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Team Dakar USA - 4x News

Hummer Sponsors Team Dakar USAIn an effort to prove to the world that American innovation and determination can compete on a world stage, Robby Gordon has teamed with HUMMER and will lead Team Dakar USA from behind the wheel of a HUMMER H3 race truck. The relationship between Gordon and the automotive manufacturer will also include driving an H3 in the 2006 SCORE Baja 1000 and Baja 500 desert races.

The super modified H3 will feature an H3 body paired with a specially developed tube chassis and suspension designed by Gordon and his off-road team. The vehicle will feature a fully enclosed, air-conditioned cockpit, including windshield and side windows, and will be powered by a production-based GM V-8 engine.

The 16-stage Dakar race covers more than 6,000 miles in just two weeks, beginning in Lisbon, Portugal, and passing through Morocco, Mauritania, Mali, and Guinea before finishing in the capital city of Dakar, in Senegal. Gordon stated, "We started planning for this just after my first Dakar Rally, where we won two stages, and I know we are prepared and ready to take on the world."

Adding to the ferocity of the HUMMER/Robby Gordon/Team Dakar USA racing efforts, Toyo Tires has announced that it signed a multi-year contract with Robby Gordon to compete on Toyo's Open Country M/T mud terrain tire in the above mentioned races.

Bulloch/Munford Capture Warn 9.0R Bonus ChampionshipWarn Industries, makers of the Warn 9.0R rock-crawling winch, paid out more than $25,000 in contingency bonuses to first-place finishing rock-crawling competitors using the 9.0R winch. Each qualifying first-place finisher in a sanctioned Modified or Super Modified U.S.-based event in UROC, ProROCK, Calrocs, NEUROC, and WERock received $500 as part of the company's 9.0R Bonus Championship. The big winner, however, was the On Track Krawler Team of Dean Bulloch and Karl Munford, which earned the most wins for the season and a check for $5,000 from Warn. The Bulloch/Munford team captured 8 wins for the 2005 season, but vehicles with Warn winches earned first place in 93-percent of the qualifying events for the season. The 9.0R is a short drum, 9,000-pound winch made exclusively for competitive rock crawlers. It weighs just 48 pounds, can hold 50 feet of synthetic rope, and accounted for the majority of competitive rock crawling wins during 2005.

GM Hybrid Pickup Trucks Available NationwideExpanding beyond its initial availability in selected markets, General Motors is now offering its full-size hybrid Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups nationwide. The trucks provide extra fuel savings through use of a hybrid system that achieves a 10-percent fuel economy improvement over regular models. In addition to the hybrid system, both vehicles use GM's Vortec 5300 V-8 engine with 295 hp and 335 lb-ft of torque, and a Hydra-Matic four-speed automatic transmission.

Though the GM trucks allow fuel savings, performance isn't sacrificed, with the trucks still capable of towing up to 7,000 pounds and an available heavy-duty suspension package. Gross vehicle weight rating is 6,200 pounds for the two-wheel-drive models and 6,400 pounds for four-wheel-drive trucks. The EPA indicates that the 2006 Silverado and Sierra pickups achieve 18 mpg city and 21 mpg highway in the 2WD configuration and 17 mpg city and 19 mpg highway in the 4WD model.

This extra fuel savings is gained as the engine automatically stops and restarts under different operating circumstances. Rather than a conventional starter motor and alternator, the hybrids use a compact 14-kW electric induction motor or starter generator integrated between the engine and transmission. The starter generator not only fires the engine repeatedly, but it also stores electricity in a 42-volt lead acid battery pack for later use. It could support onboard electronic accessories or provide 20 amps of 120-volt household-like power through outlets in the cab and bed to operate power tools on site or essential home appliances in the event of a power outage. For more information, check out www.gm.com.

The Good FightUSDA Forest Service Final Rule ReleasedThe U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service has implemented a new regulation for recreational motor vehicle use in national forests and grasslands that may successfully forge a sustainable system of routes and areas designated for motorized use in the future. The new travel management policy requires each national forest and grassland to identify and designate those roads, trails, and areas that are open to motor vehicle use, and asks for public input and will coordinate with federal, state, county, and other local governmental entities, as well as tribal governments, before any decision is made on a particular road, trail, or area.

The best part about the USDA Forest Service Rule is that it will allow unplanned and user-created routes (man-made trails) to be considered at the local level during the designation process. Blue Ribbon Coalition founder and executive director Clark Collins pledged his cooperation with the new rule, stating, "A key component of this new rule is that the agency can still designate "open" areas where appropriate. Some forests have ignored off-highway-vehicle management in the past and that is where we have the most problems. This rule says that OHVs are an important growing use of our public lands and should be managed to provide quality recreation opportunities while protecting the resources."

Clark also added, "OHV recreationists now need to work with their local Forest Service office to ensure that all the routes they use are included in a complete and accurate trail inventory. If they are not included in the inventory, they are certain not to be designated and I caution OHV users to not think the authorities can't catch them. That is a sure-fire recipe for making the entire OHV community look bad."

Clark also stressed that these designations should include those "secret spots" that you hope others won't discover. Share it or lose it should be the line of thinking. For more information about the USDA Final Rule, check out www.fs.fed.us. For more information about Blue Ribbon Coalition and how to get involved or volunteer, contact: (800) 258-3742, www.sharetrails.org.