4x4 Adventures Ltd Taunton, Somerset
X-Eng Winch Challenge
Wellington, 24th Feb 07
4x4Adventures set up and ran a Punch Challenge on behalf of X-Engineering (X-Eng). The venue was near Wellington in Somerset. A proven split site with some challenging sections of steep woodland, watercourses, seemingly bottomless bogs and an old disused quarry section. 19 competed and came from as far a field as Wolverhampton and Wales with other competitors from Bristol and throughout Devon.

The day did not start off too well, 7am and a phone call from one of the competitors, Ian Gildersleeve, to say he had electrical problems and couldn't make it took the field down to 18 competitors. On top of that the fog had closed in on the Blackdowns and visibility was down to about 50m, finding the Punches was going to be interesting over the three sites and some 90 acres!

By 9am all the vehicles and teams were complete and ready for the briefing. Having received the day's instructions and maps they were soon off into the mist. The morning saw Kris Murphy on his first challenge undertake some difficult punches, a steep learning curve for both him and codriver, Craig. They worked exceptionally well and achieved some technically difficult punches after many a re-rigging of winch ropes and thinking! Also, a reasonably new recruit to the sport Martin Stainer and his team were experimenting and finding the limits of their vehicles (and nerves). They had a creditable day despite one of the vehicles suffering brake problems with a sheared line. This was soon fixed and they were back in the competition. Meanwhile in the standard class, Chris Bolt was working hard and steadily clocking up the scores. Locals Tim Jones and Mark Booth in the slightly modified class had a few problems having lost their first punch card after completing one of the sites, they subsequently had to start again with a clean punch card!!!

There was no compulsory lunch stop but teams did have the option of Fish and Chips pre-ordered and delivered to the site. This proved a welcome chance of relaxation for the codrivers. It was soon back out into the mix of now rain and fog for the final few hours. Tony Cordell with Ian Stokes co driving and Paul Milsom with Jase Farr codriving were looking like the modified favourites. With some good team work they both worked hard tackling the majority of punches. Jase and Paul achieved a much deserved win managing 38 of the 40 punches leaving Tony well behind with tyre problems!

Prizes were kindly donated and presented by Simon Raffety from X-Eng with trophies and goodies for each first in class.

Overall results:

Std - 1 aid (eg 1 winch, or 1 locker)
1st Chris Bolt 2617
2nd Scott William 1717
3rd Keith Knight 883
4th Paul Radford 584 (after 400 point deduction for lateness!)
DNS - Ian Gildersleeve

Std + 1 (Slightly Modified) - two aids (eg 2 winches, 2 lockers or 1 winch and 1 locker)
1st Shaun Houghton 3300
2nd Tim Jones and Mark Booth (2nd score card)

1st Jase and Paul Milsom 2529
2nd Tony Cordell and Ian Stokes 1422
3rd Bob Smith 954
4th Kris Murphy and Craig 900
5th Simon Elvins 593
6th Julian Vardy + John 423
7th Grame Mitchell 389
8th Martin Stainer 365
9th Pete Mitchell 268
10th Alan Cosens 158

Nick Walker and Les Brock - Reitred due to detaching punch card mid afternoon
Paul Whiteman - Retired due to vehicle problems

Some pictures from the event