L.A. Auto Show: Land Rovers, trials motorcycle tackle obstacle course

Land Rover, debuting its Discovery Sport, built an enormous obstacle course at the Pacific Design Center.

Jaguar Land Rover wasn't content to just bring its impressive new Discovery Sport line to the L.A. Auto Show, or to show off its sleek F-Type R sports car.

Being Jaguar Land Rover, they wanted a little more flash than that. So, they took over the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood and built an obstacle course to show off the Sport and other Land Rovers, like the LR4.

They even offered demonstration rides, putting potential owners in the driver's seat as the Land Rovers crept over a creaky "third world bridge," bogged down in deep sand, forded a river, threaded through simulated boulders, climbed a steep ridge and then splashed down through a water crossing.

So, naturally, we thought: Wouldn't it be even better to try it on a motorcycle?

To find out, we needed a pro -- a trials rider expert in tackling the toughest physical challenges on a motorcycle.

We asked four-time national youth champion Eric Storz to make the drive down from San Luis Obispo, where he's a student at Cal Poly, and help test the Land Rover course.

We wanted the best machine for the job too. So we asked Honda if they'd lend us their HRC Montesa Cota 4RT.

Honda said yes. Mark Buche of the Motorcycle Industry Council delivered the bike.

We were good to go.

Land Rover representatives looked on with some concern.

Storz suited up, and gave the Cota -- the top-of-the-line machine ridden by Honda Repsol world champion trials rider Toni Bou -- a spin.

He made the course look like child's play, of course, pulling a wheelie up the steep incline, then pulling a nose wheelie going down the other side. Then he did it again, several times, executing with a ballet dancer's grace the complex motorcycle moves, until the photographers and videographers were satisfied.

So, for one last challenge, we put him in a Land Rover LR4, with a Land Rover official, and let him do the course in four-wheel drive.

His reaction: "That was far scarier than anything I've ever done on a motorcycle."

When we left him, he appeared to be discussing financing arrangements with the Land Rover representatives.

Twitter: @misterfleming

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