4x4 Adventures Ltd Taunton, Somerset
J33P Challenge 2012
Words by Tony Willetts, Pictures courtesy of Russel Lowe, Phil Dodd, Nick Calcraft and Ivan Morley

It’s mid September and yet again the time of year for the J33P challenge at West Harptree. The event, which is jointly run by J33P and 4x4 Adventures, aims to be a fun, relaxed challenge event that welcomes all vehicles from standard on mud tyres ,to fully built competing challenge trucks and likewise both seasoned off roaders and relative beginners are welcome. This was clear to see when you looked around at the range of trucks there, from a willys cj all the way up to fully prepped trucks that recently participated in the “King of the Valleys” event at Walters arena Wales, split into 3 groups according to the spec of your vehicle so you are able to compete against similar trucks to your own.

The action started Saturday morning after a briefing and vehicle check, the days events included three special stages and thirty punches to find some quite well tucked away by James(4x4 Adventures) as he didn’t want to make it too easy for us.

The West Harptree site is a large gulley with slopes either side of it, for Saturdays challenge all the punches and special stages were set out on the side nearest camp. The punches were set in various areas of the site, all very different and requiring various different skills to get your vehicle in a close enough position to get the punch, some you could drive up to with a little thought and forethought, others required a winch to assist, whilst others some carefully placed waffles would help, all were achievable as a number of competitors proved.

Special stage 1 was open from 10 am. This was a trial section with 10 numbered gates that had to be passed through in numerical order without touching them, it was an event that required a bit of pace, memory to remember the route, some precise driving to navigate the gates and a huge smile as it was immense fun.

Special stage 2 sounded easy enough touch the tennis balls hanging from the tree in the order of the rainbow colours against the clock ... until the extra twist was added - whilst the driver is blindfolded and the co driver directs them from the passenger seat!!! A superb experience not only as competitors but for spectators as well; we had some interesting moments. (Note to self pointing doesn’t work when the driver can’t see!!!)

With the first days competing coming to an end all the vehicles came back in, punch cards were collected and the days scores could be totted up along with times and points for special stages. Then onto a BBQ smoking, food cooking, and a chat about the day whilst having a bite to eat, all wishing the sun away so special stage 3 could get underway. Yep it’s a night stage!!! Driving off road in the dark, (knew we shouldn’t have took the spots off) the course was set out to be driven from start to finish within the taped area, again against the clock. The route was walked by all drivers in the daylight, driving lines discussed between driver and co driver and all memorised. Then the night falls and the course looks like a martian planet; completely different, but that added to the enjoyment of what in my opinion brought the biggest smiles all day.

Sunday dawned and what a different day. It was tipping down with rain and that was going to make the site rather slippy. Not to worry we had another twenty punches to attempt on the other side of the site. Opposite side and some very different terrain; lots of slippery rocks and some steep climbs, amongst all this the punches placed by a man who must be an expert at hide and seek!!! Some of them took a while to find but yet again all were accessible by vehicles as some teams proved.

The rain was taking its toll on terrain and people as the final special stage opened, again a trials based course to be driven against the clock in any order and this time it was little muddier to add to the fun. With the days events drawing to an end the drivers began to return to camp to have cards checked and scores added up.

All in all a brilliant weekend, thanks to all who participated, the marshalls – Anthony and David and lastly the organisers J33P and 4x4 Adventures. Hopefully next year’s event will get better weather and more people participating both newcomers and experienced drivers ,a big thank you from all drivers and co drivers a top weekend!!!

Congratulations to Chris Stroud, overall and class 3 winner, Chris and his co-driver receiving free entry to our Seven Sisters Nov 2012 event along with J33P mugs. Ian (Sticky) Stokes for winning class 1 and Aaron Coulddrake for winning Class 2. Ian and Arron and thier co-drivers receiving J33P Mugs. Briefly, J33P run a class system that takes into accounts all vehicle mods, winches, tyre type, cages, lockers etc. Class 1 is almost a standard truck, class 2 in the middle and class 3 anything goes. Congratulations also to Kevin Pompfrey and Bill Turner, both receiving "Spirit of the Events" mugs. All prizes well deserved.

Big thanks to James Trembath and Mike Cuff for organising the event, Will and Kev for the BBQ and of course the marshals, Dave, Anthony and Tim.

Class results were as follows:

Class 1
1st Ian Stokes 74
2nd Nick Calcraft 38
3rd Bill Turner 43
4th Kevin Williams 42
5th Ivan Morley 27

Class 2
1st Aaron Couldrake 73
2nd Kevin Pomfrey 66
3rd Paul Radford 58

Class 3
1st Chris Stroud 83
2nd Paul Church 75
3rd Will Overton 73
4th Chris Rice 70
5th Phil Dodd 61

Overall results
1st Chris Stroud 83
2nd Paul Church 75
3rd Ian Stokes 74
4th Aaron Couldrake 73
5th Will Overton 73
6th Chris Rice 70
7th Kevin Pomfrey 66
8th Phil Dodd 61
9th Paul Radford 58
10th Bill Turner 43
11th Kevin Williams 42
12th Nick Calcraft 38
13th Ivan Morley 27

Some pictures from the event