4x4 Adventures Ltd Taunton, Somerset
Bampton Drive Round Day – 4th Dec 11
Words by James Trembath

Our 2nd Bampton DRD didn’t start too well for some! Steve Gooding had his timings a little mixed up and was running about an hour behind everyone else! So leaving a vehicle behind to meet Steve when he eventually made it, we set off.

Joining us for the day were Jeroen and Ger in father’s red 90 station wagon, Mark Walford in his truck cab 300tdi auto (the last time the vehicle was with us it was running a 200tdi manual – and the gbox let go in Warm Up Woods!), Jim Walsh in a very tidy S11, Steve Gooding in his station wagon blue 90, and Kevin Luxton in his red 90 truck cab. Rob Phillips and Steve Purrington were also joining us in their red 90 hardtop and truck cab RRC respectively.

Warm Up Woods proved the ideal place to start and with the weather a little on the wet side it soon had people thinking before they leapt. By the time Steve had caught up and joined Warm Up Woods the main group were already on their way down to First Drop. Giving Steve an opportunity in Warm Up Woods for 15mins or so also meant the main group could get slightly ahead giving us a clear run straight on down and onto the short river drive leading upto First Drop! The U tube clip says it all really! Yes it is steep and no there is not alot of grip on it!

Unfortunately, Jim’s series was starting to struggle a little with his limited traction, he had taken the wise decision to bypass one of the longer drops. Steve had by now caught up with the main group and tagged along at the rear. Enroute to Deep Ruts Jims truck developed a misfire which he managed to clear after a little fiddling – most probably some muck pulled up from the tank with the rougher terrain splashing it about more than usual. By now Tim and the main group had left Jim and I behind a little but all was not lost. On arriving at the entrance to Deep Ruts we could see they were having a few ‘problems’ getting the vehicles onto the start of the track! A lot of rain the previous week and a recently sown field meant a very wet headland, rather than making too much mess the decision had been made to winch the vehicles in as soon as they started to struggle. It took a little more time than usual but was the best way forward. It was still interesting to arrive and see Steve P’s Range Rover parked sideways onto the entrance to the woods facing the wrong way! To be fair, with the advantage of being further back, some of the later vehicles drove the section without any problem – Mark Walford being one, where for once he found out how to push the throttle gently!

Jim was not too keen with the idea of Deep Ruts so we took him the longer way around on the tarmac to meet the rest of the group for lunch as they came out the end.

Post lunch we were over to Warrens Hill. To say it was wet in there was an understatement, the only tracks we could get up were the main access tracks. The lead vehicle found out the hard way, failing one climb three times before taking the access track to complete the first real climb. The drops were ‘interesting’ too (to say the least) . There was certainly the potential to gain some momentum on them! With everyone safely through, we headed up to the aptly named Wet Corner. With Tim’s hybrid not charging properly the lead vehicle took pole position to help winch out any unfortunates. As they left to take post a certain Steve Gooding was heard to say, ‘’Go on Walfy, I will be right behind you.’ What Steve neglected to add was right behind Walfy back in Sussex I think! Needless to say Walfy too the plunge and the corner certainly proved he had connected his snorkel up properly! Walfy did stop in there a while, which I guess was in an effort to clean the chassis out a little(?)! Bucket seats were found to be advantageous in this case as their mounting point was a good couple of inches higher than standard seats and hence the water level! Winch rope deployed and out he came. Steve Gooding meanwhile was nowhere to be seen!

With the evening beginning to draw in, (well it was starting to get dark anyway) it was time to head off to the axle twists and middle wood with its sunken river. Undoubtedly one of the best drives that you can have whilst pushing any vehicle to the limit without actually getting stuck! As the video clip shows, its certainly not one for the light hearted and tests more than they first anticipated!

With some nice photographs taken and everyone who wished to safely through we headed on down the sunken river to take us to the last river drive. With the cars doing this last section for the first time this season we were expecting a few obstacles but it was a nice clear run and a perfect way to finish the day.

Videos clips of the event...

First drop

Walfy Wet corner

Middle Wood