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Go on a wild ride

Juanita Kakoty, Sep 29, 2013 : 21:19 IST

Telly talk

“It was a lot of fun riding around the difficult terrains of Mexico, chasing targets and getting to know each other,” relate Gary Humphrey and Bill Wu, who team up for the exciting new series by Discovery Channel, Car vs. Wild.

The duo is seen putting all their experiences and skills into use, as they drive through the savage landscapes on their four-wheeler Ruby. “Discovery attained Ruby and she is 12 years old,” Bill says, “She is a very simple car; something kids will be driving to school in America. Very simple.” In that case, one would wonder wouldn’t it have been difficult navigating Ruby in the harsh terrains? “Oh, it was very difficult,” reveal Bill and Gary, “She took a lot of beating. We can’t believe that she took such a lot of beating and never failed!”

This is what Discovery Channel has to say about Ruby, “With a 2.5-litre four-cycle engine, even rapids and rivers can’t drown Ruby’s spirits, thanks to her expedition snorkel and, in a punch, keeping the water out of her engine is Vaseline and even tequila for when times get tough, all the while still managing to look good in her 32-inch tyres and roof rack. As a key member of Bill and Gary’s team, Ruby drove up North America’s highest volcano — Pico de Orizaba. In the Pinacate lava fields of the Sonoran Desert, Ruby traversed razor sharp lava and the crumbling earth to reach a volcanic peak never driven up before. Even the dense jungle, deadly creatures and waterfalls of the Veracruz Jungle weren’t enough to bring Ruby to a halt.”

For instance, in Baja, when Gary and Bill trek to a remote valley that has no name and has never been entered by a vehicle before, they had to cross the treacherously unpredictable Rio Hardy that runs 26 km along the Mexicali Valley to get there. With waters too deep to ford, their only hope was to partially sink Ruby and pray that she could go the distance.

Catch Gary, Bill and Ruby in the 10-part exciting series, Car vs. Wild, every night at 10 pm on Discovery Channel, as they work their way across the volcanic belt and craters in Veracruz to the suffocating, dense bush of Orizaba till they reach their final destination.

One can see them take on the Sierra Juarez mountains in southern Mexico at a staggering 1,800 metres above sea level, follow a Native American foot route to a sacred rock platform, trek to a valley in Baja so remote that it has no name and has never been entered by a vehicle before Ruby, leap down a waterfall to the depths of a jungle bat cave, and engage in practical manoeuvres. Bill and Gary say, “The hardest adventure was chasing the altitude record — climbing over the 14,000-feet-high southeastern Pico De Orizaba Mountain, the tallest in Mexico. To chase that we had to lose a lot, including all our safety equipments. It was one mean survival feat!” Yet they say, “Those 64 days were great fun! And Mexico is a really cool place. We tried a lot of different techniques along the way, and we are really proud about them.”

Bill and Gary are not new to adventure. Gary is ex-SBS (water-based SAS) and has extensive safety, expedition, military and off-road training. He has driven off-road in all environments from deserts to jungle to ice; and has lived and hunted with indigenous people. He has been used behind the scenes on numerous risky productions. He took BBC News Night through Libya and organised with the Top Gear producers the last three Christmas Specials for the BBC — North Pole, crossing from the Amazon to the Pacific and Iraq to Bethlehem. Very recently, he organised and filmed a No Reservations show with Antony Bourdain, through Iraq and Turkey.

Bill Wu lives cars; he owns five Hummers, a Lamborghini, a custom jeep and a Shelby Terlingua track car. He’s a constant at the Gumball rallies, the Traga Trophy, the Bullrun, etc., and has made headlines for winning Best Reactions Time in 2009 Gumball and coming runner-up in 2009 and 2010. He’s also a champion drag racer and competes around California in rock-crawling, dune racing and autocross. And in Bill’s words, “I am a hard guy. It’s about doing stuff not done before, doing things differently. For me, to make a living driving around the world is a dream come true. I want to showcase to people what fun it is do this! I am sure there are many who would want to do what I am doing.”

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