4x4 Adventures Ltd Taunton, Somerset
Bampton Drive Round Day Ė 29th March 15
Words and pictures by James Trembath

With most of the regulars back again for a very wet and wintery Drive Round Day we thought we would try something a little different again. We were also joined by David Bowyer from Goodwinch who hadnít been out with us for the last 12mths or so. We therefore had quite a few new bits to show him and we also tackled things slightly different again to keep people on their toes.

With the wet weather and slippery ground conditions we started with Warm Up woods just to remind people quite how treacherous the ground can become after a touch of rain. From here we headed up the ridge line taking in the tracks around wet corner, not even Jay was keen to give Wet Corner itself a go after his last dunking on the previous DRD. Having said that now he has learnt what pushing the little lever over the left does he may be keener to try it again one day soon!

The route down to Middle Wood was unchanged with the great chambers and ruts to keep you oni course as you meander down to the axle twists. The first little water splash is now a slightly bigger water splash with a steep ft or so drop down into it. The axle twist itself has changed a little over the last few months and the initial lean in is very impressive. Wings can get close to the side though as the rear of the vehicle drops down into the hole, the obstacle remains something to be very wary of. Post the axle twist the rest of Middle wood remains just as challenging which ever route you decide to take. There is a large 2ft or so step down to the start of the Sunken River which Tim and Kevin drove without issue. But the 2ft drop must also be negotiated by those intending to bypass the sunken river if they have taken the previous divert to the right of the axle twist. The little Suzuki struggled a little with ground clearance, but thankfully Tony was on hand with a pulley block to help Mike through. If I were Mike I would blame it on the extra weight of Adam and Drew (well Mike can always try!)

We took an unusual route out of middle wood by tying it in with the loop around to Timís Ďlostí section. Well that was the intention although some of the vehicles made it look remarkable hard just getting out of the woods onto the track didnít they Keith and Jay! The first few cars, the lead vehicle included had to resort to the winch to get up the step after the slippery side slope descent which had brought us down to the river. Jay was the first to drive the section, a second time for him, whilst Keith running slightly earlier in the convoy this time had to winch (a first for him).

With the rain now pretty heavy we took the executive decision to head back to the yard for lunch undercover, during which it cleared out nicely (ish) for our afternoon foray. Using the lanes and byways we headed across to First River Drive where we came up the river against the current before tacking First Long Drop. A large beech tree had come down on the bypass route so Mike wisely took the advice of cutting into First Long Drop half way down whilst the rest of us headed up to the start. The rutted climb caught a few out and allowed David Bowyer to show off his nice Bow 3 powered deep drum winch Ė as we could all see it worked really well for self extraction!

First Long Drop was not the last time we were going to see David winching on the day. He decided to show us its over volting potential on the Priestlands route too where as you can see from the pictures he did get sort of stuck! To be fair the car in front had nipped ahead around the obstacle and David hadnít quite seen the line the car in front had taken (well thatís what he asked me to say!)

With time moving on we headed across to Warrenís Hill for the last section of the day. We took the decision to come down Samís Hill to help iron out some of the rut centre and help fill in some of dug out holes from previous attempts to climb the hill. We made up for it by climbing back up the longest climb in the top section of the Hill. Tony was keen to show us the power and capability of his vehicle on the climb having had to winch up the last bit on his previous attempt at the climb. Well we can confirm that his winch is still working wonderfully!

Some pictures from the day