When Ariel first released the Nomad many people thought to themselves, “what are they thinking?” Why would a company that specializes in producing wicked fast track cars waste their time making an offroad vehicle? Especially one based off the incredibly popular Atom platform. The answer to that is quite simple really, dirt roads. The Nomad is meant to be driven hard in the dirt just like a rally car. And when it falls into the hands of someone like 8x Rally America Champion David Higgins, that’s when you really see what makes the Nomad so special.
Rory Reid made his TV debut on the first season of the revamped Top Gear. Even though he was the unknown in the group he quickly became a fan favorite because you could tell he was a genuine moto enthusiast. Things are working out pretty well for Rory, he was invited back as one of the three hosts for the second season of Top Gear. He even has his own web series called Rory Reid’s Road Trips. It’s a fairly simple concept, he gets in a car and drives it on some of the best roads he can get access too.
The second episode of the series was released yesterday and it was pretty good, especially when you can tell it doesn’t have but a fraction of the budget used to produce episodes of Top Gear. The episode takes place in the beautiful Welsh countryside where this car could really shine. This car being the 235hp Ariel Nomad which looked right at home as it was thrashed around on the dirt and gravel roads. Reid took the Nomad out to the Forest Experience Rally School, which happens to be owned by 8x Rally Champion David Higgins and his family.
The Forest Experience has over 900 acres with 9 miles of rally stages consisting of all sorts of terrain. According to Higgins, some of the top drivers in the world have trained there, even iconic names like Ayrton Senna. Higgins is not just a talented Rally driver either, he also set the record at the Isle of Man TT in his 600hp Subaru WRX STI just last year.
Since it’s Reid’s show, he was behind the wheel for a great majority of the time while Higgins gave him the course notes for his home track. Having a pro level rally driver giving you pointers from the passenger seat would make anyone feel confident behind the wheel. Probably a little nervous too which would explain the part where Reid tried to unleash the Nomad in the slick and muddy conditions but overcorrected and spun out off the road. This was the perfect opportunity to let Higgins step in and show what the Nomad is capable of in the hands of a talented professional. The shots are quick and really only show the in-car footage, but you can hear that 2.4L Honda motor just screaming. They quite obviously were going significantly faster than when Rory was driving. But you had to expect that. If this is a sign of the episodes to come, it’s looking like Rory Reid’s Road Trips might be worth paying attention to.