4x4 Adventures Ltd Taunton, Somerset
Bampton Drive Round Day, 6th Apr 08
Well I don’t think anyone would have actually expected it to snow in April, yet that’s what quite a few woke up to. By 10:30 it had cleared up and we were ready for the off, Kevin and Tim were there. However Mike and his convoy were having a few issues with finding the place whilst Paul was on route travelling down from Reading.

Despite it being a Jeep day we had my Landrover, Tim in his Hybrid and Ivor in his Vitara. Richard the landowner also joined us for the day co-driving for the lead vehicle, he was keen to see how the Jeeps compared against the other vehicles he has seen complete the course over time. With Mike finally making it, with Ivor and Grenville in tow, after arranging for Tim to meet up with Paul on route, we headed off to a stream section for the first taster of what was to come.

Entering the stream via a nice short steep slope and exiting via a slippery climb, the climb being made more challenging by some big steps cut by a group of Suzukis’ on the previous day. Grenville’s bigger tyres and Mikes Simex certainly showed their worth on that climb being the only two of 3 vehicles to succeed. Ivor gave it his all and got the award for best effort, nearly completing the climb in his 29” tyred open diff’d Vitara. During the climb, Ivor popped one of his rear springs. This had sort of been expected Unfortunately for Ivor the shock mounting was found to be broken on arrival at the farm so running the vehicle without a shock it was inevitable the spring would do its own thing on the rough stuff.

Once Ivor replaced the spring and strapped the back axle up to try and avoid it popping out again, picking Paul up on route, we headed back across to do the long drop down to the river, followed by an immediate Mud hole. Grenville certainly gave it his all in the mud hole. However it just wasn’t having any of it so he had to succumb to the bypass route along with all but Mike.

A short road then BOAT section brought us out at the top of the long wooded sunken track section. We knew Kevin with his leaf springs and narrower track would find it hard going, as was proved last year! This coupled with Ivor’s limited ground clearance and Paul’s motor running a little hot (after beaching on the way into the wood) meant a little longer than usual to get down through the tracks, none the less despite what must be the coldest wood in the South West we all made it through unscathed and headed back to the farm for some lunch and a chat on the morning activities.

Over lunch it was decided to give wet corner a miss with there only being one diesel in the group so we then headed down to Warrens hills to take on some of the longer routes out around the back of the hill before tempting fate with some nice long drops and one particular horrible drop - only two did the latter drop – a good decision!

From here we headed back up to Warrens Quarry where there were a couple of nervous descents from some with some good climbs thrown in. With Paul’s truck having thrown a hose on the way to the Quarry (blocked radiator and too many revs maybe on some of the hills) we took in a few more sections whilst he repaired his vehicle before heading back across to Middle wood and the sunken river.

Paul wisely took the advice and left his truck on the side of the track catching a lift with a few others then we headed on down to the river. Some of the wash outs on the way down have certainly made the approach more interesting with a good 3-4 ft of air under the rear tyres on the approach to the river. The latter part of the river has eased a little with recent use and rain fall but the angles are still great and more than enough to catch out the unwary!

With a few needing a little assistance and Ivor having to replace a rear spring again we were started to head back to the farm, dropping off the road into the stream for the return back across the fields to the start.

There were certainly some smiling faces at the end of the day. Everybody expressing a desire to come again, Chris (co-driving for Mike), Grenville and Kevin returning for a third outing.

Some pictures from the day