4x4 Adventures Ltd Taunton, Somerset
Wellington Drive Round Day, 4th Jan 08
What a start to 2008. Four days into the New Year and an opportunity of a Drive Round Day on a cracking site - but, (see the last report), it was still misty!!

Another great turnout for the day, 5 Landrover 90s and 1 Range Rover making the first full Landrover only Drive Round Day for the Wellington site. Peter Bowater joined us in his Range Rover (MT tyres, 2" lift and steering guard) with Phillip sitting in as codriver. Also a first to the Wellington site was Steve Gurney in his well prepared Td5 90 with 255/85 MTs, X-Flex Suspension and HD bumper, winch and underbody protection. Chris Watts having taken his 110 around on the last DRD (21st Dec) was in as codriver to 'show Steve the way'!!! David Webber was back in his Challenge vehicle bringing son Edward (official photographer) as codriver, with him came Mark and Jo Walford, in Stinky, their well prepared blue 90 with winches, lockers and cage plus Adrian and Felicity Pope. Adrian was in his new (to him) 90- formerly Richard Wheelers 'TOP 90', an exceptionally well prepared red, caged 90 with lockers and all the toys - a very nice truck. Finally, Tim Jones brought up the rear of the convoy in his V8 green soft top Hybrid (lockers front and rear), so we had an equal split of 3 with open diffs and no cage and 3 with all lockers and cages. We also unusually had a good representation of winches with only Peter not having one.

With all this in mind we had decided to take on some of the harder routes for the day where we knew winching would be involved. With 4 of the vehicles running rear winches as well, helping Peter and Phillip out would not be an issue. Each DRD is tailored to suit the experience and type of vehicles that turn up, despite this there is still always the option of missing out sections or taking alternative routes to suit everyone's requirements.

The ground conditions had certainly made things slippery underfoot. On entering the first wooded section David (following Mark) had some trouble on the 3rd corner where some previous slightly aggressive driving had made some little holes a fair bit bigger! Nothing that some track maintenance won't sort out in the future, but enough to give David some fun very early on. The tricky sections had only just started as well. As we entered one of the new sections with a small bog in the middle of it, with the rain of late, going up through it proved too much for just about everyone with winches being deployed to help people through the last section. From there we were back to normal with the humps and ditch crossings followed by twisting climbs before a wooded drive to the first decent of the day. A gentle, good traction, meander down to a lower forest track - from here we had a look at one of the harder climbs that was attempted by a few before taking on the side slope twist and heading back into the main field for some more descents and rut driving. Having completed the warm up section we headed off the to the side slopes and wooded technical section. After some route planning and observations at the top of the first steep descent we saw everyone safely down then headed upto the bomb holes for axle twists and some good technical sections. Steve G became bellied out on one of the drop ins where a quick rear winch from Tim soon had him back up and running - it did show the X-Flex suspension working well though!

After soup and sandwiches for lunch it was across to the big 'slippy' descent through the woods back to the entrance track to then head on across to Widecombe moor.

From a morning recce it had been decided not to take the normal entrance wood. After some recent track maintenance it was felt that a little longer for recovery would do the world of good. Instead we stayed clear of the deep ruts taking an alternative route in the section. The favourite bottom mud hole with the side slope caught Peter out - the first culprit of the day where he came off the gas a little too earlier and needed some assistance with a quick winch forward to rejoin the group.

On down to the duck ponds saw some interesting driving in the bomb/river hole. Mark drove the section superbly. In fact I have not seen the first car through drive it so well before, some good momentum and a clear section. Adrian, not wanting to be left out, gave it a go and succumbed to the hole (probably a little deeper after Mark had finished in there) a little digging to get a winch rope on his front recovery points and Mark on the winch had him out and back under control. A little over zealous with the recovery perhaps resulting in a slightly redesigned wing.

From here it was back up through the release pens avoiding some of the deeper boggy sections and ditches before heading onto the Quarry and the red brick road section. Here the sharp descent was a good tester with only Tim and myself giving it a go, but the others all took on the slopes in the lower quarry section, again with some guidance needed where required.

With it getting onto 4pm it was time to head back to the main carpark, here we could reflect on the day and what we had achieved, with cups of tea and snacks between the rain showers!

Our thanks go to Tim Jones for his help in keeping the rear of the convoy together and helping out as required with the recoveries and words of wisdom and encouragement. The next event is planned for the 20th Jan at Bampton. Further details can be found on the Diary page.

Some pictures from the day