4x4 Adventures Ltd Taunton, Somerset
Wellington Drive Round Day – 13th Nov 11
Words by James Trembath, Pictures by Tom Lamb

The last Wellington DRD of the season and what a turn out, 12 vehicles booked in for the day meant 2 groups. Tim Jones put his Simex on for the day to lead around the ‘special group’ (that is to say the group who all had big tyres/Insas or Simex and wanted to do something a little more challenging than normal). Tim’s group consisted of Nial Moore and James Woods, Noddy, Neil Wilkinson, James England and his merry followers including father! If only James could take a leaf out of Dad’s book and prep his vehicles to the same std!!! I understand they had an interesting day. James parked his up for a while in a big hole I believe and Neil was called on to put his Red Hydraulic winches to use to save the day. We only saw them briefly in passing and they certainly looked muddy with alot of smiles all round.

The other group consisted of Tom Lamb sitting in my the lead vehicle, Tom covers our challenge events as our official photographer and was keen to come along and see what the DRD involved. We also had Jay and Clive in their Range Rover, which after a small overheating issue at the beginning ran well for the day (well it ran the best it ever has on a DRD). Sam Garnsworthy joined us in Steve Hardcastle’s old well prepared Def 90. He was joined by Richard Ogilvy in Richard’s Susuki and finally James Wickenden in his well prepared 300tdi red hardtop 90. David Webber and Mark Walford brought up the rear playing Range Rover recovery vehicle for the day.

First thoughts that came to mind as we set off were – wow, it really is slippery! The Island was slick underfoot to say the least. So much so that we bypassed quite a few of the climbs on the grounds that they were just not going to be achievable for the majority of the vehicles in the group. This gave us a good opportunity to tackle more descents though. These combined with a few side slopes soon had everyone concentrating on the task in hand. With a couple of the easier sections under our belts some of the trickier descents were called on before heading off to the first winching ‘option’ Richard and Sam changed their mind, well their codrivers did when they saw it was reasonably deep! So it was back around to the main track to see how the overheating range rover was getting on – still no sign so off down to the Moor.

Sticking with tradition we took on tight corner first which was certainly an eye opener. Wet ground and wet tree roots making it all that little bit harder. James had a good line through the corner although the rack on top combined with his cage did make things feel a little ‘uneasy!’ On taking the main track out of tight corner (and bypassing Luxton’s hole!) the lead vehicle popped a tyre off the rim, how, we are not sure as it had a good road pressure in it but off it came none the less. To make matter worse the wheel wrench was in another vehicle so one had to be borrowed! (thank you Sam) and thank you Sam again for the use of your winch to aid the change.

Heading on down into the moor we then decided to take some of the options on Nials tracks! The deep rutted section down by the ponds. Richard’s light weight Suzuki made easy (ish) work of the first section, he struggled a little with lack of clearance, but was soon through after negotiating a hold up on the last corner and some tree roots. Sam was next in line (with James taking the bypass). Things were going well until again the same root caught him out, winches were deployed (again) but it wasn’t going to happen easily. The front near side tyre had dug itself in under the bank and around the tree route. The answer; to use James’s winch to lift the vehicle out of its hole on the nearside whilst using David’s’ winch to pull the vehicle forward and out. Some suspect wiring had left Sam’s winch a little warm and very unhappy.

Having extracted Sam it was down through the meandering routes to a water splash before meeting up with Clive and Jay for lunch. With Sam’s pond begging we were soon off again taking in some of the river drops and climbs enroute. The V8 Rangie had a bit of a starting moment again after Sam’s pond which was just as well as James had become a little hung up on some stumps on the route down. By the time they had each sorted them selves out everyone was ready to move on. So move on we did – to the Quarry!

Starting in the top section we took on some of the trickier climbs, very short but reasonably technical. Jay did a nice 3 wheel park at the top of the first climb misjudging how narrow the top track was, the lead vehicle then parked its self on top of some bricks when the diff became hung up on a section of wall. Both needed a winch back to get themselves out their predicaments. Richard was then the only brave(?) one to follow the lead vehicle back down a tricky little descent over the bricks with a tight right hand turn that had to be made correctly to avoid the trees. Meanwhile the others watched on, well until the last drop of the top sections which no one elected to do themselves!

Heading off from here down to the bottom quarry we did a couple of nice longer and steeper drops into the pit of the quarry where people were then left to ‘fend’ for themselves for 20mins or so. Richard managed to plant his nose in a little hole whilst we found James a few humps to try and show off some articulation. It was very slippery in there and certainly hard going – as Richard found out! With discretion being the better part of valour and with time upon we were soon heading back up to the meeting point. A quick wipe down of number plates and lights whilst reflecting on the day made a good final end to our last Wellington DRD for the season.

Some pictures from the day