Havin' a mother truckin' good time with the Nissan Navara

- Manny N. de los Reyes () - May 11, 2011 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - My friends know me as a relatively soft-spoken fellow who rarely, if ever, resorts to harsh language. But last Saturday found me and a bunch of fellow journalists merrily screaming “Mother Trucker!” at the tops of our lungs.

Why? Because we were at Nissan pickup and van distributor Universal Motors Corporation’s Nissan Navara Mother Trucker Challenge, which combined four gruelling (for both man and machine) activities in one morning. The event was held at the Evia Lifestyle Center in Daang Hari, Cavite, just a few minutes’ drive from Alabang.

The event pitted 10 media teams of three to four members each against each other and several teams composed of members (and their modified trucks) from the very enthusiastic Navara club.

The four competitions, which were designed by Ironman competitor Andy Leuterio and his Elite Multisports Resources company, included a 0-to-100-kph acceleration run on a straight stretch of paved road, a four-wheel-drive off-road course, a Navy Seal/Delta Force-type obstacle course to be negotiated on foot, and a choice between two mountain bike challenges – an actual dirt bike course or a ride on a widescreen video-equipped simulator that had most participants gasping for breath and barely able to walk after one minute on it.

My teammate Andie Zuniga of Total Fitness magazine took the first challenge, the obstacle course. In it, he had to run downhill while leaping over concrete pipes, scrambling over a sand dune, crawling underneath a roped off area while scrambling over a second sand dune, and upon arriving at the bottom of the hill, crawling underneath a Nissan Navara pickup truck.

But that’s just halfway. Running uphill for his return trek, Andie had to quickly run over old tires without tripping, negotiate monkey bars followed by parallel bars which he had to cross by grasping the rails without his feet touching the ground, climb a wall and jump over the other side, then pull himself hand over hand up a nylon rope so he could hit a bell hanging 10 feet off the ground. He was one of probably just two competitors who did the whole challenge solo. The other teams finished it as a relay divided among team members.

I took the four-wheel-drive off-road driving course and after a minor course malfunction wherein an errant log that measured almost a foot in diameter got dislodged from the ground, high-centering our Navara 4x4 manual transmission demo unit in the process, we were given a second run. The course featured huge and deep holes that could swallow a whole tire of a small car, lots of rocks and logs that you’d have to gingerly tread over, as well as tight three-point turns that tested the Navara’s maneuverability.


Thankfully the Navara’s robust eight-crossmember chassis, rugged suspension with generous wheel travel and ground clearance, and its impressive approach and departure angles enabled us to post the best time yet upon reaching the finish line.

My 16-year-old son, Enzo, became an impromptu Total Fitness intern and was up next for the 0-to-100-kph acceleration run. After coaching him about the proper launch techniques for a common-rail diesel powered two-wheel-drive truck equipped with an automatic transmission, I took the back seat (an official from the organizer took the front passenger seat and monitored the windshield-mounted GPS device that would track the Navara’s speed).

At the end of the second of two official runs, the martial noted that Enzo posted the best time for that particular truck that he was driving. Not bad for a holder of a student driver’s license. (Thanks, JP! The TRS driving lessons really helped.)

Our fourth Total Fitness member was Kiko Aman. He biked the simulator and generated an impressive output of 294 watts, placing him a solid second among all the competitors that day.

When the dust had settled, our team managed to finish in 2nd place, heartbreakingly beaten out of the podium’s top spot – and the accompanying Apple iPad each – by the Ironman-like duo of Steven Yu and Babylyn Newfield of Power Wheels magazine, the former topping the bike simulator challenge.

Still, everybody had a mother truckin’ grand time. And most impressively of all, the Nissan Navaras all came out of this gruelling ordeal with flying colors. WTT! (What the truck!)

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