Raging sandstorms and waist-high water have not stopped the Long Way Down team – or its Nissan Patrols – during an expedition through Africa.

Two specially-adapted Nissan Patrols are supporting Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman during their 15,000 mile journey from John o’Groat’s to Cape Town in South Africa – which will be screened on television later this year.

According to co-directors and executive producers David Alexanian and Russ Malkin, the Patrols have prooved a lifeline. The vehicles were prepped by TPW's good friends RJN Motorsport in their Oxfordshire race HQ

“Travelling through the Sudan and Northern Ethiopia or Western Tanzania, where roads are really non-existent or quite horrific at best, the Patrols have just been there for us every day without fail,” said David.

“We’ve driven along miles and miles of corrugated roads from the top of Kenya down and west to Uganda. The cars were being rattled to an extent you could never imagine – so much so that it even became difficult to film.”

David and Russ, together with a medic, are part of the small support crew following Ewan and Charley on their epic journey and both paid tribute to the way the cars have tackled every eventuality they’ve faced.


“The suspension on the Patrol has been a key element for us. We have really put these shocks to the test and we're very appreciative of the fact that the cars are still going as strong as ever. We have rattled the cars beyond belief,” David continued.

“We’ve also made good use of the winches on the cars and have had to winch the vehicles across some impassable spots, they’ve also driven through a flooded river which, until recently, was a road!”

Even sucking up “a beach-worth” of sand into the engine in Libya has not stopped the Patrols.

“On the last day as we were leaving Libya a sandstorm started – we had visibility of maybe 20 metres in this driving, horizontal sand,” Russ explained.

“The Patrols have both got a special air-intake snorkel which we pointed backwards – they sucked in a lot of sand during the storm and we were worried it could mess up the fuel/air mixture. When we eventually cleared the storm we cleaned out the air filter and bashed out a beach-worth of sand.”

Russ believes Nissan has proved to be the right choice of partner for Long Way Down. “Nissan will be top of our list for anything we do in the future; we have not only been provided with reliable, robust vehicles but just as importantly we were given the parts and technical support necessary for a trip like this.”

John Parslow, Nissan 4x4 brand manager, said: “The terrain, the journey and the crew have been handing out some real punishment to our Patrols but they’re taking everything in their stride.

“We spent two months preparing the vehicles for Long Way Down to ensure they would not let down the team – and we’ve really delivered.

The adventure is a follow-up to the original Long Way Round trip in 2004 which saw Ewan and Charley ride over 19,000 miles, travelling eastwards through Europe and Asia, completing their journey in New York. This time the pair plan to travel 15,000 miles supported by the Nissan Patrols which will be home to the mobile editing suite used to document the pair’s adventure for a brand new BBC TV series.


[source: Newspress]