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2006 Hummer H3 - Finally, A Hummer You Can Afford - RPM

Don't Miss Four Wheeler's Real Truck Club Challenge!

Four Wheeler's Real Truck Club Challenge is coming back to the Badlands. The annual club event, held each August, returns for 2005 to Badlands ORV Park in Attica, Indiana, the weekend of August 6-7. As we did last year, we'll have 20 top teams representing clubs from all over North America, and we'll run them through some of the Badlands' toughest traps: the Rock Pit, the Mud Hole, and the infamous Buzzard's Roost. And unlike our signature Top Truck Challenge, Real Truck Club Challenge is open to the public.

To find out more about RTCC for 2005, and to see highlights of last year's event, log onto www.fourwheeler.com. For information about the Badlands, and to get directions to the park, check out www.badlandsoffroad.com. Four Wheeler's Real Truck Club Challenge is presented by Nissan in association with Toyo, Skyjacker, Detroit Locker, Precision Gear, and Reider Racing.

Hummer has announced that the new-for-'06 H3 will start at a remarkably reasonable $29,500 and will be at dealerships by the time you read this. Standard on the Shreveport, Louisiana-built H3 is full-time four-wheel drive, OnStar, and a five-speed manual transmission. Several option packages focusing on luxury or off-pavement capability will be offered, in addition to the typical fare of upgrades, including leather, XM radio and a CD changer, 33s, and (what we're really waiting for) a 4.0:1 transfer-case option with a 69:1 crawl ratio. In other H3 news, GM has decided that it will build an additional H3 plant in South Africa to feed the export market, where H3s will be sold in right- and left-hand-drive models. Look for our First Drive of the H3 in next month's issue.

LR3 Prices Six
The newest member of the Land Rover LR3 family, the 216hp 4.0L V-6 version, will start at $38,950. For your money, you still get Terrain Response, air suspension, 18-inch wheels, and a six-speed automatic transmission. The V-6-powered SE version goes on sale in July.

Land Use Notes
Indiana 'Wheelers Unite to Open Abandoned Mining Area
After 10 years of planning, land purchases, management agreements, construction, and networking with state and local governments, a new facility in an abandoned mining district five miles northeast of Dugger, Indiana has opened. The property was given the name "Redbird State Riding Area" and is managed under the state Division of Outdoor Recreation with support from volunteers known as the Redbird Management Group.

The Redbird State Riding area currently consists of 640 acres, including parking, restroom facilities, and a shelter house for picnics. Signs are posted at trailheads with difficulty ratings, types of vehicles allowed, and map location points. These amenities are just phase one of a multiphase project. Future improvements include additional land acquisition; an interpretive trail for education and history; a training range for vehicle safety classes; and an office and storage building.

Federal Government Issues Plans For California Deserts
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released two 30-year desert management plans that are intended to balance the needs of recreation, development, and wildlife in the Mojave Desert and Imperial Sand Dunes in southeast California. Both are popular destinations for off-highway vehicle (OHV) enthusiasts. The BLM plan for the western Mojave Desert encompasses 9.3 million acres and distinguishes between land targeted for development or conservation and protection of more than 100 endangered plant and animal species. The plan adds more than 800 miles of Mojave Desert roads to the off-highway inventory, increasing the total to 5,098 miles. The plan for the Imperial Sand Dunes, also called the Algodones Dunes, covers 160,000 acres. It would open more than 85 percent of the dunes to OHVs, reversing a five-year-old temporary court order. Under both plans, builders, miners, utilities, and others could develop at one location if they set aside or pay to preserve wildlife habitat elsewhere.

Quick Hits
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced that tire-pressure-monitoring systems will be required by the '08 model year on all vehicles weighing less than 10,000 pounds.

Congratulations go out to Jeep, whose Grand Cherokee has surpassed the 3-million units mark.