4x4 Adventures Ltd Taunton, Somerset
Bampton Drive Round Day – 21st Feb 10
Words by James Trembath

A slightly smaller group with four vehicles for this DRD. Ben Stenner was along for his first trip with us in his tidy blue truck cab tdi 90, Niall Moore was back for a 2nd trip in his blue and white hardtop v8 90 and Tony Evens and family were in their disco 300tdi now sporting a lifted rear to allow for some comfort with the full family on board. Kevin Luxton and his daughter were also along, getting in as much practice as possible off roading prior to the 1st round of our upcoming series. Jeroen unfortunately couldn’t make the day due to some unforeseen issues.

With the initial start in Warm up woods everyone made good progress through the tight twisty sections. Tony working slightly harder to get his longer Disco through, while Kevin made it look too easy in his 90 truck cab – it must be all the recent practice! Peter Bowater, sharing the driving with Niall, had a few issues with the fueling/lpg mix and came became slightly hung up with no power whilst traversing a cross axle. Once the lpg mix had been tweaked and the snorkel sorted all was well and they were off again (after a little help from the winch to extract from their current position!)

Sticky to the traditional route we headed down to 1st drop with the river drive. Tonys new snorkel had its first testing here and proved faultless – a very functional if not aesthetically pleasing bit of kit. With the bottom of 1st dropped now washed out a little more the vehicles on smaller tyres had to be sure they picked the right lines to avoid being hung up, and as Tony showed if you can do it in a Disco then in a 90 it should be easy!!

Taking in the byways we headed up to Deep ruts, somewhere where the disco on its smaller tyres and longer overhang was going to find it hard work – and it did needing recovery a few times. Kevin bringing up the rear again made the sections look easy despite his 235.85 tyres, Ben meanwhile, along with Niall on 34 and 35” tryess cleared the sections with little trouble. The mud down the middle of deep ruts certainly makes it hard going, and with some deep mud and water holes on route plus a couple of bridge crossings to make it is by no means and easy section to drive clearly.

Stopping for lunch at the end of deep ruts we were lucky enough to catch some lunchtime sun and also celebrate Ashton’s’ birthday, with Tony and Nik having brought along a cake complete with candles! Very much appreciated – thank you. It was just as well the cake was finished before wet corner in hindsight!

To make a change from the normal we then headed off to warrens hill where some of the longer climbs and descents could be combined to make for some interesting screams coming from the various women in both the Disco and Ben Landrovers. On previous DRDs one of the climbs has proved a little too difficult for the majority of the vehicles so this time we did it as an descent and took in the scenic routes back around the exit rather than resort to winching on the hill.

Heading back up the byways again the group then made its way out to wet corner via a couple of small copses. The routes through the copses are tight with some cross axles so careful route selection is paramount to avoid getting stuck or contacting a tree.

Tony Evens and family were as previously mentioned this time sporting a novel snorkel on their otherwise standard 300tdi discovery. It certainly proved its worth on wet corner, where being the first vehicle in, and doing a bit of route clearance, they came hung up on the corner. I am guessing from the shrieks emulating from the rear of the vehicle that it was soon starting to fill up too. The girls were soon seen ‘escaping’ through the sun roof as the seats started to slowly submerge. No such luck for Tony though who soon had a very wet seat and two full wellies, maybe this would have been route to have sent Nik in through!

With Kevin sent around to aid a winch recovery from the other end all was well until his vehicle stalled as soon as any electrical load was applied (something to sort out prior to Rd 1 Kevin!), Bens vehicle was then moved around to help tow the Disco out but with limited traction it wasn’t going to happen, and with the Disco filling up it wasn’t getting any lighter either! The lead vehicle, having bypassed the section, maneuvered to set up a winch pull with a change of direction off a pulley block, with a Bowmotor 2 on an 8274 this soon had the disco moving and once pulled a couple of meters forward it found traction and was able to drive out. The remainder of the vehicles drove the section with no problems, it just shows there is some silt to clear for that first vehicle!

With everyone safely though we headed on down through middle woods to the axle twist/bomb hole. After watching the lead demo vehicle everyone was then guided safely through with no damage – obviously stopping for the obligatory pictures as the rear right wheel lifts some 2-3ft off the ground!

With the sunken river providing some good side slopes due to the newly changed washed out bed this section again had to be driven with care to avoid being caught out – as it did a few! From here it was onto the last few river drives. This time after the rear wheel lifting drop off the tarmac road on one of the water entries we took a sharp left up the bank into the field which Nik in the Disco, after a few attempts drove superbly with just the amount of juice needed without over doing it.

Just as we finished up for the day Jeroen arrived with some bad news from his day and was disappointed at having missed us. With the vehicles given a quick clean over of lights and number plates we were finished for the day and soon with the light fading everyone took to the road on the separate ways.

Some pictures from the day