4x4 Adventures Ltd Taunton, Somerset
Bampton Drive Round Day – 6th Mar 11
Words and pictures by James Trembath

We had our first 110 at Bampton today! We have had similar length vehicles around the course before but this was the first time a 110 had actually been around. Granted, Tony and Hazel couldn’t do all the sections with some of the tight turns but they did get around, albeit with a little help from a winch in deep ruts. They weren’t the only ones though! Steve and Sarah in their classic range rover also needed a little help now and then plus Ian and George Sloggett in their Discovery resorted to the winch on one of the bridge sections too.

For this, the penultimate customer DRD at Bampton for this season, we were joined by three new (to us) vehicles, the aforementioned Tony and Hazel in their nice re-engined tdi 110, Ian and George in their tdi Discovery with a 2” lift and T-Max winch, plus James and Martin in a very nice, well presented B reg 90 sporting a V8 and softop and topped with a nice cage. Steve Smith and Anthony Counsell were also rejoining us in their respective vehicles. Finally David and Edward Webber were along to give their new engine hardtop another run out with us.

We are extremely grateful to David for his help in getting the 110 down through deep ruts. The TDS certainly earned its keep in there. Mark Walford as codriver also had a very active roll helping to get both the 110 and the Discovery through the section.

We certainly had an eventful day. With the slower progress of the 110 the group was split into two to keep the majority moving leaving the 110 and Discovery together – both being pretty much evenly matched for the conditions.

The antics started on the river drive to first drop where a little assistance was required by some to climb the first hill from the river. Having cleared this they then faced the prospect of first drop. Having decided to do it or bypass, we were off to the first long drop. The 110 had a few issues with the climb upto the top in the deepish ruts but with a little more gusto and a higher gear it was soon clear of the section.

After the short road and byway section deep ruts was tackled as a group of two again. It was probably coming down through there that the 110 suffered a bush failure on one of the engine mounts, if not actual failure here it would have certainly weakened it prior to our drive over to Warrens Quarry. Meanwhile, Tim Jones had taken the majority of the group over to Warrens Hill to tackle some of the formidable climbs and descents it has to offer.

Warrens Quarry certainly finished off the 110 engine bush with the fan now beginning to touch the steering box! James and Martin had joined our group by now and were keen to show their V8 in its true glory. The Quarry is well suited to it with ample climbs to contend with, some of them deceptively misleading – particularly one as the TGV found out!!! Whilst tackling the climb the vehicle scrabbled on some tree roots which allowed the front of the vehicle to drop down putting the whole vehicle perpendicular to the hill. How a roll was avoided is not quite known but it was close and the trees were far enough away for it to be a great concern. With no front winch fitted the only option was some very slow careful manoeuvring followed by a reverse in gusto back off the hill. Lucky I think would be an understatement! With the group now pottering around the quarry a little more cautiously it was interesting to see George behind the wheel of the Discovery put their vehicle in almost the same predicament on a different hill! Luckily this time there was a tree to hold the vehicle upright and they had a front winch. Using the back of James’ V8 as an anchor point a potential issue was avoided. With two close incidents it was time to move on to middle wood.

Enroute the decision was made to drop off the 110 for collection later. At the same point Ian and George decided to cut and run not wishing to be too late home with a long drive ahead of them. This left Tony and Hazel to jump in the back of the V8 90 to head on down to middle wood. Passing through the first sections of bumps and dips the TGV was wallowing a little and didn’t seem quite right. Come the ‘big bomb hole’ and it soon became apparent why – the o/s/r shock bottom thread had snapped off and the shock was no longer attached! With the rear spring coming out on ‘the big bomb hole’ Davids TDs was called upon again to help relocated the spring in its top hanger. Luckily we had just managed to catch the first group as they cleared the bomb hole. It would appear they were not without misfortune either. Steve had a used a little too much wellie at one point and managed to knock the back of the vehicle in front of him (Anthony’s 90) which in turn knocked the back of Tims vehicle. The end result being one quite sad looking 90 from a cosmetic perspective.

With the shock on the TGV now removed and out of the way a gentle route was taken to extract it and the V8 90 and David’s vehicle from middle wood, leaving Tim to lead the remainder down to Steve Bumps and Dips. From here the TVG limped back to the yard with David and James re-join the main group to complete the final river drive.

On arrival back at the farm, the vehicles were checked over and cleaned as required whilst members chatted over the activities of the day. The 110 with no lift and 235.85s had performed credibly with clearance and break over angle being the only real issue necessitating the use of a winch at times. As expected the V8s had got hot and not liked the water! And the TGV needed a new shock. Steve and Anthony immediately booked up for the 20th Mar (the next available one) with Tony and James wishing to do some but they had already committed to the Wooden Spoon Challenge on Exmoor.

Some pictures from the day