Nissan legends search
Nissan’s legendary Patrol celebrated its 70th anniversary in 2021and to celebrate, Nissan is finding Patrol owners around Australia who have done incredible things with their vehicles. One such owner is Les Siviour.
One of Nissan’s Patrol Legends is off-road racing icon Les Siviour, who is among the most successful off-road drivers in Australian history. Incredibly, the Griffith, NSW-based rice farmer’s racing career began completely by accident.
Les attended his first off-road competition in 1982 as a spectator, but the organisers invited fans to lap the off-road circuit the day before the race started. So Les and his mate climbed into his wife’s car and set off for a lap.
The only problem? Despite having never seen the off-road course before, and the fact that he was driving a standard Patrol with no racing modifications, the lead-footed farmer was clocking times that would have put him alongside the pro drivers on race day.
“I did it in my wife Jan’s shopping car, which was a short wheelbase Nissan Patrol and did it just as quickly as the race cars did,” Les Siviour remembers.
“Everyone said ‘you should race this thing’, so the next day we put some numbers on it, ripped the backseat out and we went out and won our class.”
While that was the genesis of Legend Les, it certainly wasn’t the entire story, with the affable Aussie bloke embarking on a decades-long racing career that would see him win an incredible 17 Australian Championships.
While the tracks changed every year; his vehicle of choice never did.
“We raced Patrols for 20 years and won 17 Australian Championships in them.
“They’re built like bloody tanks and if I can’t break them, nobody can,” said Les.
Off-road racing is among the wildest forms of motorsport on the planet, with circuits that are at least 15km long and feature narrow, twisting, tree-lined tracks filled with corrugations, ruts, jumps and river crossings.
The stress on the car is unbelievable. But was Les stressed? Not for a moment.
The racing icon hung up his driving gloves in the early 2000s, only to be coaxed out of retirement years later for one final race, with one very special navigator sitting alongside him — his daughter Katie.
Les still has one of his race Patrols, stored safely in a shed on his property. Every so often, when the mood takes him, you’ll find Les tearing up an off-road circuit on a private property a few kilometres from his home.
Pushing a Patrol beyond the limits of mere mortals is in his blood and he’s not going to stop anytime soon.