4x4 Adventures Ltd Taunton, Somerset
Wellington Daily Driver Challenge, 29th Mar 08
On discussion with a fair few of the spectators at last years Challenge events it became apparent that there was a lot of interest in an event that drivers with standard vehicles could enter. By standard vehicles we mean ones that people use on a daily basis as their main form of transport so, although they may be modified they have not generally been cut around or traybacked etc.

Trying to judge the level of ‘standard’ or ‘Daily Driver’ proved to be interesting with some being a factory produced AT shod Hardtop 90 through to a caged, Insa Turbo shod Discovery. Guidelines were setup to try and equal the field so as not to put off drivers plus keep the more specified ‘real’ challenge vehicles away.

There were a good 14 vehicles present for the day which ranged from Chris Walker in his pretty standard Mitsubishi through to Ben Burgess in his new to him caged 90 hardtop. Ben and Ro were along to try out the new truck prior to entering the next series event at the end of April, the DDC was to prove a good testing ground for the truck and team work skills.

Some regular marshalls also took up the challenge to come along and give it a go. David Lovejoy entered after fitting a new TDS Goodwinch to his 100 hybrid during scrutineering – he was desperate to try it out and soon after leading everyone to a dead end on a track (well they all followed him to be fair) had the winch out to help manoeuvre some of the vehicles who had got it slightly wrong!

Benjy Devonport came up from Cornwall in his expedition prepared 110, he had removed the roof tent although the roof rack was still on and guiding a 110 between the trees certainly took some skill, luckily Kevin Williams, a regular marshall with us, kindly volunteered to codrive for Ben for the day.

Sam Woodbury was along with his AT shod V8 blue 90, together with Steven Ball they worked really hard throughout the whole day. With no winch they were thinking through the punches in advance and with subtle sand ladder deployment managed to get themselves around most of the course even where more prepared vehicles were struggling. Its always good to watch an AT tyred car drive out of a section that something with MTs on has to winch out of! Well done guys – for their efforts they took home the Marshalls award for the day.

Ian Hawse from Torbay 4x4 club was along with Frank Puddle (CSW) to try out Ian’s newly truck cabed 90 and despite the weather they could not have been happier wallowing in the mud. They also went on to do some of the harder quarry punches and in true style I don’t think either of them ever missed a smile! Nick Smith also from Torbay Club came along in his well prepared Discovery. Nick was the only other vehicle to give the quarry punches a serious attempt and they certainly left with a greater understanding of what the events entail having thoroughly enjoyed the day.

Ian Gildersleeve was up to help with scrutineering and signing on before joining the drivers to put his truck through its paces – he was especially keen to try out his new tyres, fitted the night before the event, plus his winch also had a good work out. Dave Wilson and Charles Bishop teamed up for the day in Daves silver 90. Both are regular marshalls and have completed various DRDs over the past year or so. They had an interesting day out but as the confidence grew Dave, under Charles’ watchful eye got themselves around the course with few difficulties proving some forethought and planning means you don’t have the winch everywhere!

Steve Guerney with son Howard came down for Cambridgeshire for the day. Having camped over the night before locally they were a little damp even before the day started! Steve is running a pretty std looking td5 90 hardtop with a well thought out suspension system and the father/son team worked well together around the course although there is a little photograph showing some recovery from Mark and Jo Walford! Jo was in the hot seat for the day with Mark out running around. Mark is a regular challenge competitor and thought the DDC would be an ideal opportunity to give Jo the opportunity to drive around and gain some confidence in the vehicle – she certainly rose to the challenge and I think Mark may have to be fighting to get his seat back!

Our thanks go to the Marshalls for the day, mainly Simon Parsons and Matt Neal for all their help in recovering various drivers and generally ensuring the smooth running of the day. Our thanks also go to the entrants for their spirit and help that was shown to fellow entrants and the general keenness of everyone to muck in and help out each other.

After a very wet day, the few survivors who made it to the prize giving at the end saw Sam Woodbury win the Marshalls award for ‘Greatest number of recoveries and use of sand ladders’ Whilst Ian Hawse took home the ‘Spirit of the event’ award. A truly memorable day, and lets hope the next one in Jun is a little dryer!

Some pictures from the day