4x4 Adventures Ltd Taunton, Somerset
Wellington Drive Round Day Ė 5th June 11
Words by James Trembath, Pictures by Anthony Counsell

Our second Drive Round for Wellington this season and we were back to a full house. Jason and Clive Davies joined us in their new to them 3.9 auto Classic Range Rover. Jeroen Van De Hooft with his two children Ger and Amber in their std red 90 tdi CSW, Stephen White in another full bodied V8 Classic, James Gibbs and Gary Heale in a Suzuki SJ, Kevin Williams with nephew Tony in the 5L V8 CJ7 and finally Ben Procter in a 200tdi 90. Ben had recently purchased some new to him boggers and had asked for dispensation to be able to run them for the day. Having spent a great deal of time preparing and upgrading his truck he was keen to give it a good run out on the boggers to see how it faired.

The boggers didnít start well! It is certainly a different knack to driving with them and the leafy mulch of the Island didnít tend to show them at their best, initially at least! To be fair that could of been down to Ben not yet being used to the change in the gear ratios that they had made as it seemed he could of done with a gear between 1st and 2nd! As the day progressed though they certainly came into their own, particularly when we hit the moor with the deeper peaty tracks Ė and as their name suggests they were certainly in their element there.

Starting the day on the island gives a good chance for people to come to terms with the terrain and also get back into the swing of off roading. Again, with the island being so dry we could tackle some of the harder climbs and start to push the vehicles a little harder. Kevinís Williams V8 can certainly be heard as he uses some of that available power on the hills, the light weight truck and knobbly tyres soon make the sections look easy, and thatís on leaf springs too. The two Classics had a slightly harder time despite the V8s in them. Jason soon learned that his new truck didnít quite have the clearance he was used to; becoming hung up on some tree stumps on the first descent. The little SJ coped admirably well as would be expected. The engine has to be worked hard but with it being so light and nimble it is certainly quick between the trees. Where it wasnít quite so good was the side slopes. With its narrow track it certainly doesnít portray the same prowess when transiting them as the landrovers within the group.

With Ger jumping into a spare seat with Tim Jones who was running as tail end Charlie we then headed on down to the moor. First up being tight corner, a little juggling and shuffling and even the long Classics made it around. The corner remains a good test little test, it is tight between the trees and there is a horrible side slope brought into it where as a driver you cant see the bottom of the slope Ė all slightly un-nerving.

With a drop down onto the moor now looming, Timís vehicle was moved to the front and Jasons Classic (2nd vehicle in the group) had a tow rope attached to the front end. The longer wheelbase of the classic plus the smaller tyres and winch bumper on Jasonís truck meant the first hole was going to be a little tricky for them to negotiate in one without risking damage. The option was therefore taken to just ease the front of the truck in and then allow Tim to give him a gentle pull through. With Jason now having cleared out the loose muck from the hole the route was made slightly easier for the remaining vehicles. The SJ had to work quite hard as the narrow track worked against it this time Ė Not quite allowing it to sit in both ruts makes the going a little harder. But it made it none the less just loosing a light lens!

The drop on down through the moor to the first pond provided some entertainment. Ben took the much harder route through the side slopes and into the peat bomb holes, the boggers certainly did the job, Ben cleared the section with considerable ease where as both the CJ7 and Timís lead vehicle had had to winch out. Leaving here we cut up through some of the newer forestry clearance tracks before stopping for a late lunch.

Samís corner was our first post lunch port of call which was negotiated without issue for the majority. With a few drops in and out of the river we headed down to Scotts hole. The majority of the vehicles took the long route around using the easier slopes down through the river whilst Steve tackled the bigger drop. The longer wheel base of the classic certainly makes it look like easy work. Ben took the same route down but the 90 just didnít look quite as stable, mind you I think speed was playing a significant part at this point!

Heading back up through the moor we took some of the more technical routes down through a newly felled section before approaching Samís pond. As to be expected it was devoid of water but there is still a great deal of sludge and peat Ďmuchí in the bottom of it Ė much to the enjoyment of most!

Having missed one of the normal routes down where we cut away for lunch we decided to do this one in the opposite direction to normal. With a water splash to initially content with followed by further bomb holes and working against gravity it can be hard work in the dry and pretty much impassable in the wet. The lead vehicle cleared the first section but the Range Rover behind came into a little bit of trouble. Failing the little climb out of the water meant some shunting to get another run up which in turn meant a V8 sat in the water for a little bit. The viscous fan did its job distributing the water around the engine bay and it was soon a dead V8. A winch tow out of the hole onto flat ground and bonnet up didnít help that much. To save time and keep the route open Timís vehicle was called into play as a recovery truck and extracted Jasonís vehicle backwards and towed it back up to the car park field for them to start remedial work. Meanwhile the remainder of the group continued on up through the bomb holes with few problems before heading back to the Island.

With the afternoon moving on we just had time for a few of the harder tracks on the island. Heading across to the bump and dips we tackled some of the longer harder climbs including the Pylon drive which all vehicles made this time. Steve White did have a bit of an issue on the first climb though. A climb that he made last time too. This time though the line was slightly wrong coming out of the ruts a touch too early and he was off into the loose mulch and soon acquainting himself with a tree! Kevin Williams deployed his front winch to save both the tree and vehicle before damage occurred. The winch then stayed out as James in his SJ didnít quite have the oomph to make the climb, he was nearly there but just not quite making the end section. The bumps and dips proved harder work for the wider vehicles with the boggers whilst again the SJ made very light work of it. Making our way back across we then took the side slope options which certainly kept everyoneís attention. It still doesnít feel that nice across there! Having completed it without issue it was time to head on back to the car park field to have a quick clean up prior to heading home.

Some pictures from the day