4x4 Adventures Ltd Taunton, Somerset
Bampton Drive Round Day, 20th Jan 08
For a change and to help people find the site some of us met for a hearty breakfast at the local services were everyone was soon introduced and chatting away - a great way to start the day. After the short convoy drive upto the farm we found Paul Radford and David Webber, in Paul's newly painted and cut down 90, already waiting. Paul had decided to come along to give the vehicle a bit of a run out after some serious fabrication work over the Christmas break, in fact he enjoyed it so much at the end of the day he immediately decided to come along on the next DRD as well!

Whist waiting for Dan and Bert Smith, who turned up nice and early after a few minutes, we went through the paperwork side of things, once everyone was in we had the drivers brief for the day, then with the complete convoy of six cars we headed off for the day.

Ground conditions could be described as slippery, and the water sections were good; although not the highest they have been, there was nothing over the bonnet and the rivers section drives were little more than sill depth so didn't prove to be an issue for the V8 in the group, although Paul sensibly drove around the 'Wet Corner' section!

The first quarry section proved testing at the entry point. Tim Jones was in the hot seat codriving for Jos. This was Jos' first Bampton DRD and in his Bikini topped 90 he certainly made the most of the day, including driving one washed out mud/river section with open axle diffs that several of the 'modified' vehicles struggled to get through without the aid of a winch. I am not quite sure who to credit; Jos for the driving or Tim for his advice - well done guys. Jos did however leave Tim high and dry at one point of the day on the wrong side of a river, I am sure revenge will be sweet!

Dan and Bert had travelled down from Wolverhampton the day before so were refreshed and rearing to go. The DRD had been a Christmas present from father Bob. Bob, Dan and Bert are all regular competitors with us and Bob had attended his first DRD in Nov on the Marshalls day out. Obviously, having enjoyed the day he promptly booked up the day for the lads. Bert with codriver Sarah was driving Bobs TD5, kingcabed modified 90 with Dan in his own TD5 hardtop with Hannah. Both lads were keen to take on any of the challenges, and Dan certainly enjoys the water splashes, or maybe it's the chance of giving David (with his camera) a soaking!

Mo Murphy was down with his son Paul from Letchworth in his winched and caged 90, a great machine that looks the part as well. Mo certainly seemed to be enjoying himself as he tackled the terrain and the vehicle took it all in its stride. Mo had been due to join us on the early Jan DRD but a snapped timing belt had resulted in the reschedule, Mo probably now wishes he had done both days!

Ian Hawes, in his new to him 300TDI white station wagon, joined us with Simon Parsons as his co-driver and spanner wielder. Simon had just fitted the winch for Ian so we were going to go out of our way to find some where to try it out but in the end Ian unfortunately suffered a sheared track rod (at the balljoint/track rod thread end) - so the winch came into use anyway. After a little discussion they were pulled to one side and left with the land owner to remove the damaged item, weld it up and refit whilst the remainder continued on hoping to rejoin them later in the day.

After the washed out river drives and bomb hole/river sections it was down to the last quarry of the day, we had deemed Warren Hill to be a no go with the ground conditions and maybe that should of also held for the last Quarry. The Quarry its self has some nice drops and good twists but the exit route needed a couple of attempts, in the end a ground anchor was set and winches were used to winch the vehicles up into the field to get above the sodden 10m stretch along the side of the quarry. Once here they could then drive, without churning the ground up, back upto the exit.

After a quick regroup at the farm it was time to say goodbye and let the guys head off home. Tim kindly accompanied us back out with Ian and Simon to refit the now mended trackrod. Once fitted we soon had them back on track and back to the farm for a quick clean up prior to their drive home.

Certainly a different day out, with a breakdown in an unfortunate point, but little damage was caused and the wet conditions certainly made the going a little trickier in places and required some more thought. Most of the guys commented they had learnt a great deal in the day and it had certainly improved their driving skills and vehicle confidence - which after all is the reason why we all go out!

Some pictures from the day