Land Rover had a course set up at an off-road convention near Flagstaff, Arizona this weekend to show off their wares, which they bailed on using Saturday because it rained and got really muddy. At least their rigs looked nice sitting in the grass.
[Update: The Land Rover folks got back to me and told me how bummed they were about having to close the course they flew in from all over the world to play on and spent days building. The reality of working with the general public, even the hardcore off-road types, is that you have to err pretty hard to the side of caution so you don’t end up getting sued. But... it’s still pretty funny.]
I know, I know; “Safety First.” Whatever, this was not some weaksauce dealership demonstration for customers to learn what “low-range” means. We’re talking about a hardcore event that’s basically the premier gathering of the off-road industry’s best equipment purveyors and expert operators: the annual Overland Expo.
Land Rover regularly takes advantage of this excellent marketing opportunity and sets up an off-road course at the event, on which you can check out their equipment or “run what you brung.”
Rover trots out its latest and greatest along with historic hero trucks and drivers that have competed at the highest level of extreme endurance driving in some seriously gnarly places. Watch this if you don’t know what I mean.
So I couldn’t help but see some irony when they didn’t want to take laps because it was too muddy. An off-road course. Was too muddy. Yeah... two days later it’s still cracking me up.
God forbid a little unpredictability is introduced at an event showcasing vehicles as “ready to drive off the lot and into extreme uncharted territory!”
“Well, they’re on street tires,” somebody said. Yeah but... the Land Rover pro who showed me around the Range Rover Sport SVR three days ago said “Land Rovers are the only SUVs that are tire-immune. They can do just about anything on all-seasons.” ...Just about.
They stayed off the course because they were was afraid they’d fail. Which any inspirational poster will tell you; is far more lame than giving it a shot and falling on your ass.
Now, the Overland Expo is part truck show, part educational experience. You don’t get a better chance to safely find the limit of your equipment than an off-road course with a hundred winches around, and I think Land Rover blew a major teaching opportunity here. Not to mention kind of peed on their shoes in their attempt to sell trucks to off-road dudes.
Next time... bring some off-road tires. I’m dying to see what a new Range Rover will do on an aggressive set of mud-terrains!
Image by the author. I call it “Discovery 1 in its natural state.” I can say that because I owned one.