4x4 Adventures Ltd Taunton, Somerset
4x4 Adventures Winch Challenge Series Round 3
Uplowman, 14th Jun 08
Round 3 of the OEC International and X-Engineering (X-Eng) sponsored series couldn’t of had better weather, especially considering the quagmire the Uplowman site can turn into with a little rain – the access tracks can be tricky enough let alone the punch woods!

With twenty vehicles registered for the event with 3 std, 5 std+1 and the remaining modified it was time to think of a slightly different format for the punches and also time for a new SS.

SS1 consisted of 15 gates. They could be driven in any order and they were all worth equal points, but penalties for given for going through them the wrong way or touching the gates. The aim was to drive as many of the gates as possible within the 10mins DNF. Competitors were allowed to walk the SS at any time in the day to develop their plans. Quite a few scored reasonably well but then lost the points due to touching gates (Simon Parsons and Chris Solway) with some not quite realising they couldn’t score the same gate more than once!

The punches were set out in groups of 5 to aid finding their locations. A large amount of tape was used to maximise the sites potential along with restrictions of not being allowed to drive in the fields and only using the specified entry/exit points into the woods. The tape was also set with a standard level punch followed by another section for the modified and std +1 teams to attempt – if they wished.

Shaun Harris and Steve Williams kicked the punch scoring off with a cracking start to the day dropping straight into 11 and 12 by the entrance track. A hard battle for the first car through on both of the tougher punches they certainly worked hard and seamlessly to gain the points. So much so that they were in there a fair amount of time so had a great deal of work to do catching up on punch scores for the rest of the day, but they managed it coming in a very respectable 3rd place.

Meanwhile David Webber and George Mills were stuck in at punches 1 to 5 along with Paul Radford and codriver Josh Jacobs and Bob and Dawn Smith. With the site misleadingly boggy in that area again they were there to prove their worth and put in a sterling effort on the punches. All the while though Shaun Houghton with his new codriver Brian Ruddy (again in a yellow truck – Did they copy you Jase?) had taken the tactical decision of going upto the far end of the course where they could work steadily away at the punches without the other vehicles hindering their passage. This was to prove a valuable bonus when timings became tight at the end.

Robert Brickett and Lester Grant came all the way down from Northumberland for the weekend in a very well prepared modified TD5 90. They had a great morning although suffered some transmission problems soon after lunchtime which mean’t them along with the standard expected winners Russell Lowton and Lewis Alderson were out of the equation for the rest of the day. Despite this Rus and Lewis managed a creditable 2nd place and Bobbie and Lester came in a respectable 8th in Class.

Chris Murphy was down again with Bryony Passmore codriving for the second time and they were hoping to make on their previous position from Round 2. Nice sure and steady put them in a creditable 5th place having tackled some tricky sections, despite the unfortunate door damage! Dan Need and Ian Stokes were keen to show their ability in standard class and worked hard through the day with a creditable 14 punches, beating Rus and Lewis on a punch no count but loosing out to them on scores after Simon Parsons and Chris Solway came in with a strong 18 punches the highest for the standard class – which despite a nil score on the SS gave them a well deserved first place – and a very happy Simon!

Team OEC were keen to show off their newly painted bright yellow truck, freshly sign written up it was their first competition since the Eastnor show and I think Jase was worried about getting it muddy! Needless to say Rich soon had him upto his axles and a couple of scuffs on the body work to show for their hard diligent approach to the punches. A great credit to them for clearing all 40 punches with 30 odd mins to spare. Close behind them were the previous event winners Team Gigglepin with Mark Morgan and Steve Gittins who short on time left punches 11 and 12, which despite their better SS1 score wasn’t enough to get them a first place – it must be the truck hey Steve?

A huge thanks goes to Chris Watts from X-Eng for his help with scrutineering and Anton and Martin from OEC for running SS1. The day ran so smoothly due to no small part from all the Marshalls who stood ‘guard’ of the taped sections and helped teams out with the few mechanical issues, our thanks goes to Liz, Richard, Paul and Les from OEC and also to Sam and Ben for their diligence and help throughout the day.

Overall results:

1st Team OEC (Jason Farr and Rich Simms)
2nd Team Gigglepin (Steve Gittins and Mark Morgan)
3rd Shaun Harris and Steve Williams
4th Bert and Dan Smith
5th Kris Murphy and Bryony Passmore
6th John Piper and Wayne McNulty
7th Paul Hooper and Lee Watson
8th Robert Brickett and Lester Grant
9th Tony Cordell and Mike Dunlop
10th Ben Burgess and Ro Llorente
11th Mike Cuff and Kevin Williams – retired 11:30

Std + 1 (Slightly Modified) - two aids (eg 2 winches, 2 lockers or 1 winch and 1 locker)
1st Shaun Houghton and Brian Ruddy
2nd David Webber and George Mills
3rd Bob and Dawn Smith
4th Ian Moulsdale and Ryan Price
5th Paul Radford and Josh Jacobs

Std - 1 aid (eg 1 winch, or 1 locker)
1st Simon Parsons and Chris Solway
2nd Lewis Alderson and Russell Lowton
3rd Dan Need and Ian Stokes

Some pictures from the event