Think motorsport is expensive? Try making a movie about it!

Ok, so maybe making a movie isn’t quite as expensive as campaigning a top flight race or rally car, but the costs can easily eclipse those incurred by grass roots racers who’ve been known to fund their team by returning empties. Just ask Matt Johnston, who is making what might just be the first ever feature length movie about the U.S. National Rally Championship.

So far, Johnston has sunk ten grand of his own money into the project and anticipates that he will need close to $50,000 to complete the film. If these numbers aren’t high enough, remember that Johnston has done almost everything by himself and already owns much of the super expensive gear needed to shoot wickedly high quality video.
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Massive rally crash caused by missing roof vent!

We’ve all seen the funky scoops that rally teams use to draw in fresh air to keep the humans cool, but who knew the scoops perform another, more safety related function. These scoops allow air to enter the car, while maintaining positive air pressure that prevents dust clouds from entering the car.

During the recent WRC round in Mexico, Ford driver Evgeny Novikov lost his roof scoop when he clipped a fence or some such obstacle. The resultant dust storm inside the car caused a rather massive crash and a Fiesta RS in kit form.

Check it out after the jump…
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ebay find of the day: James Garner’s Olds 442 Baja racer

While they loved road racing every bit as much as PLN, guys like Steve McQueen and James Garner also liked to get their kicks in the dirt. McQueen was as quick on 2 wheels as he was on 4. Garner liked to do it in the dirt too, and in ’69 partnered with Oldsmobile and Goodyear to create the Goodyear Grabber Olds 442 Baja racer. Originally built for the 1969 NORRA Mexican 1000, Garner raced the car for the next 2 years before selling it. The next owner crashed it and the 442 lay dormant for the next 30 years.

When fabrication ace Vic Hickey got his hands on the car, he brought it back to life and it was raced by off road legend Rod Hall at the 2010 XO 250 in Reno. Now, the freshly restored icon is up for grabs on ebay.

Head past the jump to see a gallery the restored car and a couple of videos of the machine in action, including in car with Rod Hall, before you go register your bid on one of the coolest desert racers of all time.
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Ride to 2nd at 100 Acre Wood with Mark Higgins

Block may have taken his sixth win at the woods that Christopher Robin played in, but reigning Rally America Champion Mark Higgins wasn’t going to let him win easily. Being second on the road however, Higgins had to content with the dust that was left hanging in the air as the Ford driver attacked the stages. Even with the addition of a “dust minute”, the Subaru America team still had a tough time seeing the road through the haze.

Check out Higgins in action after the break.
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Pure Sound, No Music

Earlier this afternoon I got tired of watching the talking heads in the Daytona 500 pre-race show, so I went looking for some rally porn and came across this bit of auditory awesomeness. Gotta love some hard core historic rally car action on a Sunday afternoon. Be sure to hit full screen and watch in full HD after the break.
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On board with Martin & Johnson at Tall Pines

It has been a week since the 2011 edition of the Rally of the Tall Pines in Bancroft, Ontario and the onboard videos are beginning to pop up. The warm weather brought unusually high speeds, which led to a high attrition rate. Pines is usually known for having lots of “offs” due to snowy roads, but this year there was just one roll. Even still, just 25 of 60 teams finished the rally!

Our first video comes from Chris Martin and Brian Johnson, who put on a great show before becoming one of the casualties of Tall Pines.

On board video after the break.
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Win a the Ultimate Rally Experience with Crazy Leo at Tall Pines

The Rally of the Tall Pines. An icon on the North American rally scene. The final major motorsports event of the year.

As always, The Garage Blog will be there to bring you the sights and maybe even some sounds of the 2011 Rally of the Tall Pines in Bancroft, Ontario. You can be there too, for a rare opportunity to get up close and personal World class rally cars and their drivers. Best of all, it is free!

Of course, the best way to see the event would be to spend a few bucks on the Tall Pines VIP pass which includes transportation to and from the stages, food and special perks along the way. Perks like heat! They even throw in a bunch of official Tall Pines swag. For just $145 it is one of the best deals in all of motorsport and sells out every year. To learn more, visit the VIP program page.

The 2011 running of Tall Pines promises to be the biggest ever, with 60 teams entered ranging from classics to open class monsters. Along with the usual Subaru and Mitsubishi suspects, we’ll also see new Ford Fiesta rally machines. Add in a vintage Volvo, a Corolla and even a Datsun and there should be some great drifting action all day long. Mother nature is hard at work freezing the ditches solid and laying down a bit of snow to make things more challenging for the drivers, more exciting for the fans!

If you are really feeling lucky, you should enter Crazy Leo’s contest over on his Facebook fan page. The Crazy Leo VIP Rally Experience is like the VIP program on steroids. The winner gets a ride with Crazy Leo in The Beast, an open class Subaru WRX, during Friday’s shakedown stages. The prize also includes admission to Leo’s Tall Pines after party, complete with free beer!

All you need to do is submit your favorite rally photo to and you will be entered in the contest. Better hurry though, the contest closes on Wednesday at 10 pm.

Regardless of how you choose to watch the event, you HAVE to go to Bancroft this Saturday to check out the action. Come early and dress warm!

Photos from the 2010 Rally of the Tall Pines

Ken Block’s Gymkhana 3 Focus on display at NAIAS

Ok, so this may not be news of any sort from Detroit, but I thought it was pretty cool that the Ford Focus that Ken Block drove while filming Gymkhana 3 was on hand during NAIAS.

Call me a geek, but this thing is a monster!

Gallery after the break.
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4 camera onboard view of Pat Richard attacking Tall Pines

Pat Richard on maximum attack!

On stage A7 at Tall Pines a couple of months ago, I met an interesting camera crew. They were working on a multi camera experiment with Pat Richard’s Subaru. The plan was to mount 4 separate cameras and then allow viewers to choose which one they want to watch. Cool stuff.

Even cooler, they have now shared a video from stage A4.
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Team Chinook still on the road at Dakar

In past years, I’ve been all over covering Dakar. This year though, I just haven’t been able to wrap my head around it. That is a shame, because Conor Malone and Tom Frank are attempting to become the first Canadian team to finish the Dakar on 4 wheels.

As of this writing, the Team Chinook Chevy is still on the road, having passed today’s waypoint 6 in 110th position out of 135 cars. This is despite an off yesterday that required some all night welding and a 40 minute delay caused by a misplaced nomex balaclava!
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