4x4 Adventures Ltd Taunton, Somerset
Bampton Drive Round Day – 19th Feb 12
Words By Anthony Counsell, Pictures by Rob Phillips

Two more planned Bampton DRDs for the season and today was a full house + one! Having said that a last minute cancellation mean’t we were back to the normal six vehicles.

Tony Evens had a very straight and nice looking td5 Discovery, fully loaded up with the family, Nik, Ashton, Chelsea and Alanta. They certainly gave it their all over the course of the day proving the Discovery was just as capable as any other green oval vehicle. I am not sure Tony was too impressed with his choice of MT tyres though!!! Traction control certainly owned its keep. Anthony Counsell had brought along his vehicle – a heavily modified vehicles that he was keen to give a run out with having recently completed some work on it. A complete contrast to the standard td5 Discovery, but it just shows that there is something for any and everyone what ever you vehicle at Bampton. Kim and Heather Finkle joined us for their first outing with us in their LWB Landcruiser. The first Toyota to join us this season. A very capable machine it made light work of the rutted tracks where the Landrovers struggled but was not quite so nimble through the trees with its wider body work. Jeroen, Ger and Luke were along in Jeroen ‘s std 90, with its new MOT, all tested up and ready to go. Clive and Jay Davies were back –with some new to them BFG MTs now fitted to their Range Rover, it really did make all the difference, the extra height over the old tyres certainly helped in the ruts and the sharper mud pattern was certainly beneficial over the course. A little extra body work trimming was required on the day with a slight modification to the front bumper to avoid fouling the larger than std tyre son full bump and lock. Steve Purrington had joined us at the last minute in his auto 200tdi Range Rover, the vehicle (after a slight hiccup in warm up woods) ran superbly all day making some sections just look too easy!) Rob Philips was also along in his standard 90 which with some careful positioning and driving cleared a fair few sections alot easier than some of the other modified vehicles.

So off to warm up woods, where Steve had some initial running problems with his bobtail Range Rover. Whilst the others to became accustomed to the ever changing conditions at Bampton warm up woods soon took its first failed ascent of the day from Anthony, who failed to conquer one of the slippery slopes. Jeroen meanwhile was having a peaceful time after some amazing diplomacy skills, and palming his son off to Anthony. Tony was looking as he was having fun, with all the ladies smiling, and wonders of what was coming next. After a quick escorted drive around, everyone then enjoyed a quick free run in the woods. Soon it was time to head off to First Drop, where Jeroen and Rob would try their hand, as others opted that discretion was the better part of valour.

After First Drop, we left Anthony to try a route through the river, then the plan was for him to meet us at the bottom of First Long Drop. This didn’t go quite to plan, as Anthony got stuck on an embankment requiring a winch out from Steve, so he did a quick u turn, then headed up to us, where he was met by a very trying and determined Tony in his TD5 Discovery, and a eternally happy Jay and Clive, who were returning to base to amend the bumper of their range rover. As everyone descended down, we then rearranged the order and headed to deep ruts, the entrance of which seemed to cause trouble with Kim as his LWB vehicle slipped out of the ruts, a quick winch was required to pull him back off the field onto the track so he could continue without causing undo damage to the course. As we entered the deep ruts section an unfamiliar sight occurred.... Jeroen was stuck, usually a very good smooth driver we saw some Dutch passion as Jeroen had to winch himself to freedom! His smaller tyres certainly helped clear the centre of the ruts for the vehicles behind him though! Anthony declared it was Kama for Jeroen earlier and still subjecting him to Ger. As the other trucks entered the wood, it was down to the first bridge, where the traction control again would prove an issue for Tony, or so he says, but the heavier and longer Discovery2 was just catching that little bit more than the others, another quick winch and off we were again heading toward the field for lunch where Jay and Clive were waiting for us to arrive.

After lunch it was off to wet corner and the cross axle, as we passed wet corner we tried to coerce Anthony into going it a go, but he used Ger (being a non swimmer!) as an excuse. We took that as him bottling it and continued on, only to find out he had tried in it reverse, got his trainer wet and then bottled it, apparently Rob bared witness, but this is still yet to be substantiated! So off to the cross axle, where Kim in his land cruiser opted to take the less chance of damage route, which in his land cruiser, would definitely prove to be the more interesting route, with front and rear winching skills, that some challenge drivers would be impressed/jealous of as he soon managed to get on the correct path and head to the field awaiting our arrival. Our arrival was a little delayed due to the persistence of Tony in his TD5 who had the desire to never give up, after a failed winch, and a few loud words from one of his daughters, he then choose to retire his attempt, and head to the field with Kim. With Jeroen, Rob, Steve and Jay all going through the cross axle and bumps and dips faultlessly We arrived in the field, Anthony then took Ger through Steve’s bomb holes, as Ger had always wanted to do them, but what Ger didn’t realise was quite how dirty he was likely to get in the a vehicle lacking windows! The smile at the end said it all though, he had loved it.

All complete we headed to the river drive, which would be the last section of the day. This section as served as a quick rinse of the tyres, and resulted in a field full of smiling people, after a very successful and enjoyable day. As this is the penultimate drive around day at Bampton, we took the opportunity to reflect on the site, and the forever changing ground here and look forward to seeing what the site has to offer at the end of the year.

Some pictures from the day