4x4 Adventures Ltd Taunton, Somerset
(6034521)
J33P Winch Challenge
Wellington, 20th/21st Sep 08

A Thankyou from J33P by Mike Cuff

This is the second winch challenge event James Trembath has run for J33P Jeep Adventure club. On both occasions J33P has been extremely pleased with the outcome, the organisational side (sign in, briefings, timekeeping, scoring system etc) have been very smooth and efficient and the offroading has been superb and more than met our event criteria, the club has received extremely positive feedback about the sites used, punch positioning and the special stages. Basically James and his team of marshalís handle pretty much everything, leaving J33P to organise the social side, i.e. the BBQ and prizes. James and the marshal's hardwork is very much appreciated. Upshot is the event will be back in 2009.
 

Event Overview by James Trembath

With September having come around again it was time for the annual two day J33P Culmhead Challenge to get underway are an active jeep club (with free membership) who run a variety of different and testing events over the year. The Culmhead Challenge is the only competitive event that the club run with the remaining events being a combination of driving days and non competitive punch hunts. J33P are open to all makes and types of vehicles but obviously specialize in jeeps as per the name sake!

The aim of the Culmhead Challenge is to introduce people to competitive events, timings and scoring systems and as such the event is run on a similar program to a normal winch challenge event. For the 08 Challenge there were 40 punches available to them over 3 different sites with access to the sites varying over the weekend. Coupled to this were two day special stages and one night special stage.

Saturdays special stage consisted of driving around a course with the aim of getting the vehicle to touch some strategically placed coloured tennis balls. The balls had to be collected in alphabetical colour order and to add constraints not only were points allocated for the correct order but also for the quickest time around the course.

Saturday night saw a 2km night navigation exercise on an unseen piece of ground using some good tracks to avoid vehicles becoming stuck. The route was given at the start point in the form of tulip diagrams where competitors had to interpret the diagrams and follow the directions with the distances given. By now the clock was already ticking! Some interesting results came back with a winning time of 7.5mins through to almost an hour taken by some! Maybe some tulip revision for next year may be in order, although I dare say that by then we will have changed the format Ė just to keep them on their toes!

Sunday, along with more punches, saw special stage 3. This consisted of driving a route over some logs between Ďgatesí. There were 4 gates and you could choose your own route. Competitors had a 10min DNF time so the pressure was already on and that was before the blind fold for the driver was handed over! The aim of the special stage being to get the drivers and co-drivers relationship to develop through communication skills whilst obviously also having fun on a non damaging but thinking mans special stage.

Over the course of the weekend all 40 punches were achieved (eventually) with the timings and punch nos coming in suggesting that there was plenty to keep people occupied! Overall an excellent weekend Ė no doubt helped in no small part by the weather (it didnít rain once) with guys and girls learning some new skills and gaining an understanding of what itís like to compete in a challenge event.

As ever we are indebted to our marshalls for their help and support over the two days. Without them the event would just not be able to happen. Our thanks go to Tim Jones for helping setout and plan the Night Stage earlier in the week plus his support running the stage on the Saturday night as well as providing a Ďcommand centreí to run the event from. Simon Parsons and Ian Hawes were an outstanding help seeing everyone through the day special stages ensuring all went well under their capable guidance. Our thanks also goes to Chris Watts for scrutineering plus keeping control of and providing guidance to those in need over the course of the weekend.

 

A Competitors View by Chris McCollum

We had no time to practice together before this event, but Neil, my new co-driver who has his own off road truck, wasnít new to the idea. Neil was going to take care of the winching and route finding. Poor sod I donít think he realised what he was in for. The usual briefing from James didnít reveal anything about the special stages, only the times you had to be at the start. All prepped and ready to go we headed down to the woods to look for the punches, we made steady progress, the ground conditions were good making it relatively easy going. That was until we found the boggy bit at the bottom. As we were pottering around we realised time was marching on and already 2 minís past our start time for special stage 1 Oops! We made a hasty dash up to the start, grabbed the instructions and threw ourselves blindly into the stage. It took us a moment to realise what we had to do, but Neil did an excellent job of running around finding the coloured tennis balls hanging from the trees, putting them into the correct alphabetical order before we could touch them with the Jeep. A disappointing 8+ minutes, I reckon if we had remembered to get to the start on time we would have done ok. We headed back down into the woods to finish off the punches, one we couldnít get to and another eluded us all together. Not wishing to waste too much time we then headed off to the Quarry.

A short road trip found us in the very boggy quarry, even with the sun shinning itís not a place you want to drive without thinking about where your wheels are going, or youíll be stuck for hours. This section was technically more demanding, with one or two punches needing rear winch equipped vehicles, but we set about finding the punches, again all but one punch was reached. One of them gave us a headache after I got it a bit wrong and we became entangled in a fallen tree. A bow saw made short work of the log, and some lateral thinking with the winch, we made it up the steep bank to the punch and then out safely again.

After the first day of punch hunting we all gathered round for the BBQ, I was worried that Mike had done the usual and bought far too much, but everyone was starving, and it wasnít long before it was polished off. A camp fire was lit just as it was getting dark to keep us warm. After the BBQ we were all ready for the night stage tulip challenge. What a hoot, it was held in a small forest with criss-crossing tracks it was difficult to determine who was going which way. You had to rely on your own ability to follow the way points. We did laugh when we saw Grenville coming back towards us through the field after the compass bearing. We found out later that we had the second fastest time. Can we have a stewards enquiry please, the fastest time was something like 7 minutesís, not possible without breaking the sound barrier. The well supplied camp fire kept us going into the wee small hours keeping us warm.

After a chilly nights sleep, and the air bed going flat yet again, it was time to get up and get ready for the second day. It became apparent that the top scores were very close, you could feel the atmosphere became a little more serious, Neil and I decided to go out guns blazing and give it real go. Another fine day saw us taking on the same punches in the quarry section, this time we made a point of not missing any and picked our way through them as quickly as possible. We made our way to the woods that were used for the night time navigation, but this time we were punch hunting again. Down by the river we found Kris taking on punch no 40, he was having such a good time, we left him too it and battled long and hard to get punch 39, sometimes little streams and grassy banks can look so inviting, my poor winch had to work overtime to get us out of that one. Special stage 3 beckoned and we made our way to the start. It looked relatively easy, just a few logs to drive over, round a tree in a loop and then back again, simple. Yeah right! Just as we started I was given the blacked out goggles and told to wear them. Neil then had to guide me round the course blind folded. I think we made a mistake in trying to use waffle boards to get over the logs, it took us a bit longer than it ought to have done, especially when one of them got wedged under the Jeep, but it was still a laugh, and weíll know better next time. We had a short time to gather the last few punches before heading back to camp and the finish. There was plenty of time to clean up and de-camp while the points were totalled up by James.

Well done to Kris Murphy for winning the overall event, Iíll be back next year, so watch out youíll have to work even harder to keep yourself at the top. I really enjoyed myself, and chuffed to bits to get my first ever trophy for first in class, next year Iím going for the top spot. My co-driver Neil was absolutely knackered by the time he went home, and I think regretted not booking Monday off work, hopefully heíll join me again next year, thanks for your hard work mate.

Thanks to James for setting the event up for us. I know it wasnít as extreme as you would normally run your events, but it was exactly what was asked for. Thanks to Tim and all the other guys that helped to put on this event. My only hope is that it continues for many years. To sum it up, great event, great weather, great BBQ, great venue, laughed all the way, roll on next year.

 

Results

Punches
Overall Scores
SS 1
Winch
SS 2
Blindfold
Night
Navigation

Overall
Competitors Class Position Score Position Score Position Score Position Score Position Score
Mike Cuff Mod 9 34 6 8.6 10 16.8 1 12.50 72 6
Andrew Dawkins Std+1 5 51 10 8.4 1 20.0 3 2.50 82 5
Grenville Maddox Mod 6 44 12 4.2 13 2.1 3 2.50 53 10
Chris McCollum Std+1 1 60 7 8.4 2 17.3 3 2.50 88 2
Kris Murphy Mod 1 60 5 8.6 9 17.0 2 11.35 97 1
Adrian Pope Mod 12 18 13 2.0 11 16.6 8 0.00 37 12
Ian Stokes Std 9 34 2 9.5 7 17.0 3 2.50 63 7
Andrew Rees Mod 14 5 8 8.4 8 17.0 8 0.00 30 13
Bob Smith Mod 3 59 1 10.0 3 17.3 14 0.00 86 3
Jim Waitt Mod 7 37 11 4.4 12 4.3 13 0.00 46 11
Mark Walford Mod 12 18 14 0.0 14 0.0 8 0.00 18 14
Kevin Williams Std+1 11 25 3 9.4 6 17.1 3 2.50 54 9
Tony Wilson Mod 8 36 9 8.4 5 17.2 12 0.00 62 8
Dan Smith Mod 3 59 4 8.7 4 17.3 8 0.00 85 4
 

Some pictures from the event