4x4 Adventures Ltd Taunton, Somerset
Wellington Drive Round Day – 8th Aug 10
Words by James Trembath

For some unknown reason the 8th Aug DRD has generated a fair bit of interest. So much so that we made the decision to run two smaller groups rather than limit it to just 6 vehicles. Jim Hancock from "Lanes, Tracks and Trails" had booked a sole day with us for a few of his known clients, making up a complete group. In addition Steve Williams wanted to come along and give Simon Elvins a run out in Scott’s truck, after Simon had helped with the rebuild. Plus Jeroen, as ever was keen to come along as was Kevin Luxton and Rob and Jo Mathews. With all this in mind David Webber and son Edward took on the responsibilities or running the second group of 5 vehicles leaving the Lanes and Tracks team within their own group.

David’s group didn’t get off to a good start mind, Steve didn’t turn up and was uncontactable. Then Kevin blew his diff on the first climb and had to retire within 10mins of starting. Mind you better that it happened here than on Rd 4 in three weeks time! Rob and Jo who already had some starting issues were loosing charge with a defunct alternator and Jason Davies has picked up a puncture and that was even before he got on site! In the end Jeroen and Jason made it through to the end all smiling, Rob and Kevin having retired at their earlier stages.

The Lane and Tracks team consisted of Jim and Matt in Jims well prepared Toyota Surf. Elwyn and daughter in his SWB Pajero, Steve in a very nice L200, Alan in a pretty standard 170k tdi 90 and Andrew in his Hilux. With only the 90 and Pajero being SWBs it was going to be quite hard going in between the trees for the majority of the group and there would be some sections they would be best avoiding!

After a brief specific to their group we were off. Heading straight down to the moorland section we first tackled tight corner. This warms the drivers up quite quickly and gets them to start focusing on the job in hand. Nothing too difficult but it has as its name suggests a tight bend in it with an unnerving side slope combined with some tree routes to negotiate. With it being so dry this worked in our favour and also allowed some of the longer vehicles to be able to negotiate the corner without the risk of slipping.

The dryer ground certainly didn’t help with the next rutted section though down across the moor. The first wishbone suspensioned vehicle through, Elwyn in his Pajero had the task of taking the hard edges off the middle of the track, and with the ground being so hard it impeded his progress a ‘few’ times. With the lead vehicle acting as an anchor for his winch rope and the team all soon working together the route was cleared, and probably made slightly easier for the majority. That was Elwyns opinion anyway!!!

With progress now picking up we headed on down through the now coppiced woodland taking in some of the muddier holes and water splashes enroute to a few of the bigger drops across by ‘Ians hole’. After lunch at Sams pond we were to make the simple transition up to the Triangle to swap terrain with Davids group. If only life was so simple. Sams pond was completely dried out. It has a lovely hard base to it and you could see the stones in the base of the ruts that ran through the centre of it. Alan decided to the straddle the ruts though, which with it being so soft out of the ruts in the peat ground was a decision he probably regretted as the front off side wheel hit a particularly soft bit and he was stranded. Out with a tow rope and after several good attempts from Matt driving Jims Surf he was out. We could then continue onto the triangle!

The afternoon was spent on an entirely different set of tracks compared to the moor. Generally dryer tracks but with more ascents/descents combined with a lot of leaf mulch make them interesting at any time of the year. Combine this with the side slopes and the odd twisty, dug out climb it certainly makes it a testing ground, especially for the unwary.

After a gentle meander into the site taking in some of the easier tracks we headed off for a few trickier bits including a very simple looking axle twist bomb hole. Having stopped and had a look at the obstacle we then took it turns to ‘give it a go’. The aim being to drive the section in one go with no stops/shunts! The end result – 50/50 on those that made it! Which just shows that even with stopping and looking at something, once back in the vehicle it can still be harder and trickier than first thought.

Regrouping we then took in one last longer drop with a twist which complicates the descent a little before heading back up to the car park where we could rejoin with the other group and hear their tales of woe!

Some pictures from the day