The British are invading Saint Edwards State Park from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, July 25, as the Western Washington All British Field Meet (ABFM) car show and swap meet sets up shop for the day.
COMING UP IN 1.06 | Even before I bought my 89 Pajero, I was browsing Expedition Portal. It’s a great community dedicated to the idea of overlanding. Overlanding is, to put it simply, exploring the world via land. For most, this means driving a 4- or even 6-wheeled vehicle, but there’s also plenty of people exploring on 2 wheels, including bicycles, and even on foot.
Our little blue planet is pretty incredible. We all have something in common. Overlanders get out into the world and explore, experiencing the richness of culture and humanity. Discovering the common ground bringing us together as human beings. What better souvenir is there than friendship? [Read more…]
YOU THINK YOU KNOW A GUY
Typically, when people use that phrase, they’re inferring someone they trusted has let them down. In this case, I mean the difference between reading about something and knowing it. Adapting an old saying, you can read about how to launch a turbocharged, all-wheel drive vehicle at the drag strip for years. Until you actually do it, you don’t really know how to do it.
In this case, I mean to say that I’ve emailed back and forth with this lad enough times that, when I saw some of the pictures he sent in, I feel pretty confident in saying this is a cat I’d love to catch a beer with. Or a pint. He’s from Northern Ireland, after all.
MAKE WITH THE EPIC ALREADY
Michael McLaughlin is a member of the Max Attack Marshals Club. You may recall my interview with Barry Boyle about their Night at the Stages fundraising event. As I was looking through picture galleries on the MAMC website, I kept seeing this ridiculously badass Land Rover Defender pickup. I mentioned it to Barry, he made the introduction. (Are you beginning to see how this works?)
Michael is a farmer, 4-wheeler, and first rate rally marshal. He tells me he saw the potential in a gutted slag, fell in love with it, and brought it home with him. It was the exact opposite of what you see here. I think what makes this one special isn’t just that it’s a vehicle you just don’t see in some parts of the world (namely the US), but that it’s both daily work truck and gearhead plaything. He works the fields, then works the special stages. Epic.
WHAT WE TALK ABOUT
- an old Irish saying about how you’re supposed to drive one of these
- quick looks at some of his greater challenges
- why he does it
- what’s next
Eh? If you subscribe before the end of March, it’s free for life. This summer? When we’re asking US$15/yr for the magazine? You could be getting it for free. And by fall, when the price goes up to US$24/yr? Think how nice it will be to tell your friends how you get Gearbox Magazine for free. Your subscription shows us the stories of gearheads matter and we don’t have to whore ourselves out to make a few bucks in advertising. (barf)
SPECIAL THANKS TO BHPni.com for generously providing all the images associated with this story. We’d love to hear from them and some of the gearheads they meet in their automotive adventures in Northern Ireland. Looks like they cover quite a diverse scene.
Back in November, Britain’s Excite Rallye Raid Team took delivery of their new wheels from RaBe Race Cars. We spoke with Team Manager David Jones, right about a year ago, discussing sponsorship and what it takes to make ends meet in professional motorsport these days, and took this opportunity to catch up.
DESERT WARRIOR 3
The Desert Warrior 3 was built by RaBe Race Cars for the FIA T3 world championship. It might look like a kitted-out Land Rover Evoque, but this 4100lb (1900kg) beast would walk all over said garden (party) variety soft-roader. Beneath the satin black bonnet lives a twin-turbocharged, 3.0L diesel pumping out an FIA-restricted 275hp through a 6-speed sequential gearbox. There’s a pair of Reiger coilovers at each corner, keeping the BF Goodrich Race G tires and 16″ Compomotive Atacamas in check. DW3 can go the distance, too, with a 260L (68gal+) fuel tank, good for 1200km (745mi) at race speeds. Holding it all together is a custom chassis hand-crafted from T45 carbon manganese tubing.
What really sets this truck apart are some of the special features from Reiger.
- CCV (Corner Control Valve) This patented system detects cornering loads, stiffening compression damping on the outer wheel(s) to reduce roll, keeping the Desert Warrior flat-out, even when running soft (or no) anti-roll/sway bars.
- LCV (Lateral Control Valve) Another Reiger-patented system, LCV allows for more comfortable, basic damper settings by registering whether or not the suspension load is due to the wheel coming up – or the chassis going down.
- RCV (Rebound Control Valve) When airborne, the RCV softens rebound damping, allowing the wheel to drop more quickly in order to regain traction.
- HPDP (Hydraulic Progressive Double Piston) Talk about smart damper tech! At high speeds, the double piston damping is stiffer and more responsive than at low speeds.
UNDER THE COSH
David says, “We’re very happy with the new car – fantastic all around. Looks and drives great!” He recently got a chance to shake it down in Holland (see picture above). But getting the first all-British team to Dakar isn’t all off-tarmac shenanigans in The Netherlands. “It’s been really hectic here and we’re still a bit under the cosh – bringing in the sponsorship money is still definitely the biggest challenge – and probably always will be. We have a great acquisition agent working on our behalf who has had some very positive meetings with big name companies, but we’re still waiting for the deal to be signed that’s going to secure our racing for the next couple of years.”
When asked what obstacles they’ve had to overcome, Jones laughs, “Obstacles we’ve overcome? We’ve had so many set-backs, I wouldn’t know where to start. One recent challenge was that our website was hacked just after our most recent press release, but we managed to get it back up within less than 24 hours. (Someone managed to get it re-directed to a page that they had set up. Not sure what their point was or what they hoped to achieve).”
They’ve also had to press on regardless, despite having virtually no budget at all. Says, David, “I’d say one of our most significant achievements has been to keep burbling along with virtually no budget at all. Sheer bloody-mindedness is what’s keeping us going!” Definitely appropriate to the type of racing they’re involved in!
Excite will continue to stick with it. They will never give up. They will never surrender. We rallyistas have a saying, press on regardless. David’s wife (who is Japanese) says, Ganbarimasu, which means never give or keep on fighting. I think Churchill would be proud of the first professional, all-British rally raid team.
“Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in, except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.” – Churchill, October 2941
Excite Rallye Raid is currently waiting on responses from a few potential sponsors – will they or won’t they? They’ve secured a certain amount of financial backing at this time, but they’re still hoping to bring on a title sponsor. “Keeping everything crossed!” as David tells me. Their training program is seeing the whole team operating at peak performance whilst their business arm is engaged in partnership – read it again, partnership – talks with several global brand about that title sponsorship goal.
I hope they land a mega British sponsor. Good things come to those who wait, and these lads (and ladies) have been working damned hard while they wait.
This story has been some time in the making. Something like three months in the making, actually. What’s more, this is one of the best stories I’ve ever had the honor and privilege of sharing. Why’s it taken so long? We are seriously short on pictures to go with it and the folks at Project Mobility are very busy. Nevertheless, this story needs told. Read it and think about what you – as a gearhead – can bring to the whole world. [Read more…]
EXCLUSIVE: I don’t really know how to introduce this one. We were fortunate enough to get in touch with David Jones, Business Manager for Excite Rally Raid, the first professional, all-British Dakar Rally team, who generously spoke with us about sponsor relations, team funding, prototype reliability, what it takes to compete at the international level, and why rally matters. You’re about to read over 2,200 words of AWESOME. [Read more…]