies Coming to GRC...

Saw this in a UNLV article today.  It appears as if Bryce has signed on with Travis Pastrana's racing team to run in the Global RallyCross events in '13.  Its a good fit for both as Bryce is also backed by Red Bull and has been a Dodge driver for some time as well.

It will be interesting to see how the GRC schedule fits with his short-course and desert racing schedule and if there is a conflict, which one gets dropped (I'm betting GRC).  Certainly the Menzies have the financial backing to support his effort and put him near the top of the field in terms of on site resources.  Bryce is no slouch behind the wheel either with time spent at O'Neil's Rallyschool and being declared one of the best drivers to come through that facility by its lead instructor.  It will be interesting to see what a full season (or nearly so) of time behind the wheel of the GRC Dodge Dart at a primarily an asphalt based series (if its in any way similar to the courses set up in '12) will produce for Bryce.

The other interesting part here is Bryce's interest in the Dakar.  Given that the winners (car and bike), on a combined points basis, of the Baja 500 and Reno 500 later this year will receive a free entry to the '14 Dakar for the first time, I'm betting that this is what Bryce is aiming for.  Additionally, I'm sure Red Bull would be a big fan of his entrance into the Dakar as a young, up and coming American racer.  Regardless, it should be a busy year for the Menzies crew trying to support a short course, SCORE, BITD, and now GRC efforts (with Dakar possibly thrown in for S's and giggles).  You certainly can fault them for sitting on their laurels!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Book Review: The Big Show

The full title here is actually The Big Show: The Greatest Pilot's Story of World War II by Pierre Clostermann.

I still haven't figured out whether this title means the "greatest PILOT'S story" or the "greatest pilot's STORY" though I'm hoping its supposed to be the latter and not the former as it would be incredibly presumptuous of Clostermann to call himself the greatest pilot ever...

Still, the novel itself is a solid read and a good recap of the airwar in Europe.  Clostermann was certainly worthy of admiration as he volunteered for the free French Air Force and served in the RAF and the FFAF from '42 through the end of the war.  The book itself is drawn from the daily diary Clostermann kept throughout that time.

The book keeps some of the repetitive nature of a day to day diary but recounts enough of the major events from a fresh perspective to keep things quite interesting.  Clostermann pilots a Spitfire in Southern England, is shipped off to the near arctic North, conducts operations prepping for the Normandy invasion, becomes one of the first Frenchmen to land back in France and helps hasten the Nazi downfall through his destruction of numerous trainyards, airfields and supply transports.

While not the biggest ace of the war, Clostermann was no slouch shooting down an estimated 18 air to air victories (though this most recent, more precise estimate is a substantial decline from the 33 in the official record and cited by the author and amusing given the author's frequent issue with American aviators' overestimate of their tallies).  Included under his claimed victories are those over numerous FW-190s, ME-109s as well as some early jets such as the ME-262s and Arado 234s.

The anecdotes contained in this work are what makes it most worth reading.  Clostermann doesn't pull any punches in describing both his adversaries and allies and carries a particular distaste for Americans it seems going well beyond the "overpaid, oversexed and over-here" cliche that was common at that time.

His descriptions of air to air combat are the highlight.  This is true "knights of the air" stuff with Clostermann strapping himself in to a machine always seemingly on the edge of control, heading into a joust with an equally aristocratic knight.  As his friends fall one by one you can hear the stress tearing him to pieces and feel the associated affects on his health.

DeGaulle, Spitfires, Tempests, Churchill, Americans, Germans, English, free French, V1s, wartime atrocities, suicidal missions, drunken escapades, carousing for women, near death landings, bailouts, happanstance encounters, courage, failure, cowardice, stupidity--all the things that make war...war, are here.

Clostermann would go on in later life to fly ground attack missions the Algerian War, be a major critic of the Falkland War in the early 80's and later the first Gulf War but whatever his later views his work here was regarded by William Faulkner as the finest book of aviation to come out of WWII.  I haven't read enough to know whether this is true or not, but I'm betting The Big Show isn't a bad place to start either.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

BTF Prerunner Bumper for Nissan Frontier...

I actually picked this up from the Greyhound depot last weekend though I was in LA and SF this past week and had zero time to unwrap it or take a peak at it.  This weekend was a bit calmer and I got a clean look at it.

It came painted (powdercoated?) which I wasn't expecting as it was never brought up and I assumed like most fabbed items in CA and the Southwest, there is little need for protection against rust.
Additionally the light tabs for both the LED bar and the HIDs I have planned for the bumper look like they are in perfect position.  The front skid is also a nice added bit of protection for some of the delicate bits of the truck that formerly were quite exposed.

Given the improving weather and temperatures I am hoping to have this mounted within the next week.  Will continue to provide updates.

Friday, March 22, 2013

SpaceX Merlin 1D Engine Gets Approval...

Wasting no time on their Falcon rocket program which is already transporting equipment back and forth to the ISS, SpaceX has already gotten an upgraded version of the engine powering said rocket in production.

The new Merlin 1D engine has been approved after going through a rigorous testing program (video of some of which can be seen below).  The new engine will be installed on the Falcon series of rockets beginning this summer.  Achievements for this rocket include the highest thrust (measured at 147,000 lbs) to weight ratio of any liquid fuel rocket in history and a 50% decrease in parts and cost.  This is also the rocket that will be used on the Grasshopper program as well.  Love what SpaceX is doing and accomplishing...Love it!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

2013 TORC Defending Pro Lite Champion...

Brad Lovell has given his Nissan Pro Lite a cool refresh to go along with its #1 numberplate for the 2013 season.  The white body really pops and I actually like the black racing stripes on the hood as well.  Lovell also keeps his BFG tire sponsorship which is common across all the Lovell racing vehicles.

Lovell Racing displays 2013 Pro Lite...

Thursday, March 14, 2013

New NISMO Dual Exit Exhaust for Titan...

Surprised this hasn't come out before now.  Being able to finance it into the cost of the vehicle in its initial purchase is a plus as well.  Well...its a benefit until I find out how much it costs which could be quite inflated.

Still, the exhaust looks really nice and the additional 11 HP and 8 ft. lbs of torque are pretty good for a simple exhaust upgrade.  Its also covered by a 3 year warranty.  If I had a Titan to tow my race truck with, I'd be looking to grab one!

NISMO Titan Dual Exhaust...

Gentleman's Guide to Racing Rides Again...

The Gentleman's Guide to Racing is an ongoing web series created by Michael "Skiny" Power.  He's already done Baja and driven around Vietnam on some crummy old Russian "motorcycles".  A mix of Hunter S. Thompson and Steve McQueen, Power is interested in the adventurous aspect of motorized travel, not in the "winning" or corporate end.  What he enjoys is the dirt, the grime, the challenge and the potential for soul crushing failure at nearly any point in time.

I think a great quote from Mr. Skiny sums up his ethos beautifully and its one I would gladly count myself as aspiring to:

This isn’t about Blue blood, trust funds, accents or which private school you attended. This is about being a man. Our motto is, “It’s the burden of all true gentlemen to lead an exciting life.”

This makes him someone I enjoy following along with.  The fact that he sounds as if he will branch out into other forms of travel (blue water sailing?) makes his efforts even more interesting.  Evidently he has also trained up here in the Northeast at O'Neil's Rally Center in NH like so many others getting into the dirtier side of motorsport and I'm trying to find out what impressions he may have left there during his stay.

This weekend he will be competing at the Mint 400 and following in the footsteps of the aforementioned Thompson who took part in this event many years ago.  Power will be piloting a top of the line vehicle however and doing it with his own style.  As opposed to the LSD that Thompson would likely have consumed Power appears to be more likely to do it with quality scotch in hand and a pretty lady on his arm.

Gentleman's Guide to Racing interview...

Gentleman's Guide to Racing website...

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Chesley Bonestell

 I first saw his paintings in a book my father has had on his shelf for now over 50 years.  I can't remember which book it was (Conquest of Space or Worlds Beyond I believe) but as a kid these images were likely what sparked my interest in space in general and the instill in me the need for humans to escape our little cradle.  I can still see the faded dust jacket with numerous cracks and tears from frequent reading.

The paintings were and are stunning and stand with anything created in the 20th Century, particularly in terms of influence and wide acclaim.  What I have not known till now is how wide Bonestell's influence was beyond this book of my father's and how often I had viewed his work unknowingly.

Bonestell was a designer on the Chrysler building in NYC, SF's Golden Gate Bridge, worked extensively on the image designs for Citizen Kane (frequently regarded as the #1 film of all time), was the character inspiration for an Ayn Rand character in The Fountainhead, worked as a large scale artist on films such as War of the Worlds and When Worlds Collide and was frequently featured in Life and Scientific American magazines.  And I think we can see from the images how much of an influence he was on films such as 2001: A Space Odyssey and many others

Its the clarity and realism of the work that stuns me to this day with the paintings looking far more like photographs than anything done by a human hand.  His work inspired many such as Carl Sagan and virtually the entire US space program and is still influencing scientists and artists today.  He also depicted things in his paintings really not discussed or known to the general public decades before they became science fact and not fiction such as binary star systems and the early, molten rock and comet ridden beginnings of our own planet.  Not bad for someone born well before man ever took flight.  Some of my favorites of his paintings are included here and there is a bit more extensive article linked below.

Chesley Bonestell article...

Monday, March 11, 2013

SpaceX Grasshopper--A New High!

SpaceX has continued, beyond its efforts in getting cargo to the ISS with its Dragon launch vehicles, to develop its Grasshopper vertical take off and landing rocket.  They've been taking it nice and slow with each little hop getting higher and higher.  This past week's launch took the Grasshopper up to some 263 feet, performed a brief hover and then returned to its launching pad without a hiccup or wobble.

The article states that SpaceX is developing the Grasshopper in order to reduce launch costs BUT that reusable launch vehicles have often been MORE expensive than disposable ones due to the extra protection/weight that is required.  To me this is a false argument as all prior reusable vehicles have been developed on the premise of an extremely fast reentry necessitating all the additional heat shielding and either glider or capsule reentry design.  With a VTOL launch vehicle you reduce the reentry speed to zero and eliminate all the extra gear needed for the friction protection.  Its a new model of launch and reuse, time to rethink basic assumptions.

SpaceX Grasshopper launch...

Nissan NV 4x4 Van Conversion

In what is surely an unsurprising development, Quigley Motor Company, Inc. has created a 4x4 conversion kit for the Nissan NV series of vans. 

As the Nissan NV is based upon the Titan frame, rear differential and engine, it should have been fairly easy to add the front diff and create a true 4x4 van.  In reality this should be almost identical to a Nissan Titan with a different cab/shell placed upon the frame.  Nissan itself should have offered this from the beginning but perhaps they didn't think it would sell.

Now I am even more in love with this van and it is even more applicable to racers looking for a  desert or other off the beaten track support vehicle.  With the cost of the conversion kit running around $10K, it brings the NV right into the top end of the Nissan Titan 4x4's price range--again, not surprising though I'm betting some ingenious at home builders could throw this on a NV for a bit less than the $10K.

Regardless, don't be surprised if you see one of these beasties out on the trails in the near future!

Quigley NV 4x4 conversion...

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Film Review: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

This 2011 film release is pretty far removed from your standard, modern, espionage thriller.  There isn't much action and what there is, is largely played out in the character's minds.

Even the blood and gunplay that is included is done in a way that fits the time period of the story.  The sounds of the guns are muwhile the entry and exit wounds are done in an appropriate, non-Hollywod, manner.

The story revolves around a MI6 officer, George Smiley, who has been forced into retirement being called back to service (did Le Carre create this cliche or has it always been so in the espionage/police/FBI/CIA, etc. thriller??) to help uncover a mole within the British intelligence hierarchy.

My father had this book on his shelf when I was a child as well as one of its sequels in Smiley's People.  It is interesting to note that there have been some changes to the film from the story that seem silly in retrospect.  Benedict Cumberbatch's character, Peter Guillam, is shown in an EXTREMELY brief scene in which he dismisses his live-in boyfriend, to be homosexual.  Seriously, the scene lasts 30 seconds, yet in the novel, the character is straight and ends up married in later novels.  How this will be reconciled in film sequels should be interesting and why it was done at all is suspect. The film gains nothing by its inclusion and would have lost nothing had it been eliminated--the true definition of a throwaway scene.

Regardless, this film is still well done.  Gary Oldman's depiction of George Smiley is properly British and reserved.  The other actors here are a list of the best Brits working in Hollywood today.  Tom Hardy, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hurt, and Colin Firth represent some of the best in the business from England..

With the acting being solid the direction is not far behind.  The pacing is deliberate though not slow, the photography a nice, depressing, English grey in color and tone and the story telling intricate but not confusing.

Oldman got numerous acting award nominations for his role as George Smiley which I think is a bit overstated.  He was good but the cast was such an ensemble work and the focus not squarely on the character of George Smiley that singling him out as putting something remarkable on screen here is too much.

In the end, this is a good film, with a well told story and top notch acting.  Its worth seeing, particularly in contrast to most "modern" thrillers.  Just don't expect "Die Hard With an English Accent".

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Finally!! 2014 (or '15) Nissan Titan Spy Shots....

Its about time!!  In existence since 2004 the Nissan Titan has remained virtually unchanged for nine years now which is an eternity in the automotive world.  Ford, Dodge, Toyota and Chevrolet have all gone through at least two additional generations of their full size trucks in that time for comparison.

Part of this was driven by Dodge's bankruptcy and restructuring which killed the codevelopment of the next generation of the Titan back in '07/'08.  So Nissan was forced to start from scratch and on its own.

Word of the next generation Titan has been all behind the scenes and fairly quiet.  We still have no details and until now, no photos, which is rare for such a high profile model that is anticipated to be introduced to the world in early '14 as either a '14 1/2 or a 2015 model.  What Nissan has stated is that everything is on the table for this model.  Diesel engines, regular cabs, stripper models, varied bed lengths, etc.  Evidently those getting this spy shot saw three of these Next Gen Titan mules on the road at the same time with at least one of them towing what looks like a fairly substantial load.  The grill looks much more squared off than the current generation truck and reminds me of a Ford SuperDuty or the Nissan NV cargo van.  Here's hoping for a lot more photos and details to come out as we go forward!!

First Next Gen Titan Spy Pics...

Kurt Caselli Article in Cycle News...

The writers behind Cycle News penned a cool little interview with Kurt Caselli (he of two stage wins in the 2013 Dakar).

Some interesting tidbits include how Marc Coma helped him prepare, how much lead time he had before shipping off to South America and what, if any, differences he found between racing here in the States and Baja and in the Dakar.

Cycle News is nice enough to make their magazine available for free online and you can read the article here:

Kurt Caselli article in Cycle News...

Great Old School Datsun 510 Photo...

This photo is from the 1973 High Desert Trails event.  The driver is a Bob (R.C.) Laton and the codrive is a Gerry Finn.

The 510 here would go on to win the event.  In doing a quick Google search it looks like Bob (R.C.) was quite active with Datsun throughout the 70s in numerous stage rally events.

Note the strange tube on the outside of the front passenger wheel.  This is the wheel sensor for the rally odometer.  No GPS in those days!

Supposedly he still has a shop of some kind in Santa Clara, CA.  There does seem to be a RC Laton connected to a "Trailkat" company in Santa Clara and the coincidences are too striking for him NOT to be the owner of this company.  I'm going to try and reach out to him and get more info on his career and vehicles.  Who knows??  He might have some of them hanging around!  A 510 of this era and design would be an epic car to have at a vintage NORRA race.

Oh, and I love the 1973 method of cutting and cropping photos with the protractor laid down pencil markings on the photo for later handling.  Ahh...the good old days!!

Trailkat Website!!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Australian Rally Team Testing Ballistic Material...

Now here's a new sponsorship possibility.  Ballistics grade material testing. 

Evidently an Australia based company decided (how nice of them!!) that a rally car's underside might make a good test bed for some of its synthetic material.  The material in question looks to have been shaped nicely to adhere and conform to the Ford Escort's underside.  The resin material is reported to have high fracture toughness and kinetic energy absorption properties.  Given its likely light weight it makes a great material for undercar protection.  Now we just have to get some forward thinking companies in the States to follow their example.

Seperate article on the testing of this composite... 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Setting the Women's Movement Back...

by at least 50 years is one Ms. Lauren Silberman...

I can't tell if she did this as a complete farce or if she legitimately thought she could compete in this arena.  Regardless, she couldn't kick the ball more than 16 yards and from reports on scene, couldn't even get the ball to sit on the tee without falling over.  When she fails to get the ball out of her own shadow she then says she has a pulled muscle and retires to the medical staff.

The thing is, there might be some decent female kickers out there.  Note I said "decent" and not "good".  If we are talking about the top 1% of virtually any physical activity, the realistic perspective is that there will not be a female among them.  But Ms. Silberman virtually guarantees that even "decent" ones will be given short shrift as she was the first female EVER to participate in an NFL combine.

Enjoy the videos...they're good for a laugh at least...The first video is a good closeup but the second one you really get the full effect of how pathetic her kicks were...

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Australia--National Capital Rally

The Australian rally series always features some great and classic Nissans and Datsuns.  The National Capital Rally, the first event of the Australian Rally Championship 2013 season was no exception.

Will Orders and his Nissan Silvia S13 as well as Jack Monkhouse and his similar Silvia S15 fought for the top of the podium most of the weekend.  Orders would DNF in day two but Monkhouse would finish on the podium in third with the Honda Jazz and Renault Clio of Eli Evans and Scot Pedder (respectively) finishing one and two.

Beyond the Silvia's of Orders and Monkhouse however there were a number of other Nissan/Datsuns in the event including the Datsun 510 of Claude Murray which took the Classic class win for the weekend. Other models seen in this event include a Datsun 180B, Nissan Bluebird, a Datsun 1200, and a Datsun 1600.

Australian Rally Series...

Friday, March 1, 2013

Australian Rally Championship Begins...

One of the other big events this weekend is the beginning of the Australian Rally Championship. For 2013 the ARC is returning its top level of competitors to 2WD vehicles.  No longer is the field dominated by only Subarus and Mitsubishis.  The mix of marquees is fantastic as is the varied age of the vehicles.

Today's Power Stage began the event with brief sprint and a little Mazda took the win and the first points of the season.  The series also is getting its videos up quick, has live tracking (yet to figure that out yet, may be my browser--IE at the moment), and live scoring. The video below is clear, well put together and I LOVE the terrain.  Oh, and since its on the other side of the world?  Its already day two of the event and they've started the main stages while I'm getting ready for bed...

Movie Trailer: Downloaded

This story always intersted me for a number of reasons.  One being that Shawn Fanning had a number of local ties to me with him growing up on the Cape and going to school at Northeastern.  A second being that my key formative years were the 1990's which is when Napster was created and was really the forebearer of the social networks and media distribution methods we see today.  Lastly, I just thought it was damn cool.  A couple teenage kids more or less creating a method by which the entire entrentched music industry would need to re-write its rules.  Napster's impact on the music industry is still being felt today--for good and bad and not only in the music arena but in every content medium you can name.

This should make for an interesting disection of an industry and draw a number of parallels to emerging technology firms you can find out there today.

DOWNLOADED from Trouper on Vimeo.

Awesome Photo of Five Racing Navaras

There are a ton of cool racing (and other) events this weekend (and today) taking place around the world and none of them involve NAPCAR.

In South Africa for instance we have the opening round of the 2013 Donaldson Cross Country Championship (formerly the ABSA Offroad series).  At this even we have the largest Nissan based offroad team in the world.  The Regent Racing team will be fielding five top flight Nissan Navaras (Frontiers here in the US) with a sixth to show up at the series' next event.  The photo here is of their epic paddock area with the five Navaras all done up in similar livery parked squarely away.  At least two of these are V8 powered Navaras with the rest being standard V6s.

With this series producing some of the best Dakar racer's and vehicles in the world it is one to keep a close watch on.  Fielding a six team effort is a big deal , probly bigger in cost than the factory efforts of Ford or Toyota in that same series.  Here's hoping for a return to Dakar in '14 by Nissan in a big way, lead by this Regent racing team.

Regent Racing Homepage...