4x4 Adventures Ltd Taunton, Somerset
J33P Bampton Drive Round Day, 14th Apr 07
J33P booked an exclusive day for their club last Saturday and what a cracking day it turned out to be. Unfortunately, they had one late cancellation which left us with five modded cars; Grenville, Eugenio, Woody and Chris in TJs and Rich in his G Wagon.

Everyone came along with co-drivers which proved beneficial for taking photographs and video clips, not to mention the attachment of winch ropes! By 10:30 we were on our way to the first 'warm up' quarry section, an ideal opportunity to brush up on forgotten techniques and get back into the swing of things before the day starts proper!

Building the confidence levels back up and reminding people what their vehicles could do this section proved an excellent starting point for the day. We had two volunteers, (Grenville and Rich) for the 'short quarry drop' (a 15m decent with the 2m vertical drop at the top). They certainly looked a lot happier after the descent rather than during it! An experience not to be missed, exhilarating and thrilling, but over very quickly! I think the 2 to 3ft of air beneath the rear wheels was enough for the rest to think it was time to start the route.
With the site being so dry we were able to take in other sections of the route as we knew the slippery climbs would now be achievable. A drop into the first valley through a thin wood proved the first test of vehicle awareness. It needed skilful guidance to thread between the trees, the near perfect traction greatly assisted the task.
We were soon onto waders corner, unfortunately a little low for this time of year, around headlight level on the 90, but still deep enough to practice the bow waves whilst also fighting the slippery sludge below.
The river bed section proved interesting for the wider tracked jeeps, (the route had mainly been opened up with Land Rovers) but we were soon all through, around to the mud splash. I was leading the convoy and the first to require some additional aid, a rear winch hauled us back out and after another attempt and some shunting we were a through unaided. This was equalled by Rich in his G wagon and Eugenio in his jeep; the rest required some outside assistance!
The river drive was a good demonstration of the Jeep's suspension setups, with them being low to the ground they had much less body roll and the ride seemed greatly improved over that of the Land Rovers. Some good drops where the low jeep gearing came into its own, the G wagon with the auto box and V8 diesel going slightly faster than most! The drivers were now fully into the swing of the day with some good descents under their belt - however the first post lunch climb certainly caught everyone out first time around - and it was dry!
A deceptive hill out of a bog after a river crossing, some tree roots make the climb tricky with rock steps adding some extra problems to the issue. Most soon sussed the route, but it took a while.
With the final quarry section to go there was excellent driving with good hill climbs from some. Being so dry enabled normally impassable areas to be explored where vehicle angles could be pushed to both driver and vehicle capability!
Warrens forest (also known as the forest too far), a pine forest on a very steep sided valley was a good consolidation for everyone. The forest has been known to account for some vehicle damage, especially in the wet and this stage normally has the most 'opt outs'. After some climbs requiring maximum vehicle grunt (well in a tdi anyway) these were quickly followed by very steep descents with steps at the bottom, that had most, both pleased and slightly out of breath but proud to have made it to the bottom unscathed! From here back to the farm for a cup of tea, vehicle clean and reflection on the day.

A video clip of the day out...