Monday, July 27, 2015

Nissan and Dos Santos Perform Well at Baja Espana

I hadn't realized until now that Ricardo Leal Dos Santos actually had won a stage at the Dakar in '12 as a Mini driver so its good to see him driving a proper car in a Nissan now.

Entered in his first FIA cross-countrry rally in '15 behind the wheel of a T1 Nissan Navara, Dos Santos picked up a fifth place finish at this past weekends Baja Espana.  A great initial outing and from what I am reading he does plan on contesting Dakar '16.  Dos Santos had a successful Dakar '15 finishing 25th overall and the highest Nissan in the event.  The Portuguese driver has teamed with a Brazilian co-driver and should be getting in some practice in other cross-country rallies the remainder of the year.  Hoping for an even stronger result in Dakar '16...

Doing Things Ass Backwards...

So some five years ago I bought a brand new truck that I turned into a stage rally, hill climb, rally cross, desert racing, all around toy.  At the time I had no vehicle to tow it with and no trailer to tow it on.  Typically its good to have those before embarking on such a path.  In that time I've begged, borrowed and paid for transport of various kinds to and from events and occasionally driven the race truck to and from the event itself just crossing my fingers that nothing bad would happen that would prevent me from driving it home.

I've now finally remedied one of the above noted absences.  My frequent co-driver David Dennis recently had the opportunity to downsize his trailer by buying a lighter trailer from a brother of his that would suit his purposes just his full deck trailer on which we have towed my truck a number of times became available.  So I bought it.  As trailers go she ain't pretty but she gets the job done and with a bit of work can be spruced right up as her bones are solid.  I also like the full deck as while it makes the trailer significantly heavier it also helps prevent frame twisting that I've seen when my 4000 pound truck is put on an open deck. First up for modifications?  A new jack for the front including a nice fat caster wheel attachment to help it pull around my yard with my Pathfinder since I don't have a truck with a hitch...yet.

With the new jack in place next up is a new winch for the deck and some new ramps.  Oh, and if you need something like a new project car towed around and don't have a trailer?  Let me know, she's always available for work if you need her and can provide the vehicle to tow her and your stuff with.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

SandBlast Rally Makes Cover of ADV Moto Magazine

Available digitally or at your local Barnes & Noble its good to see stage rally get coverage in a quality magazine here in the US. With the explosion of Dual Sport riding and motorcycles here in the US over the past few years this is great coverage for NASA's Rally Moto program. Besides the cover there are a number of pages devoted to additional photos and story. Of course everyone's favorite cowboy hat wearing Rally organizer/enthusiast/motorcycle rider made one of the shots...just a glutton for the camera lens...

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Officially Announcing a New Sponsor!

Beginning now the NISMO Stuff Racing effort is primarily supported by Bedard Pharmacy and Medical Supplies out of Maine.  A personal connection led to this relationship and it will serve the team extremely well in the coming months.

Bedard has over 100 years in business and serves all of your standard pharmacological needs including prescriptions and flu shots as well as medical equipment rentals and supplies.  An independent, locally owned business they are your #1 source for serving all that ails you in the Auburn and Lewiston, Maine region.

Maybe we'll stop by on our way to Nova Scotia and the Lookoff Rally next month...they have Food Truck Fridays so maybe they can add "Rally Truck Tuesdays"?!?

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Emil Khneisser and his Nissan Patrol Take Third in Baja Italia

Not bad for a debut effort.  Not bad for a 47 year old driver.  Not bad for a full time corporate exec.  Not bad of this first time in Europe.  It was well done over all and a podium finish despite a flat and a small off is a great result.

Baja Italia was round five if the FIA's Cross Country World Cup and saw 12 entrants in Khneisser's T2 class (production vehicles, not the top of the line custom T1 entrants).  Two of the top three finishers were in Nissan Patrols which are Infiniti QX80 here in the States.  The Patrol has become the deficit go to race vehicle for the rich middle eastern customers looking to go compete with the big boys without going to a full T1.

Story on Khneisser's performance here:

And an early video on the introduction of the T2 Patrol below:

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Book Review: The Water Knife

This is the second novel I've read by Paolo Bacigalupi I've read with the first being "The Windup Girl".  Unfortunately I should have taken my feelings from that first novel and remembered them more clearly before picking up this one.

We are once again in the near future, though this time it is the very near future instead of a hundred or more years away.  While in "The Windup Girl" we were concerned with rising oceans and the absence of oil, here we are concerned with a lack of water, competing water cartels in the desert Southwest and the breakup of the United States

In both cases Bacigalupi writes in a style more attuned with his young adult novels where he got his start.  The language and rhythm of the writing is juvenile and simple.  Cormac McCarthy this is not.

Nor is this William Gibson.  The novel is almost "cute" in its portrayal of its dystopian future.  We have all the queues we see in our daily life just drawn a bit farther out--shiny Teslas, Chinese investment in American real estate, Google Glass like devices, drought ridden California and the Southwest in general, mentions of well known brands like Camelback, REI, Aquafina, etc.  Its like Bacigalupi just threw a bunch of New York Times articles in a blender and put the resulting mush on the page.  He isn't creating much or providing much insight here, he's merely regurgitating what we already know.  And that's the difference between someone like Gibson and himself.

Gibson will create things out of his own mind that do not exist yet and show you a vision of the future you hadn't thought could exist.  Bacigalupi shows you a future that's already been predicted and that you know won't happen because the world just isn't that easy to forecast.

"The Water Knife" is a good novel if you don't want to think and just want to say "Yeah!  Right on!  I think we're going to hell too!"  Sorry but I need an author to show me something I don't already know.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Dave Grohl and Friends Cover Neil Young's Cinnamon Girl

This is from this past weekend.  Dave Grohl his friends and his broken leg show up and do a pre-concert show as part of a motorcycle rally in Washington DC.  He performs a solid cover of Neil Young's Cinnamon Girl.

Of particular interest is that behind the drums is Pearl Jam's very original drummer Dave Krusen.  Krusen provided all the drum work on Pearl Jam's first album Ten and likely lives comfortably off those royalties (if he was smart).  He left the band somewhat voluntarily before PJ ever even really became big due to his substance abuse problems and put himself into rehab at that point--a good move given the number of substance related deaths in the bands around him.  Other members of this "band" are former members of Blind Melon who had their own issue with substance abuse seeing Shannon Hoon (their lead singer) die of an overdose and Grohl himself saw Kurt Cobain commit suicide.  Ahhh...such happy tales...

Regardless, enjoy...

Monday, July 6, 2015

Rubber O-Rings for A Watch Band Holder

I have a relatively cheap Timex Ironman digital watch that I use as my bang around watch and spare clock for rally racing.  It has treated me well though is an obvious tell to others that I am not exactly a fashion plate.

Unfortunately its one flaw is its watch band keeper.  Made out of a thin rubber and exposed to salt, sand, dirt, sun, sunscreen, solvents, oil, etc. it seems to breakdown pretty quickly and after a year or so had split and left my watch band flopping around and the watch unusable.  Timex doesn't seem to sell just the watch band loop and I didn't want to buy replacement straps for near $20 just to get the little loop.  So what is one to do.

Well, Home Depot solved the problem with their plumbing isle.  A little box of 10 rubber O-rings about 9/16 in diameter, in black for less than $3 is perfect.  The O-rings might even be better than the original as they are likely made to stand up to all kinds of chemicals and substances given their plumbing application.  The O-ring is comfortable and its matte black finish fits perfectly with the Timex rubber.  Perfect and problem solved.