NORRA's Alternative Class
Last month we brought you the results of the NORRA Mexican 1000 rally, which saw vintage Baja racers-the people and the vehicles-once again tackling the Mexican desert. But not all rally competitors were historic vehicles. The sanctioning body opened the event to alternative-fuel race vehicles, and the Norman Motorsports' Ford won the Alt-Fuel class.
The team consisted of Trophy Truck drivers Roger Norman and Mark Post plus motorcycle racing legend Larry Roessler. They started the rally in 49th position, battled to first by the end of the first day, then suffered hours of downtime on the second day thanks to a flat tire-and a lost jack handle. That delay put them back to 17th position, but Roessler and Post fought back up to First despite a second flat just 20 miles from the finish line. Post, who drove the final leg, finished the race on the rim.
"This was a gentleman's race," said Norman. "Everyone at the start line wanted to race hard, but there was no nerfing and a lot more courtesy on the course than there is in a typical desert race. The whole thing was cool. My favorite part was drinking Tecate and eating the most amazing lobster I have ever tasted with the legends of the sport in the heart of Baja."
Yamaha Adds New ATVs
Yamaha's ATV lineup just grew by two. Seen here is the new Grizzly 450 4x4 utility ATV with Electric Power Steering (EPS). This 421cc machine puts several convenient big-bore traits, including the power steering, automatic transmission, and an On-Command drive system (with 2WD, 4WD, and 4WD diff-lock) in a midlevel, trail-friendly chassis. The four-stroke engine can handle up to 250 pounds on its racks and tow more than 1,300 pounds.
Also new is the Raptor 125 sport ATV. Yamaha is aiming this one at the entry level or step-up market, mating the suspension components and handling characteristics of its big brother, the Raptor 250, with a 124cc, two-valve, single overhead cam engine. Both new machines will be available over the summer; see www.yamaha-motor.com for more info.
The Northeast Association of 4WD Clubs (NEA4WD), a group of 30 off-road and Jeep clubs from New England and New York state, was established in 2001 to promote and preserve environmentally responsible off-highway recreation in the Northeast. In May, 40 members from eight clubs combined their efforts to help maintain the property at one of the association's private trail networks in New Hampshire (the site of this year's Ultimate Adventure). Work included road clearing, bridge building, trail clearing, and trail rerouting. The association's goal is to make the best use of the property and trails it has access to while making minimal environmental impact. In an area of the country where public lands for 4x4 recreation are almost nonexistent, the proper use of the available private property is of the utmost importance. For more information about the NEA4WD, visit www.nea4wd.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
New Infiniti SUV
Nissan's luxury division recently unveiled a new version of its QX56 fullsize SUV, "which is designed to offer a true five-star travel experience," according to Infiniti. The new QX can be ordered chock-full of premium equipment, including a power folding third seat, a power moon roof, a power rear hatch, a lane departure warning system, hydraulic body motion control (to reduce body lean during cornering), and a raft of electronics options ranging from a DVD player with dual monitors to a hard-drive nav system.
Underpinning all this luxury is Nissan's 5.6L V-8, now equipped with variable valve timing and direct injection. The refinements boost the engine's output by 25 percent, to 400 hp, while also improving its fuel economy by 10 percent. Behind it is a seven-speed automatic transmission and Nissan's All-Mode 4WD system with Auto, 4Hi, and 4Lo settings.
The '11 QX56 goes on sale this summer with no increase in price over '10 models, meaning 4WD models will start at $59,800.