4x4 Adventures Ltd Taunton, Somerset
X-Eng Winch Challenge
Wellington, 16th Jun 07
By 9am some 21 Competitors were all eagerly awaiting the start of the 3rd X-Eng Winch Challenge at Wellington. Having completed signing on and scrutineering there was a little apprehension in the air, especially from first timers to the site, there are some unforgiving bogs around. It has also been raining for the 3 days leading upto the event, amazingly the rain held off for the day though. Some very smart and well presented trucks graced the start line with a first for a few to 4x4Adventures. Alen Cousens in his recently acquired OEC livery 90 double cab was in the driving seat, allowing Martin Stainer to try his hand at codriving. Pete Mitchell in his truck cab Discovery made a return visit and was also joined by his brother Graeme in a well prepared 90. John Piper from Winchester joined us for the first time in his highly modified Suzuki bodied range rover.
John soon found some of the bogs were a little deeper than expected and struggled with some alternator problems through the day after a dunking early on. In fact they entered a bog/water section at about 10 as seen here and were still trying to get out at 2.30pm.
Another first to 4x4 Adventures and only their second challenge was David Hockley and John Parkes in their much modified, crew cabed Discovery.
Father and son team Paul and Dan Wightman were along with 'Black Pig' their third X-Eng Challenge with 4x4 Adventures and came complete sporting Gigglepins 8274 twin motor top housing. A fantastic piece of engineering making a popular challenge winch even better. It was certainly put to some good use, especially helping to extract Nick Watts and Guy Radford from a boggy section.
Nick had only finished fitting the V8 the night before so teething problems were not totally unexpected, but despite this and early retirement he still managed a creditable 3rd place.
Simon Elvins came down from Bristol along with previous event winners Jason Farr/Paul Milsom and Keith Knight/Stuart Guard and Shaun Houghton. Jason, Keith and Shaun all having won their class at previous events. Simon was 'training' in a new co-driver for the day and Ashley soon came to grips with the requirements, so much so in fact that Simon and Ashely were recommended for 'Spirit of the event' due to their attitude and help towards fellow competitors.
Bob Smith from Wolverhampton was down for the weekend in his modified 90 with son Bert also competing in his own nicely turned out vehicle. Unfortunately Bert suffered some mechanical problems and had to retire early although Bob as ever put in a stirling effort and put on show for the spectators. Dave and Hilary were also back for their second time bringing with them another crew from Southampton. Unfortunately Simon and Charlie has to retire early although Dave and Hilary worked well together taking on some tough terrain coming second in the std +1 class with their twin winched very nice white 90 (which incidentally is for sale!)
The terrain at Wellington is ideally suited to winch challenge events. There are some steep hills which combined with the pine trees and pine needle floor allow for some interesting punch locations to be used. In addition there is a separate quarry section with several seemingly endless bogs (as John Piper found out) that enable a large variety of different terrain to be used. One of the key things about the site is the difficulty in determining how tricky the ground is going to be, what initially looks like an easy punch can quickly change into the almost impossible as the ground starts to give way. Punch locations were chosen to try and get the competitors to think through their approaches and exits with some tricky additions made in places to get people thinking about more complex winch rigging solutions! This keeps the modified boys happy and also keeps them out of the way! Despite this there was plenty of variety with punches achievable across the classes. Interestingly enough both the Std and Std+1 winners achieved 19 punches (but different punches) whilst the modified winners had 35 punches.

The day ended at 4pm quickly followed by prize giving at 4.30 as the heavens started to open for the drive home! A thoroughly enjoyable day, I would like to thank Simon Raffety from X-Eng supporting us and providing prizes and vehicle livery, plus bringing the Horsham crowd down to give the regulars a run for their money! If Paul and Nick had managed to keep running all day - who knows! Well everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and find enough variety to keep themselves going until the end. Well done guys some cracking skills displayed over the day (plus some not quite so good ones!)

The day couldn't have happened without the support of the marshals who have a thankless job at times, and my sincere thanks go to Chris Watts, Mark Booth, and Chris Hart for their help and support throughout the day. THANK YOU GUYS.

Overall results:

Std - 1 aid (eg 1 winch, or 1 locker)
1st Keith Knight and Stuart Guard - 2400 pts
2nd Paul Radford and George - 2000 pts

Std + 1 (Slightly Modified) - two aids (eg 2 winches, 2 lockers or 1 winch and 1 locker)
1st Shaun Houghton and Jack Houghton - 2500 pts
2nd Dave Sawdon and Hilary Evans - 1900 pts

1st Paul Milsom and Jason Farr - 1337 pts
2nd Paul and Dan Wightman - 1047 pts
3rd Nick Watts and Guy Radford - 682 pts
4. Tony Cordell and Charles Bishop - 552 pts
5. Simon Elvins and Ashley Tweedy - 551 pts
6. Graeme Mitchell and Rob Langley - 549 pts
7. Bob Smith - 487 pts
8. Pete Mitchell and Adrian Pike - 454 pts
9. Dan Smith - 395 pts
10. Mike Cuff and Sam Fletcher - 371 pts - Retd at 12:00
11. Martin Stainer and Alen Cousins - 349 pts
12. John Piper and Lee Watson - 342 pts
13. David Hockley and John Parkes - 195 pts - 100 deducted for lateness

Retired (No Score)
Simon and Charlie Walton
Richard Wheeler
Paul Hooper and Andy Smith