4x4 Adventures Ltd Taunton, Somerset
Bampton Drive Round Day – 17th November 13
Words and Pictures by James Trembath

Our first Bampton DRD of the season, certainly a change of scene down there from our Wellington Days! The tracks all have their own little take on how they think we will get on with plenty of changes to them since last Autumn to keep us all on our toes.

Joining us today we had Jeroen in his red tdi 90, Bill and John in Shogun (after their P38 decided it didn’t want to make the whole journey), Matt Mills in his blue trayback, Keith Dare in his black 90, Martyn & Simon in Discoverys.

Staying with tradition we started the day at Warm Up woods where everyone could get a feel of the ground and the conditions without pushing it too far! The site was surprisingly dry for this time of year, even the water holes didn’t have a great deal in them. They still worked their magic though with Jeroen having a gentle pause and a few shunts in one of them! Simon and Martyn in their similar Discoverys were soon off exploring the climbs and drops whilst Keith managed to lose the group quite early on by missing a turning.

We then headed off to Warrens Hill via the Byways and interlocking tracks. The tracks there have stabilised nicely after the felling from last year so the going was good as we made our way across to Sam’s Hill. As ever it caught out one or two, to be fair we did limit it to a max of three attempts. Those with lockers were certainly smiling at the end of it anyway! The Little Shogun struggled a bit with ground clearance and Bill took the option of the bypass after the first attempt, a good decision.

Warrens Quarry was soon looming with plenty in there to keep everyone on their toes. The field exit was a little slippery and made a few work hard to get back out, Bill and Jeroen of note, in fact its one of the few times we have seen Jeroen have to deploy his winch for self extraction. Keith had a little prang coming to in the Quarry when he misjudged the entrance width on one of the descents, thank fully there was little damage other than pride and he was soon on his way again.

Going slightly out of sync it was then a short jaunt on tarmac down to First Drop and First Long Drop river entrance, an obstacle where the lead vehicle failed to exit without a little winch assist! He wasn't the only one but credit to the others for driving up and out, working lockers were again a useful addition here.

First Drop itself was actually quite tame for this time of year with a nice soft landing into the silt built up on the waters edge. The Discoverys and Shogun took the bypass which is no bad idea for lower vehicles and the longer wheelbased Discoverys. It can catch you out on departure angle, not to mention approach.

First Long Drop was in itself uneventful but it has some nice ‘tasty’ little sections in it, especially where it crosses the main access track a third of the way down – the angles are certainly pushed to the limit! Of more concern was actually getting upto First Long Drop. The rutted track has worn between the tree roots making for some testing driving using a combination of bottle, momentum and not too much right foot!

We now picked up some further farm tracks to take us across to the infamous Wet Corner. Since last season Richard has had a digger in there clearing out the clay ruts on the corner, it is a little deeper now but still around the top of the headlights so nothing too serious... Slightly disappointing though with only the lead vehicle and Jeroen taking the plunge, both passed through unscathed without stopping or getting hung up, certainly a nice feature for the camera as the U tube clips shows with Jeroen wading through.

A Bampton Drive Round wouldn’t be the same if we didn’t have Middle Wood with its axles twists and the Sunken river. Two cracking features of the day, both designed to test the nerve of occupants and the vehicle capability!!! A few gave them a go, some bypassed, as ever they will always be there for the next one!!!

Some pictures from the day