4x4 Adventures Ltd Taunton, Somerset
4x4 Adventures Marshalls/Competitors DRD, 25th Nov 07
On Sunday 25 November as a Thank you to regular competitors and Marshalls 4x4 Adventures offered a free day out on the Bampton Drive Round Route.

The day was slightly marred by an unfortunate accident at the end of the day which resulted in a slow vehicle roll. Thankfully all the occupants OK and were not injured bar some minor bruising. This goes to show that above all we need to remember to be respectful of the sports we participate in and the terrain can be unforgiving. The unfortunate incident occurred on an optional route that has been used in the past on many occasions without incident.

Onto the better parts of the day! We all met at the owners farm for a 1030 start. With a maximum of six permissible vehicles turning up we were ready to go. Vehicles ranged from an immaculate TD5 90 hardtop to a well prepared bobtailed Rangie, through to a 1/2 tray backed 90 Hardtop and a V8 powered CJ7 Jeep! So we certainly had some variety in the group.

After heading off to the first little river drive section it was straight into the first of many descents, Dave in his TD5 found the corner at the top a little tight with the limited lock on his wide MTs and unfortunately caught a glancing blow to his wing, I think that must have knocked the concentration for a while as there was a slight gear mishap resulting in quite a quick decent back into the river. It was going to be an interesting day. We were all soon through with Paul in his refurbished Simex Shod 90 bringing up the rear. The one set of Simex prove beneficial should someone get themselves stuck! They also make descents quicker though!

We then headed off for a woodland drive with some deep mud ruts and nice bridge crossing, the Jeep struggling slightly with its narrower track although Kevin did a sterling job keeping it going, only needing a little winch assistance and the end. We were soon making our way around the edge of some fields before dropping into washed out river bed on completion of the bomb hole. This is the first time the route had been used since April (we close the track to allow it to recover over the summer) and there was a lot of silt in the bottom of that bomb-hole! The washed out river bed had changed dramatically over the period as well and required some winch assistance for James in the lead truck to get through. After a little spade work Tim then drove the section with little trouble also helping the lower the centre of the track a little more aiding the progress for the rest of the group.

With a stop for lunch, James had a lesson in winch rope splicing whilst Bob and Paul followed Tim around to complete some more bomb-hole and washed out sections. Kevin soon joined them proving the excellent capability of his jeep.

After lunch we head back on course with Richard the landowner helping out with tuition and gate duties are required. Some more good drops followed by a mucky climb found us in one of the farm yards and hitting tarmac for 300m before picking up the river drive after an awesome descent straight off the road into a stream and back up into one of Richards fields. With some more drops into the stream we pushed on to one of the Quarry sections. After driving some of the introductory tracks we then had the incident as detailed at the beginning which unfortunately from an off roading prospect cut the day short but left the other quarry section and Warren hill for another day.

All the sections on the day are bypassable and many took the option to go around sections/drops etc for their own reasons. There is no issue or problem with this, the route caters for all drivers and vehicles. There was unfortunately some vehicle damage, the TD5 went home not quite as straight as when it arrived and the incident with the roll resulted in a bent top hoop of the owners cage and a muddy interior! Body damage can be avoided and upto this point has been with the route being completed by similar specced vehicles.

Please note the more extreme elements of this route can be missed out all together if you are after a gentler days off roading. The course is designed for competent drivers with prepared vehicles, despite this there is nothing that can't be achieved safely and confidently on the route.

To top it all off Paul wife and children fell in love with some of the Jack Russell's that Richard had for sale so maybe the day did cost something after all!!

Some pictures from the day