4x4 Adventures Ltd Taunton, Somerset
Scott Williams Memorial Challenge 10
Words by Jason Farr, Pictures by Jackie Brimble, Jason Farr

West Harptree with its unforgiving terrain set in the majestic Mendip Hills is known to be one of the most challenging sites in the south of England, it was also the venue for the 4th Scott Williams memorial challenge. The event was run over the weekend of 10th-11th July 2010 by the Bristol and West Off Road Club in association with James Trembath of 4x4 Adventures Ltd.

This event is very close to the hearts of the club as it marks a memorial for one of its fondest young members. Scott had battled with cancer throughout his teenage years and sadly passed away in 2007 at the tender age of 18, so with permission from his parents Steve and Carol the Bristol and West Off Road Club found it fitting to hold a Challenge event in the memory of such an eager competitive member.

Scott was an excellent achiever and had competed with his father alongside Shaun Harris and myself in many challenge events. In 2007 he joined the Bristol boys up in Scotland to go on and win the Muddy Truckers trophy shortly before he sadly departed from us.

The motivation that Scott empowered on us made us realise that to get the most out of life you have to put a lot in. With this in mind, we as a club, decided to give something back to the people that helped the Williams family through their sad times.

The Teenage Cancer Trust was the obvious choice of charity with all the sponsorship money going towards the Bristol Unit’s one million pound appeal. Its aim is to help teenagers and young adult cancer sufferers in the area, and with the backing of some very generous sponsors; Goodwinch, Superpro Europe, 28x4 and Adrian Flux the 2010 event was created.

Friday afternoon saw seventeen fresh and eager teams turn up to lavish in a weekend of challenges and fun and games, plus as always have a great social gathering. The weather was absolutely scorching and the conditions allowed us to set a challenging course, with the mixture of vehicles entering James Trembath of 4x4 Adventures had a difficult task of setting 40 punches to suit the most bog standard to the more extreme vehicles Ten easier punches were set out to be achievable by std cars only to even out the playing field.

With the emphasis on having a go at everything a series of special stages were also run alongside the punches the scores were weighted over the weekend giving 60% for all stages and the remainder to the punches. This was intended to get everyone to enter into the spirit of the event and attempt the whole thing rather than plug away at punches all day.

Eight stages were set up over the weekend which varied from driving simple trials gates to more thinking tasks such as the successful “Bosons chair “which involved moving a digger bucket from one side of a valley to the other with only a small amount of recovery equipment .

Saturday morning saw a lot of anxious faces at the drivers briefing and by 9.30 they all were getting stuck into the series of punches and stages laid out. One unfortunate team Steve Prowse and Rich Brock didn’t even leave the camping area before experiencing problems with a blown rear diff on their Discovery but they were soon back in with a replacement vehicle. Others got off to a good start with the exception of two other teams which had broken down, Andy Welling and Martin Davis had suffered a clutch failure in his Strange Rover just 15 minutes into the event and decided to call it a day. Team 13, Brothers Mike and Steve Parsons also suffered a front diff failure on their Suzuki Vitara but un-phased went on to repair the vehicle and were back in the running after dinner. Mid morning saw one more casualty, Rich Vennall and Liz Newland, who had a trip back to the workshop to collect steering components for their stricken car and as with most of the others they were back in action within a short space of time.

The teams displayed some great driving and thinking skills on the special stages and it was good to see them gaining in confidence as the day progressed. The whole event, although competitive, was designed to be fun, seeing the enjoyment the teams were having was the exact reason the event had been put organised.

The fun and games did not stop on Saturday afternoon as whilst the competitors were taking a 30 minute rest after the days challenge the Marshals were busy setting up a team stage on the lower field. The groups were split into two, even and odd numbers, the aim was a relay race between the two teams to drive equal sections, retrieve the contents from water butts using one litre open containers carried by the co driver back up through the section and deposited into an empty bucket at the start. To make things fair the teams swapped sections and it was finally declared a very wet draw. In line with previous events the evening concluded with one of Jackie Brimbles famous quizzes which got everyone together for some social entertainment and jollities.

After a night of heavy rain the organisers had doubts of the team’s abilities to transit the site but by the time the abundant aroma of cooking bacon had cleared the sun was back in place rapidly drying the terrain.

With the emphasis on a fair playing field across classes the modified punch count did not score on Saturday until they filled another card issued on day two and sited on the driver’s side to obtain the same punches they had achieved on the previous day. Undeterred by this the three remaining modified cars soon picked up where they left off with some excellent driving by all of them. The remainder of the field were also keen to gain as many punches as possible with some sterling efforts by all. Newcomers, Gary and Bradley Hodge, in their std Mitibushi Pajero put on an amazing performance at their first ever challenge event with some very quick times and high punch count. One of Sundays two stages consisted of a 10 minute DNF section where the teams had to drive a course to collect three easy punches, To spice things up a bit the driver was blindfolded and had to take verbal instructions from their co-driver This stage was certainly very entertaining to watch as some couples became very heated in discussion!

With their new found confidence and familiarity with the site the teams were using all of their available time to gain as many extra punches as possible before the 3pm finish just to clinch that possible shortfall decision between final placing.

As the 2010 event was coming to an end the Bristol and West Off Road Club committee were delighted with yet another event that showed true spirit towards tackling the various challenges that had been set.

The committee would like to thank all of the marshals who were very committed all weekend also the competitors for raising just over £2000 for the Teenage Cancer Trust charity, a huge thanks also to the sponsors for the fabulous prizes. As well as a trophy for the top three in each class there was also a” spirit of the event” trophy which went to Neil and Mark Delany who showed great sportsmanship throughout the whole weekend; Along with the Spirit of the event trophy they also collected a £150 voucher donated by Richard Fearn of Superpro Europe. The most sponsorship collected prize went to Jo Burgess and Robin Watson who went away with a £200 voucher kindly donated by Adrian Flux insurance. Dan Hutchings and Stuart Hancock were awarded the “Marshalls choice on performance “was and were presented with a Bowrope Synthetic winch line donated by David Bowyer of Goodwinch. Two new awards were also presented; Commitment to the event’ went to Rich Brock and Steve Prowse, they were won Jackets and fleeces from Williams Dry lining. Finally the highest placed new comer award went to Gary and Bradley Hodge in the form of a hawse fairlead donated by Lawrence Horne of 28x4. The overall winners of the event was Rich Sims and Corrine Routley who achieved a 72% overall score across all classes, they were awarded with the Scott Williams trophy for the second time in the four year history of the event.

This event has inspired everyone who took part and the Bristol and West Off Road Club are soon to make plans for the 2011 event, details of this will be posted on their website.

Overall results:

Standard class (No aids to recovery)
1st Gary and Bradley Hodge
2nd Chris and Kim Parsons
3rd Harry Adams and Lee Woolley
4th Austin and Sally Stevens
5th Steve Prowse and Rich Brock

Standard+1 class (One aid to recovery)
1st Rich Vennall and Liz Newland
2nd Stuart Hancock and Dan Hutchings
3rd Mike and Steve Parsons
4th Jon Vennall and Faye Glanville
5th Jo Burgess and Robin Watson
6th Neil and Mark Delaney
7th Andy Welling and Martin Davies

Modified class (more than one aid)
1st Rich Sims and Corrine Routley
2nd Rich Denmead and Dan Sevier
3rd Jade Williams and Laura Mantel
4th Patrick and Patricia Delaney

Some pictures from the event