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Tags:   Off-roading,   Driving,   Extreme sport

By Mila Camilleri   -  August 03, 2015

   Off-roading malta,  Driving malta,  Extreme sport malta,  King off the Road malta, Sport malta, Swag Mens Online Magazine Malta

Photo credit:  WIll Overton

The roaring engines of offroad buggies at The King of Wales 2015 are calling one of Malta’s finest drivers, Neville Ciantar aka Nusu, to join the international circle of off-roaders in this Ultra4Europe event. SWAG caught up with Neville and his wife Charlene, to find out more about their activity in this exciting sport.


Ultra4Europe derives itself from Ultra4RacingUSA and the renown King of the Hammers. This year, The King of Wales will be setting off its second event of this championship. From the Californian desert, and across multiple countries in Europe, this organisation has evolved to Italy, Wales, Portugal and soon to France and Australia.  



Hi Neville! Can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into off-roading?


Back in the early 1990s I purchased my first car, it was a Series III Land Rover. I was always keen on Land Rovers, and since I was a little boy I knew that as soon as I was of age I would own one. That then led to me discovering about the local off-road scene and Maltese mecca of off-road. I joined AWDC Malta and became a very frequent spectator of the local off-road sport scene. Soon after I built my first competitive off-roader.



What made you decide to compete in off-roading challenges?


My love of off-road is the main drive that always made me want to learn to become a skillful off-road driver. Like any other sport, no one becomes a skillful competitor overnight; it takes a lot of practice and years of experience. I remember my first competitive race was a timed trial in Maghtab and my wife was then my co-driver. We were doing very well, but then had a minor breakdown and were advised to give it up, which we did. Today, I know better. 



Charlene – You support Neville greatly. What are your thoughts about him off-roading?


Where do I begin? When I met Neville he already owned his Series III and was very involved in football. I supported him in football, but I supported him more in off-road, because I knew he loved it much more. Seeing him enjoy off-road so much effected me and I wanted a part of it with him. 


It's been such a long ride and I don’t regret one step we have taken together. We have seen so many people come and go within the local off-road scene and when they meet us they are amazed how we are still a big part of local offroad. I always pushed him forward to thrive in this sport. His happiness is mine. Neville is a very sensible man, very weary and gives much importance to specific detail. I, on the other hand, am quite the edgy, go getter – sometimes even crazy – part of the relationship. With all our pros and cons we’re quite a mix.



Tell us about the Nusu Off-Road Team.


In the beginning, around 1997, I joined the local off-road club and it was just me and my wife. Over the years, we’ve made many friends and have become one big family. Today, my team is made up of the people loyal to me. My wife, Charlene, my son Lee, a very good friend Malcolm Gauci, who is my trusted right hand and mechanic, Thomas Tanti a friend who has grown with me in off-road and who is my co-driver.


Then there are two people, or might I say four people, who are good friends and who always help: Rupert Galea, Brian Agius, Joe Mercieca and Owen Borg. My team means a lot to me and I know I mean a lot to them. Our friendship is reciprocated.  We look out for each other always.



What does the King of Wales competition entail?


The King of Wales 2015 is the fourth year of this Welsh off-road championship of Ultra4Europe. Ultra4Europe derives from Ultra4RacingUSA. This European championship takes competitors to Italy, Wales, Portugal and soon to France.


Participation in any Ultra4 event involves great preparation and all levels of standard are to be reached. Various modifications to the participating vehicle are required before it can be eligible to race. First, second and third podium winners are awarded trophies and prize money.



What pushed you to participate in this year’s King of Wales competition?


This year we planned to compete at Parma, Italy for this years first Ultra4Europe championship event. I built our present off-roader, namely the Goat, for this specific event. Imported in a boxed pallet from Goat Built USA, I built the Goat in nine months, spending plentiful hours at the garage. 


To participate in such a race it involves a lot of preparation, thought, consideration and many, many labour hours. The Goat had only been tried and tested for a few hours locally before presenting itself on the hills of Parma to compete against the essence of Europe's finest off-roaders.


The Goat performed beautifully. We believe her performance at this race was the decisive factor as to why we want to be at The King of Wales 2015 too. Obviously, such a decision was not taken lightly and a lot of thought, preparation and finances were discussed. But at the end of the day, all we have is our life's happiness and so we decided to go for it.



Do you have any expectations for the upcoming race?


Preparations are always involved especially at such a competitive event. I’ve learnt not to have any expectations, but rather to try to be able to tend to the unexpected. In a race like this, anything can go wrong and anything can go right, so you must sit back, do your best and try to keep the pace and keep it moving by any possible means to make it to the finish line. That to me is more than enough. Luck also plays a very big part in any sport, as in life, so one must try to make the most of any situation he's in.



Do many Maltese people participate in these types of challenges?


Few Maltese competitors participate in these types of off-road events as they are very costly, not only to ship the cars over and to get your crew over, but the preparation for such events is so great that it's not just a factor of getting there, it's getting there with the right stuff. That consumes time, labour, finances and lots of logistical preparation. It's all very complicated but worthwhile if your love for off-road is greater than the obstacle itself.



Good luck team Nusu!


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