Taming an Ariel Nomad through a rally stage looks like terrific fun - but be prepared to get muddy.
Newcomer Rory Reid was criminally underused in last year’s Top Gear season. With Chris Evans and Matt LeBlanc taking center stage, Reid didn’t even appear on the show until episode three. His first film looking at the new Ford Focus RS was worth the wait however, and he continued to prove himself with memorable films such as his recreation of the Jaguar E-Type's journey to Geneva. It seems that the producers have realized Reid’s potential – judging from the new Top Gear season trailer, he will have a much bigger role.
He also now has his own online series, exploring some of the best driving roads in the world in the aptly named 'Rory Reid’s Road Trips'. As you’d expect, this involves Reid visiting a variety of exotic locations. Last week saw him pretend to be James Bond, taking the Aston Martin Rapide S across the Furka Pass in Switzerland used in Goldfinger.
This week’s location isn't quite as glamorous. Reid takes the rugged Ariel Nomad, an off-road variant of the Ariel Atom, for a spin across the narrow, twisty roads of the Elan Valley in Wales. As he describes it, the Nomad is "the ultimate car for anybody who wants to get up close and personal with their surroundings." But as Wales is home to some of the greatest rally stages on Earth, it would have been rude of Reid not to visit one. An insane open wheel off-roader packing 230 horsepower and weighing next to nothing, the Nomad comes into its element here with the help of eight-time Rally America Champion David Higgins.
The rally champion makes navigating the treacherous stage and narrowly avoiding trackside trees look impossibly easy. But as fun as it looks, the Nomad probably isn’t the most ideal rally car since it doesn’t have any doors. Even the windshield is an optional extra. If you’re thinking of taking it out onto a dirt track, prepare to get very muddy.