4x4 Adventures Ltd Taunton, Somerset
4x4 Adventures Winch Challenge Series Round 4
Slindon, 23rd Aug 08
What a fantastic site Slindon is. There was certainly plenty to offer the competitor from deep water to deep sandy boggy sections through to some gravel and hard based tracks and climbs. All of this combined with a little magic tape to make things more interesting had the makings of a fantastic Challenging day out.

Kevin Moss and Sue Gawne were along to join us for the first time this series and despite a few upsets on the SS had a sterling performance coming in a good second place in class after some good technical driving and winching on the day particularly on punch 19.

Also new to the series event from mid Wales came Austin Jewitt and Scott Benwell along with Mark Dyer and Jason Morgan. Both teams put in a great performance working nice and steadily throughout the day picking and choosing punches. With Team Gigglepin and Team OEC set as the ones to chase along with Shaun Harris they certainly had their work cut out for them. Shaun Harris with Steve Williams Codriving had a fantastic day taking on some of the mich harder technical punches giving them some good high scores placing them 2nd overall, 27 points behind Mark Dyer but putting them first in the series an excellent result, plus they were the only car to complete punch 13. If only they had done that one more punch at the end of the day!

Nick Watts and Guy Radford were along in the X-Eng/Goodwinch sponsored Rogue Vogue to give it a run between the Howlin Wolf series of events. Slindon is home territory to them so they were hoping for a good result although after several trouble free AWDC events with the vehicle running like a dream Slindon was to prove too much with 2 of the standard Toyota CVs giving up the ghost resulting in an early retirement for them. Despite this they still managed a creditable score of 10th which puts their first points onto the series scoreboard for them with 4 more events to run.

Dan and Bert Smith had trundled down from Wolverhampton to give Slindon a taste of what they could offer and were off to a good start with a good high punch count early on, but then they hit the outback and the site bit back! They struggled on taking home some valuable series points almost finishing the day. Then to top it all off on the way home they had a blow out on the lorry and with no spare to hand they were even longer on their return journey than planned – not a great day for them but they have vowed to return with vengeance.

There were a surprisingly high number of breakages early on in the day with Tony Cordell with his new co-driver – Les ‘racing thin’ Brock having some winch mechanical issues resulting in them having to retire at Punch 20 within an hour or so of starting. The top two rival teams in the Championship, Team OEC and Team Gigglepin also both had problems in the morning with Jason Farr and Rich Sims from Team OEC breaking both CVs about 2hrs into the day while Steve Gittins and Mark Morgan lost all drive to their front axle just before lunch resulting in both having to retire early. Ian Mousldale and Tom again were forced to retire with front winch problems and 2WD along with Bert and Dan Smith who were also down to 2WD by early afternoon.

With breakages devastating the Modified teams it was good to see all the Std +1 and Std vehicles complete the day although Russell Lowton and Lewis Alderson who won their class in standard were not without problems snapping rear prop shaft bolts on their Suzuki for a past time. They were back to the trailer about 4 times to reattach the prop through the day having also lost rear wheel drive on the SS. Dan Need and Ian Stokes were down from Leamington way to give the site their best and Ian was certainly seen running around the site a lot trying to find suitable punches although MTs are hard work on any site where 35” Simex have been through. A good credit to them though for sticking it out to the end and coming in with a creditable punch count. Also in Standard Class Simon Parsons and Ian Hawse were not without their problems. The first of these was when Ian caught the winch hook in his forehead resulting in a nasty deep cut which was soon patched up by Nick Walker, one of the first aid qualified marshalls covering that area. Simon and Ian then took a little breather to recover before heading back only to have some over heating issues with his electric fan giving up the ghost, but he carried on using only the heater to provide any engine cooling.

Shaun Houghton with Stuart Guard in the codriver seat won their class in Std + 1 with a convincing win despite also being down to front wheel drive only after too much gusto on Punch 17 halfway through the day. Mind you if they hadn’t caught the tape the first time they did the punch they wouldn’t of had to go back in and redo it! David Webber and Mark Walford were noted by their absence from the day due to other commitments which now means Shaun has a good lead over them in the championship board with 3 more events to go. Paul Radford and Ben Evans were in close competition with Shaun although Paul had some engine trouble after doing an ‘endo’ on Punch 36 early on in the day – also a very lucky man not to barrel role on the same punch!

The Special Stage this time consisted of a 10 gate trials style section laid out on a gentle sloping bank. Competitors had the option to pick and chooses which gates they wanted to drive within the 10 min time limit but had to work hard and come up with some careful route selection in order to make all the gates therefore calling for a bit of planning and prior preparation rather than just blundering straight into it. An excellent time with a good number of gates went to Mark Dyer winning the overall SS. Shaun Harris was only half a minute or so behind on time with the same no of gates coming in a good 2nd place. As it happened these two competitors were set to battle it out for the day as the scores will show with only 27 points between 1st and 2nd overall!

Our thanks yet again go to the Marshalls for their help over the day; Chris Watts, Nigel Barker and Steve Guerny for running scrutineering. Sam, Mark and Kevin for running SS1 - from the results and comments it seems they all enjoyed it if not fully reading into the rules!

Finally a massive thank you to our Sponsors X-Engineering and OEC International and specifically to Anton and Simon thank you providing the prizes and yet more T shirts and Bibs - thats 30 Teams now registered and complete for the series. Plus Liz for running around looking after everyone with great bacon butties - thank you.

Nick, Guy, Les, Steve, Nige, Anton, Liz, Simon, Chris and Martin also rightly deserve a mention for keeping an eye on the guys in the taped sections and clearing the site afterwards.

Nige - thank you for taking on the outback with Steve sorry you had to winch yourself in there, but many thanks for keeping control out there and clearing all the tape at the end, very much appreciated. I hear Steve Drove in and Out?

Overall results:

1st Mark Dyer and Jason Morgan - 1157 pts
2nd Shaun Harris and Steve Williams - 1130 pts
3rd Austin Jewitt and Scott Benwell - 1062 pts
4th Kris Murhphy and Bryony Passmore - 871 pts
5th John Piper and Wayne McNulty - 725 pts
6th Andy Smith Ian Mitchell - 632 pts
7th Team Gigglepin (Steve Gittins and Mark Morgan) - 625 pts
8th Simon Madgwick and Alex Hammond - 581 pts
9th Paul Hooper and Rich Green - 458 pts
10th Team X-Eng/Goodwinch (Nick Watts and Guy Radford) - 410 pts
11th Bert and Dan Smith - 307 pts
12th Ben Burgess and Ro Llonte - 279 pts
13th Team OEC (Jason Farr and Rich Sims) - 269 pts
14th Tony Cordell and Les Brocklehurst - 179 pts

Std + 1 (Slightly Modified) - two aids (eg 2 winches, 2 lockers or 1 winch and 1 locker)
1st Shaun Houghton and Stuart Guard - 2213 pts
2nd Paul Radford and Ben Evans - 2133 pts
3rd Ian Moulsdale and Tom Marrion - 733 pts

Std - 1 aid (eg 1 winch, or 1 locker)
1st Russell Lowton and Lewis Alderson - 2493 pts
2nd Sue Gawne and Kevin Moss - 1183 pts
3rd Simon Parsons and Ian Hawes - 963 pts
4th Dan Need and Ian Stokes - 950 pts

Some pictures from the event