4x4 Adventures Ltd Taunton, Somerset
Wellington Drive Round Day – 31st Oct 10
Words by James Trembath, Pictures by James Trembath, Peter Bowater, Tim Jones

The penultimate DRD for the Wellington site this year and we were certainly well subscribed with eight vehicles although it did actually drop to seven starters. Kevin Luxton with daughter Amy had signed up for the day. Kevin, a regular with us, has attended all the Wellington DRDs this year and is always keen to get out and about. To give him some variation he was assigned to Tim Jones’ group along with Jason and Clive Davies in Jasons’ bobtailed Range Rover and Anthony Counsell and Christina who were going us for his first time. Anthony had recently purchased his 300tdi truck cab 90 and was keen to get out and use it for what it was designed for.

The second group to be led by myself consisted of James Wood and Niall Moore in their well prepared 90 hardtop with a nice RPI 4L V8 and auto box plus some trick diffs in each axle, Peter Bowater, accompanied by Tracey Woods in Peters nice standard length Range Rover with full external cage and a rear locker, Noddy (Ian Jenkins) in his Tdi 90 with a front LSD, the vehicle has been on the Wellington DRDs before but not with Ian driving. Ian had brought along Gareth Williams for the day to act as his, and also for many others, codriver. Lastly Kevin Williams was bringing up the rear of the convoy in his well prepared Jeep.

Well thats how the groups started anyway. With group one heading off to Widecombe moor they unfortunately picked up a puncture before they even got to the first section in Anthony’s vehicle! Meanwhile Kevin Williams’ engine was not running quite as it should do with a suspected cracked exhaust manifold he unfortunately didn’t make it long into the day before retiring his vehicle and jumping in the back of Peters Range Rover to stay with the group until lunch time. Taking in some of the easier routes on the Island we then headed down to the first mud run to let Niall and James loose. They certainly went at it with style but just couldn’t make the small ridge at the top of the climb. Noddy was soon on hand to help out rigging their winch for them and they were soon mobile again. After a few more climbs, also taking in some new tracks that had been recently used as SS on the series two day events disaster was to strike again. This time with Noddy loosing drive in the front axle a suspected CV. James and Niall soon had him extracted and towed back to the carpark where they started investigations. Meanwhile Peter drove the same section fantastically showing how the right line makes all the difference before rejoining the group in the main field for lunch. By now Niall had his oven going and seemed to have brought enough lunch for everyone! That included the second group who having completed Widecombe came up to the main field to join us.

Taking the opportune moment of a lunch break we also did a quick change front to back of Anthony’s wheels so his more road biased tyre was running on the rear axle to give him better steering capability. Thankfully Noddy and Peter had all the kit needed between them and the job was soon completed. Kevin Williams said goodbye at this stage and started what could be a long journey home. Noddy decided to stay put and strip down his front axle to remove the broken items so he could at least drive the vehicle home when we had all finished. This left one group of 3 and another of two.

Our group of two (Peter and Niall) then headed off down to Widecombe Moor. After tight corner - which the rangie just squeezed around, we decided to give the ‘moorland’ track run a miss, it was looking a little soggy in places and the rangie would of struggled with the first big hole. So bypassing it we headed on down to the bottom of the moor. One of the sections here has a nasty side slope on a corner through some deep ruts followed by a water traverse and then some ‘hidden’ tree roots to contend with. Niall drove his V8 with gusto superbly and cleared the section. The first vehicle to do so in a long time. So much so that no managed to get a picture of it happening it was so unexpected!

From there it was up to Sam’s pond, which as the pictures show has increased somewhat in depth, this was then followed by the mud run which was nicely demonstrated by James Wood with a good balance of V8 power. From here a few more tracks were taken in as we headed back up to the main field to regroup and see how the others had faired for their afternoons entertainment. Thank fully there were no more punctures but we did catch up with Jason Davies parked on a small bank as he tried to negotiate a sharp uphill turn on a section near the access track. He was soon extracted with help from Kevin Luxton and then as a whole group we moved back to the main field to find Noddy had ended up stripping both hubs to find the culprit CV, but it was all now back together and ready for the trip home. A Final few words, a spot of vehicle light and registration cleaning and everyone was soon off on their way.

Some pictures from the day