4x4 Adventures Ltd
|Scott Williams Memorial Challenge 09|
Pictures and Words by James Trembath and Shaun Harris
In May 2007 Scott Williams at the age of 18 sadly passed away after a long ongoing struggle against cancer. Being a keen off road enthusiast and adventurous outdoor orientated young lad who always looked on the bright side of life, his parents Steve and Carol, where keen to promote the sports he loved and also help others in similar circumstances by raising money for Cancer related Charities through a series of events each year in recognition of Scott. These events have raised a significant amounts of money over the past years in the form of separate Show Jumping, Shooting, Fishing and an Off Road Challenge events.
The off road Challenge is traditionally run in the first weekend of Jul by 4x4Adventures Ltd in Somerset. Bristol and West Off Road Club (BWORC) are instrumental in the planning and running of the event with Jason Farr, Shaun Harris and Bill Rich, all of whom knew and competed with Scott as an active member of BWORC, providing the special stages and marshalls from the club for the weekend.
The whole Challenge event is planned as a fun, not too serious, social weekend with punches to suit all classes of vehicles combined with six Special Stages spread over the two days and a quiz on Saturday night (expertly written by Jackie Brimble, a strong character in the BWORC committee) so it has all the makings for a superb weekend away, having fun, with an insight into the Challenge scene for BWORC members.
Competitors are invited to attend the event and one of the criteria is vehicle sponsorship, entries for the 2009 SWMC were snapped up within days of the date being announced. In previous years all money raised has been donated to Clic Sargent a very worthwhile charity who supported Scott and his family during his illness. This year it was decided that Teenage Cancer Trust would be the recipient and monies raised would go to the new unit being set up in Bristol.
There was all to compete for over the weekend with the outstanding trophies made specifically for the event brought along by last years overall winners. Strongly themed on the Muddy truckers style of trophy they are a masterpiece and certainly worth the hard work they rightfully deserve to win.
Competitors started to arrive just after 4pm on Friday giving them enough time to make camp and prepare for the weekend. At 9am on Saturday there was a short briefing on the layout of the event, safety and what was expected of the teams, then it was a full day of 35 punches and 4 special stages, (SS), of which 3 were driving stages and 1 was on foot. All SSs’ where against the clock but with the emphasis on completing the stage correctly. SS1 had 7 coloured tennis ball hanging from trees, each one had to be touched by the windscreen of the vehicle in the order of the colours of the rainbow, this lead to plenty of singing which kept the marshals amused. SS2 had 10 trials gates that could be driven in any order but only once each and in the correct direction, this stage seemed quite straight forward at first but teams soon became disorientated once they started. SS3, Perfect 10. Was another series of 10 gates but this time in order but over more challenging ground. SS4 was a navigation stage on foot in a densely wooded area which gave everyone chance to stretch their legs.
One of the sections used throughout Saturday and for a limited period of time on Sunday was the small disused Quarry. With some deep endless bogs ‘out back’ plus some steep climbs it was certainly hard going for the standard vehicles. None the less Steve Hart and Fran in their Pajero made a sterling effort picking up the 5 easy punches before wisely calling it day and heading off to the other sites, this was their first challenge and showed excellent spirit throughout the weekend. Dan Sivier and Rich Denmeade were determined to put in a good score for the weekend and decided to head ‘out back’ early on, the first bomb hole proved deeper than expected and their vehicle was in there a little while – well 2 or 3 hours struggling with winch power before the comedy duo of Nick Walker and Les Brock came to their rescue. Nick and Les had reversed roles of driver and codriver for this event from their previous exploits with early Howlin Wolf events – they were certainly both keen on getting their own back on each other in various different ways – and doing it all with a smile! They worked well together picking up some good punches including one ‘out back’ before heading back up to the Triangle for the rest of the day – with the truck beginning to run a little warm!
Jeroen in his pretty standard 90 was sporting a TDS winch up front which he was keen to try out and soon had himself deploying it on punch 14 in the Quarry, a misleadingly looking easy punch which soon had it working and making light work of the section. Meanwhile Steve Gittins and Adrian Everitt who were marshalling the Quarry were also soon deploying their winches (both twin gigglepins) to help out some of the less fortunate competitors who had over edged their vehicles ability. Competitors had been issued playing cards which could be exchanged for recovery either form Marshalls or fellow competitors, The cards were then used as deciders for the Spirit of the Event and other none point prizes in relation to a tie.
One competitor keen not to use his cards was Sam Woodbury in his very nice factory F reg V8 90. Determined not to have to resort to external help he was soon deploying high lift jack and other pieces of kit to extract the vehicle with roof rack from a looming entanglement with a tree whilst taking a novel route into punch 14 – Punch 14 was to claim quite a few over the course of the two days.
The other main area of use on Saturday was the Triangle. Where Richard Vennall and Liz Newland from Sandford Tyre and Exhaust Services not only kept themselves busy repairing their freewheeling hubs out in the field, but they also showed total sportsmanship by taking deflated tyres back to camp for other competitors, fixed them in their mobile unit and returned them to enable the competition to keep running and still managed 4th in class.
The Parsons family with their three standard class cars spent nearly 2 hours working together to get through an area of tree stumps collecting punches as they went. Also in the same area Kev Gunter and his co driver Ian Smith used every piece of their recovery equipment to make it through unaided. Mark bunting, who, after many years has made the move from Suzuki ownership to Land Rover spent nearly an hour up to his knees in a bog repairing his winch enabling him and co driver Kev Hudd to carry on for the remainder of the weekend, this team also took fastest time on SS6 on Sunday.
After an overnight down poor Sunday looked to be more of a challenge. There were 2 SS to attempt and even more punches. SS5 of the weekend was a course that had to be driven with the driver blind folded and taking directions from the co driver, plenty of logs were scattered about on the first straight just to confuse the driver then there was a right turn up over a hump between some trees then downhill and back through the trees to the finish, plenty of teams got stuck and using waffles and even the odd short winch pull baffled the drivers at times. SS6, which was aptly named Hide and Seek was set in a sectioned off piece of woodland with 10 punches attached to trees. The twist was that the card attached to the car had the configuration of only 2 punches that had to be found. As with all of the stages set up over the weekend the card with the instructions on had to be read thoroughly to avoid mistakes and many flew off of the start, totally missing the punch on the back of the tree at the start line.
The Moor was brought into play on Sunday with a further 15 punches available ranging from very easy ones next to good condition tracks through to full on winch style punches with some deep bogs to content with. Tim Jones and Mark Walford put in a sterling effort in one of the endless bogs getting the punch although having to use one of their recovery playing guards to help with extraction. Despite this they went on to do a tricky punch on the river bed which after some good forethought and excellent codriver control they achieved with ease making it look too easy! Which is more than can be said for Nick Walker and Les Brock in Les’ newly modified traybacked 90 sporting lots of nice new toys and over volted winches (TOR – May? 09). They did get the punch and also provided a lot of amusement to fellow competitors and the marshalls alike. They certainly picked up the weekend amusement card! Meanwhile Rob Jenkins with his daughter in their 110 on trac edges made the most of the day picking and choosing the easy punches and although were caught out a few times and played a few cards they gained some good punches with a little forethought to their angle of attack and were rewarded with a 3rd in class for their efforts.
A huge thank you as always goes to the marshals who did a very efficient job and all of the organisers for their hard work. It sometimes seems unfair to single out one marshal but Neil Delaney and his son and daughter who are new to BWORC deserve a mention for the sterling work they did over the whole weekend.
Our thanks and gratitude also go to the sponsors of the event for their generous donations to our chosen charity and prizes. Anton and crew from OEC International for providing a marquee and onsite drinks throughout the course of the weekend and not to mention event hospitality, David Bowyer from Goodwinch for supplying a Bowmotor and solenoid pack plus his onsite help with winch associated issues (he was kept very busy!), Richard from Superpro for a vehicle set of bushes, Jim from Gigglepin for prize clothing and goody bag pack, and Adrian Everitt from TOR 4x4 a newish LR based parts and off road firm in the Bridgewater area who kindly provided a winch to the highest placed non winch vehicle and goody bags for all entrants. Also Shaun Harris of www.cheddarsigns.co.uk for the event stickers and on site signage. ded a winch to the highest placed non winch vehicle and goody bags for all entrants.
Also Shaun Harris of Cheddar Signs for the event stickers and on site signage.
This year we ran 3 class systems:
Std: no aids to traction other than central diff lock/4wd system
With vehicle sponsorship and various donations Steve and Carol have managed to raise over £3000 for Teenage Cancer Trust. All the monies raised from this event will be donated towards their new unit in Bristol, please look at the website for to see all the good work they do.
Quickest/highest placed special stage postions: (who had not already received a prize)
Spirit of the Event:
Results in Detail...
A video clip of the event...
Some pictures from the event