4x4 Adventures Ltd Taunton, Somerset
X-Eng Winch Challenge
Wellington, 13th Oct 07
A cold, damp and gloomy field greeted the competitors and spectators alike with the early Saturday start. Gratefully things improved dramatically throughout the day to give us glorious sunshine providing perfect spectators weather. The course was split, the old favourite of the Quarry was used to host 25 punches with 15 of these being in a new section. The remaining 15 punches were spread around the top areas, there were the traditional deep mud and bog sections through to the more technical, time consuming punches, these were typically taped off punches requiring some forethought and planning. Intermingled within these were the drive in and out punches and the standard steep front winch pull punches. The course being set with the aim to have something for everyone. In fact the winning Standard Class (Russell Lowton and Lewis Alderson) achieved 36 of a possible 40 punches.

Stewart Ball returned for his second Challenge with us and scored creditably through the day giving him a well earned second place in Standard Class. Meanwhile in Std+1 there were two competitors; both of them having just finished building new vehicles, this was to be their first trial run. David Webber and Mark Walford in David's 90TD trayback with front and rear winches proved the trucks capability taking on some good technical punches. They were only 200 points behind Mark Morgan and Steve Gittins in Mark's new build, a Discovery trayback, they only finished the night before and were still sorting a few winch issues on the morning of the competition! Despite a few rope problems during the day, plus some navigational errors (they kept missing punches) they put in a sterling effort coming first in class.

Craig Hope with Kris Murphy crewing for him, in Craig's vehicle, unfortunately had to retire early with winch motor problems, although spares were available they deemed they had had a good day and would resolve the problem once home. Early retirement also hit the Mitchell brothers with Pete suffering from drive shaft problems while Graham blew a CV very early on.

Meanwhile the Modified competitors were truly getting stuck into the site and taking in everything it had to offer. Tony Cordell and Mike Dunlop came first in class and first overall, interestingly not with the most punches but by playing the tactical game and going for one punch (No 35) that no one else had done thus giving them the maximum 200 points for that punch. This took them longer than doing several other punches, but as many others had done the other punches, on a points front it was a sound decision.

Paul Skinner returned after first competing in the J33P event at the end of July. This time however as a co-driver for Kevin Pocock in Kevin's well prepared modified 90. Paul, getting to know the site, put in a sterling effort, which led them to a well placed second in class after certainly pushing their vehicle to the limit during the day.

All the punches were achieved over the course of the day but again no one vehicle managed to achieve all the punches, and the fact that first and second Standard class vehicles achieved over 30 punches proves there certainly was something for everyone.

Overall results:

Std - 1 aid (eg 1 winch, or 1 locker)
1st Russell Lowton and Lewis Alderson 2883pts
2nd Stuart Ball and Tim Redman 2533pts
3rd Paul Radford and Josh Jacobs 1633pts
4th Craig Hope and Kris Murphy 600pts (retired early)

Std + 1 (Slightly Modified) - two aids (eg 2 winches, 2 lockers or 1 winch and 1 locker)
1st Mark Morgan and Steve Gittins 3800 pts
2nd David Webber and Walfy 3400pts

1st Tony Cordell and Mike Dunlop 3350pts
2nd Paul Skinner and Kevin Pocock 2650 pts
3rd Bert and Dan Smith (Treelads) 1550pts
4th Graeme Mitchell and Rob Langley 233pts (retired 2hrs in)
5th Pete Mitchell and Adrian Pike 217 pts (retired 1.5hrs in!)

Some pictures from the event