#XtremeDuneville – Ultimately a project put together by Dragon Energy Drink showcasing local talent while creating premium and exciting content. The team spent some time in the Namibian Desert filming with the T1 Nissan Navara, an FIA Dakar Rally specked off-road race car, and the final result is going to be nothing short of spectacular!
As we wait for the official video release, we caught up with Luke Botha (driver) to get his thoughts on the project…
What was the experience of filming for #XtremeDuneville like?
It was incredible fun. I literally got to play for three full days. I was basically a big kid in a really big sandpit and I had nothing else on my mind but to ensure I got the shots for the director, Shawn Van Zyl.
How would you best sum up the #XtremeDuneville project?
It was an unforgettable and brilliant time spent with very talented and passionate people. I felt very privileged to have been part of Steven Fernandes’ and Shawn Van Zyl’s vision for showcasing Dragon Energy and Proudly South African talent.
What is the top speed you reached while shooting the video?
On one particular open dirt section we reached a true GPS speed of 183kph.
Was there at any point a moment where you think you might have pushed the limit too far?
No, there wasn’t any point where I pushed the limit further than what we would normally in the sport. As a result the action in the video is authentic and realistic.
What was your favourite scene?
The scene I enjoyed the most was holding my foot flat in 6th gear on the beach with the waves and the setting sun next to me. It was such an exceptionally picturesque and rare setting, that I found myself smiling from ear to ear. I couldn’t have felt more alive in the moment.
Did you really drive up the tallest dune in the world?
[Laughs] Well we drove up some of the world’s highest 100% pure sand dunes and probably some of the most intimidating. But in other areas of the world, such as Peru, the dunes are a little larger only because they are pre-existing mountains that have been covered by sand and not 100% sand like in Namibia.
How much experience do you need to drive in the dunes the way you did for the video?
As a capable off-road racer, you would need a couple full weeks to hone and adapt your skillset to the unique requirements of the fine sand. What takes the longest is the ability to read the dune formations and predict what is likely to be on the other side of each dune. The dunes can be very dangerous if you are not able to do this and there are many sad stories of highly skilled drivers that have been caught out by them.
Besides getting stuck , what is the worst thing that has happened to you in the dunes?
That is unquestionably the rite of passage you must endure to be deemed worthy of taking on the Namibian desert: You have to eat a complete raw egg including its shell and then subsequently having cayenne powder blasted up your nostrils from a little wooden catapult. The dunes are way less intimidating after suffering through that.
Did you get stuck in the dunes while filming?
Yes I did but fortunately not too many times. As the sun gets hotter in the day, the sand becomes significantly softer and you quickly find yourself getting stuck in places where you could easily drive a couple hours earlier.
What was your first thought when you got stuck?
The same thing I think every time I get stuck: “For crying in a bucket!”
Do you think this video is Xtreme?
It is without a doubt Xtreme. The unconventional driving and the hostile landscape come together to create a uniquely Xtreme situation.
Give us some insight into your vehicle and how much it actually differs from the standard road worthy model?
In the world of global cross-country motorsport, I drive what is known as a “T1 Nissan Navara”. T1 is the top specification for FIA sanctioned off-road racing events such as the Dakar Rally. The car shares very little resemblance with its road-going counterpart.
It doesn’t have a chassis like a conventional car but is made up of a variety of internationally sourced components that are bolted to an intricate chromoly space frame. It is powered by the same 5.0 V8 Nissan engine that is found in the Infiniti QX70S. It has a 6 speed sequential gearbox made by Sadev in France and two fully adjustable Dutch built Reiger shock-absorbers per wheel. It can take exceptionally big jumps at very high speeds and it blows my mind every time I drive it. But the most impressive thing about the car is that it is fabricated by my team, Red-Lined Motoring Adventure, in Kyalami Johannesburg. So far there are 20 of these cars racing all over the world and their global demand is escalating dramatically.
What have been some of your craziest experiences while racing?
These can only be my spectacular crashes in my early years of racing. Some described me as a little “wild” back then. I have rolled on numerous occasions and have torn wheels off on blunt impact.
How did you get into the sport of Off-road Racing?
I don’t come from a family of motorsport enthusiasts and I only got my first opportunity to drive an off-road racing car in my mid-twenties. As I love anything to do with the adventure of off-road racing, I assisted a team for a year on the South African racing circuit purely out of fun. The driver then offered me the chance to drive his car in the last regional race as he could see how much I loved the sport. I put it on the podium in my first race and I haven’t looked back since. I have been blessed to have been afforded many opportunities over the last couple years but I ensured that I took every single one of them.
What keeps you sane?
Aside from driving my race car at maximum attack, I enjoy the routine of leading a health and fitness orientated lifestyle and being able to spend quality time with my family at home. I am blessed to have a couple of longstanding, close friends and I enjoy seeing them on a semi-frequent basis. These simplicities are the things that seem to keep me the sanest.
Photos by Shawn van Zyl Media.