Tierra Del Sol Desert Safari celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2012, as documented by off-road.com. Thousands of off-road enthusiasts descended upon Southern California for the weekend of intense off-roading and fun. The event was put on by the 4-Wheel Drive Club of San Diego and was a huge success. “Even the new off-road park was abuzz with off-roaders testing their new rigs, setups, or trying to tackle some of the more challenging obstacles.” The trails were packed with Jeeps, trucks, and even the occasional dirt bike. The below video will highlight the events from an ideal off-roading weekend in Southern California.
Albawaba announced that the new Ford Explorer has received the 4×4 of the year award from Saudi Auto, which is a leading Saudi Arabia car publication. The contenders for the award were assessed by the “Saudi Auto jury panel based on five criteria – value, practicality, durability, off-road capability and technology.” The 2012 Ford Explorer has received many honors, which has included the North American Truck of the Year award for 2011, “while its innovative and industry-first rear inflatable seat belt technology won the 2011 Best New Technology Award from the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada and has been named a Breakthrough Product Award winner by Popular Mechanics.” In the Middle East the new Ford Explorer was unveiled in October last year, showcasing its off-road capabilities with its new Terrain Management System. This system improved driving dynamics, segment-exclusive technologies, and segment-leading safety innovations. The 3.5-liter V6 engine enables highway fuel economy; featuring six-speed automatic transmission, electric power-assisted steering and aggressive deceleration fuel shutoff, and wind-skimming aerodynamic shape to maximize fuel economy.
On January 28th off road enthusiasts traveled to Washington City fault line for the third annual Winter on the Rocks, covered by The Spectrum & Daily news, in the wilderness connecting the city to Hurricane. The West Rim and Fault Line trail is one of a handful near Washington Dam Road and the Sand Hollow recreation area to create environmental consciousness. The Marketing Director of Utah 4×4 Club, Kelly Jenson, is quoted as saying “‘We do cleanup events throughout the year…everybody has a garbage sack, and we’re telling them, ‘If you see a can out there, pick it up.’” Brian O’Conners of Fort Carson, Colo., said the emphasis on wilderness duty is a reason he, Hurricane Mayor Tom Hirschi, enjoys this event. The Bureau of Land Management is also supportive of Winter on the Rocks, for their promotion of a cleaner environment. This event provides the riders with a sense of camaraderie, while giving the drivers peace of mind as they rely on trail-side spotters. This event is welcoming to all off road drivers, regardless of experience level.
The variety and capability of handicapped outdoor mobility equipment available to wheelchair users has drastically changed in the last decade. This has given a countless amount of people the ability to participate in activities they otherwise would have been spectators in. The Boma7 off-road chair from Molten Rock “allows almost anyone, regardless of ability, to participate in hiking, cycling or simply enjoying time outdoors with family and friends.” Chris Swift, founder of Molten Rock, has spent 16 years as a wheel chair user and is very aware of the challenges that the mobility impaired face when it comes to outdoor environments. “He said : ‘Enabling people through providing a well designed product like Boma7 is extremely rewarding. I know that traveling off tarmac into a previously inaccessible forest or onto a beach is exhilarating for any wheelchair user.’” The Boma has been field tested and proven in both the UK and Africa. In June 2011 a trial Boma7 off road chair became the first electric wheelchair to drive to the summit of Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the United Kingdom. Chris Swift said, “‘Many customers will never push their Boma7 to its performance limits but it’s good for them to know that chair will cope if they need to cross some muddy ground.’”
Image Courtesy of VWVortex
The above image depicts two Land Cruisers roaming through a salt flat in Bolivia that was flooded after a rainstorm. This heavenly scene is something only a few off-road enthusiasts ever get to experience and gives the allusion that the car is cruising atop an ocean or lake.
Crandon, Wisconsin for the past 42 years has held an exhilarating off-road race; Todd Kaho in “Crandon World Championship Off-Road Races” explains this excitement from a firsthand experience. This race consists of off road power trucks that top speeds of 101 mph and going airborne for more than 100 feet. The first race started way back in 1970, riding on a 101 mile trail through the woods. The race evolved to a short-course competition and moved to his current location in 1984. Crandon is a town of less than 2,000 people but graciously welcome off-road fans for the Spring Run and the Labor Day weekend “World Championships.” The Crandon raceway is a “13/4-mile circuit is natural terrain carved out of the rolling hills in the Northwoods of Wisconsin.” The course continues to go through alterations, which has led to track records falling.
The weekend is capped off with the running of the Amsoil Cup, which consists of pitting the Pro 2WD trucks against Pro 4x4s. “The Pro 2WDs are given a head start, since their lap times are a little slower. To win, a Pro 4×4 must catch and pass the entire Pro 2WD field.” This feat was actually reached last year, when Scott Douglas broke away to lead the 4x4s then weave through the 2WDs to take the checkered flag. The rush you receive from off-road truck racing is very addicting, leading to the religious return to “the best short-course off-road racing in the world.”
Some may think that if you have a Mercedes-Benz ML you are the envy of your town, however, that is not the case when it comes to off-roading. A video was released spotlighting the crossover going off-road, which is, according to In Auto News, comical. In their article, “2012 Mercedes-Benz ML goes off-road,” In Auto News alludes that “the automaker has something to do with this off-road test, or this is someone with big connections who just got his brand new Mercedes-Benz ML and wanted to brag himself.” Throughout the demonstration you can tell that the videographer is highlighting the crossover’s ability to go through ponds and up and down a hill. This video shows its viewers “what we already knew, that the Mercedes-Benz ML doesn’t have anything in common with off-roading, just like the BMW X5 dosen’t or the Audi Q7, or the Volkswagen Touareg, and so on.” The best use for the ML is to drive your children to school, “and if you see a pond on the way, don’t worry, you won’t get wet.” If you are into off-roading, get an appropriate vehicle and start altering, not the ML-class.
Tierra Del Sol – Ocotillo Wells SVRA, Calif.
Every year for the past 49, Tierra Del Sol (TDS) Safari has boasted being one of the biggest Jeep and 4×4 events in Southern California. The off-road gathering takes place at Truckhaven, which is now part of Ocotillo Wells SVRA, with the three-day event offering everything from trail rides, obstacle courses, vendor alleys and more. Next year marks the 50th running of the event, which will take place Friday, March 2, through until Sunday, Mach 4th. Visit www.tds4x4.com for more information.
For full coverage and photo highlights of the 49th Tierra Del Sol, click here.
Photo by Jaime Hernandez