4x4 Adventures Ltd Taunton, Somerset
David Bowyers Off Road Course Drive Round – 5th Jan 13
Words by James Trembath, Pictures by David Bowyer

A few times a year we gather a like minded group of 4x4 enthusiasts and head across to the Goodwinch 4x4 Training Site. While it is not an out and out hardcore site (it was built specifically for driver training) it does have all the main elements in a nice compact site. There are plenty of bits to catch out the unwary; quite a few lost some forward momentum that day!

We were joined by Simon Rafferty from X-Eng in his 110 DC. The X-Flex kit is really impressive in helping to maintain a well balanced vehicle and therefore maintain momentum. Kevin Williams was keen to come along in his open top Willis, driving down from Barnstaple. It’s always good to see the little vehicle outperform the newer brands with its back to basics approach to getting through obstacles. Steve joined us with his Discovery 2. With no Difflock and relying solely on ETC it certainly had it’s work cut out for itself but the road tyres but performed credibly considering the ground conditions. Steve brought John along with him in his Discovery 3. The latter vehicle, although similarly shod, with its array of electronics and locking middle diff was a complete contrast the Discovery 2 taclking the course with ease – and comfort due to the air suspension!

Richard Watson joined us in his LR90, and finally Chris Watts made up the team in another – although this time auto tdi 90. Despite Chris’ suggestions Richard (the only vehicle with a snorkel) was still not too keen to try the deeper pools around the back of the course. Which considering how cold it was, this was no bad idea!

The wet ground conditions certainly made it interesting underfoot from the outset. With David Bowyer leading some of the ‘first timers’ off on a foray it was interesting to watch how even seasoned off drivers reacted to the conditions they were presented with!

We stopped for a short interlude of entertainment as we watched several vehicles attempt one of the longer rutted climbs. It was strange how the tricked up vehicles seemed to struggle more than some of the more standard vehicles, one of two of the latter making the climb, which is more than could be said for most!

The 45deg descent was also a good spectator sport. Not many opted to do it more than once and that’s of those who attempted it in the first place!

With the wading sections pushed to the limit and ETC working overtime for some, it was soon time to head off for a rewarding lunch at the Waie Inn and catch up on what everyone had been up to over the Christmas period!

Some pictures from the day