4x4 Adventures Ltd Taunton, Somerset
Bampton Drive Round Day – 7th Feb 10
Words by James Trembath, Pictures and Video by Peter Clarke

Today was a first for not only our first leaf sprung hybrid Landrover, but also for a soft topped TD5 Landrover to come along and join us for a Bampton DRD. The former belonged to Robin Thorn who was along with his son James for the day in a quite extensively reworked series 2A LR including a home brew twin motor 8274. Certainly an interesting vehicle with some bespoke engineering on it. It looked a capable machine but with a broken f/o/s shaft on arrival Robin was going to find it hard going. On the other end of the spectrum was Peter Clarke with his son (Peter) in their very nicely prepared soft topped 90. Certainly a well maintained and looked after vehicle.

Joining us for return appearances were Jeroen and Julian in Jeroen’s std 90 SW Tdi, David Knight in his std hardtop td5, plus Kevin Luxton and Steve Hardcastle both in well prepared tricked up 90 truck cabs.

On completion of the briefing and with one escort vehicle we headed upto ‘warm-up’ woods to start the day and give everyone a flavour of what to expect. It quickley became apparent that Robins vehicle was struggling and there was a drivetrain issue, luckily for him he had axle lockers so could progress with them engaged, thus getting around the issue of only having one wheel drive.

David Knight demonstrated some good driving through a couple of the twisty sections completing them in a ‘clear round’ where some of the larger modified vehicles had ‘struggled a little’. David had obviously been out practising the day before!

With everyone now a little mud splattered after the first water spash and keen to get on we headed down to the 1st drop and river drive. Here Peters td5 was pulled to one side to take the easier route around the steepest drop whilst the remainder of the group completed the nice river section before a short climb followed immediately by a very short but steep river drop. After a second short river drive there is then a tree rutted track climb back up to the top of the first hill, with some careful route selection and good driving we had some clear first runs on this climb, the first of many technical sections of the day.

After heading back around into the woods there was a steady climb with some tight twists between the trees near the top before the first real long drop of the day back down across the river and through an axle twist. Jeroen had a couple of run ups at the axle twist, limited somewhat by his smaller (31”) tyres he did well to clear the section. Robin had needed a little work at the top of the long drop to get him around the trees with his limited traction but then made easy work of the cross axle. Kevin tried the alternative harder route and very nearly cleared the section bring just a foot or so short at the top of the climb. After 2 attempts he succumbed and made light work of the axle twist section. David meanwhile picked some good lines and made a lot of it look too easy. Having said that after driving two good sections his luck went downhill after that and I do believe he needed a little help with several attempts through Deep Ruts!

With the group complete we took in a few lanes heading upto the aforementioned Deep Ruts. Peter (Jnr) was a little too hard on the brakes on the way down to the first section and slid straight into a nice big hole which most of the other managed to bypass, less Steve who struggled despite his nice new shiney back to black tyres! A quick rock of Peters vehicle and he was clear and drove the rest of the section without issue. Jeroen, knowing the pitfalls of the route picked a good line down through the first sections but had to resort to his TDS winch to get over the top of the last climb with the vehicle grounding out in the centre of the ruts.

After a short, blustery stop for lunch it was back up past the warm up woods to the small copse. Here despite some well used logging tracks posed little problem to the group with some ‘momentum’ in force to make the long climb towards the end of the section. From here we took the twisty tree route across to wet corner. Kevin was keen to get straight in there with the V8s and Td5’s giving the hole a miss. With not quite enough momentum though he became hung up on the corner in the silt and ruts and the winch was soon out. With Tim bringing his vehicle in from the other end to aid recovery Kevin was soon extracted from the water, despite his wet feet – no harm done. It would have been nice not to soak the guys coming to help out mind! Jeroen then took the precaution of paying out some winch rope and attaching it up near his window. Just as well too – he succumbed to the same silt at the same spot! With his rope already sorted and Tim on hand he and Julian were soon out and drying out!

With no more volunteers for wet corner we were off to middle wood. Some excellent tracks lead on down to what has now become a very big hole in the track on the n/s. the result is a very high rear right wheel. Jeroen, Robin, Steve and Kevin all took the hole in their stride, Steve even stopped for half an hour for pictures (I presume he wasn’t stuck!) David and Peter wisely took the suggested alternative routes to avoid any potential wing damage. Having said that everyone cleared the section with no problems or damage, including Jeroen’s very standard 90.

With the Sunken river drive taking us on down to Steve’s Bumps and Dips there was some light entertainment as Steve (although the section is not named after him) followed by Kevin and then Robin completed the sections. The latter two needing the aid of a winch at some points. A good effort though from Steve saw him through unaided.

After a quick coffee we were then onto the final river drive with its associated drops and climbs before coming back into the ‘departure field’ A quick reflection on the day and a clean up of number plates and lights and we were off on our separate ways.

Video clip of the event...

Some pictures from the day