4x4 Adventures Ltd Taunton, Somerset
Bampton Drive Round Day – 25th February 18
Words and pictures by James Trembath

Having sold the 4x4Adventures Drive Round Day truck for this outing I was sat in with Tim Jones as he led us around for the day. With it being frozen underfoot after a dry week we took the opportunity to head over to Warrens Quarry, a first for this season, to start the day off. A small 8 acre or so site it has a wonderful selection of challenging bumps/drops/dips/mud splash and climbs to content with. Some of them too much for all to try and some of them pretty much on the limit of what you would want to drive down. After a good start things took a turn for the worse when Tony Dunstones front diff pinion shaft snapped whilst he was attempting one of the climbs. I can only assume something failed in the diff momentarily locking up the front end resulting in a snapped shaft – I have seen props twisted out but never a snapped pinion shaft on a Tdi! Unlucky Tony, what what anyone wants, let alone only 45mins into the day! If you recall two previous DRDs Tonys vehicle blew its gearbox on the way down to the DRD, so I suppose on the plus side he lasted longer this time!

Steve Hollis joined us, sat in with Paul in his Discovery, Paul asked me to comment that Steve looked like declining to drive some of the sections in the Quarry, something about them being too hard (for him!?)

Tim had a bit of a mishap on one of the climbs out of the back end of the quarry, leading and trying to find the best route doesn’t always go to plan when you are pushing the limits. Thankfully the remainder took the second proven route to get back out. It goes to show it can go wrong when in the spirit of adventure and happens at some point to us all.

Warrens Hill followed soon after the quarry and post extracting Tony – a big thank you to Paul, Scott, Ed for their help with this, (and others if I missed you). Sam hill proved as formidable as ever working for some and not for others, the steep rutted climb is hard work, especially with a hard frozen centre to the track.

With a keen wind cutting across the hills we took shelter in Middle Wood for a lunch stop. From there it was on to the bumps and dips and axle crosses that are renown to be particularly challenging. There is of course a bypass route for those wishing to go around. With the heavy rains and wet ground over the previous months the ground has changed a great deal leading up to the biggest hole, there are several other holes also forming, which give some great leans and lift the odd wheel here and there! Scott managed to take his vehicle to pretty much the limit, a little bit of butt squeezing at the time I am told!

Whilst Scott was entertaining us with his vehicle flex, Martyn led Paul on down the sunken river course. Very washed out with extreme leans it is hard going down the route. A rear locker is pretty much a must to get across the articulations, it’s a great challenge and you need a well prepared vehicle to tackle it, the risk of battle scars is also high! Martyn has completed a massive amount of work on his tdi Discovery converting it into a trayback using a defender rear bulkhead and truck cab. Its certainly a very smart looking vehicle and proved itself to be very capable throughout the day, a real credit to Martyn for getting it all right first ‘proper’ time out.

Aiming to tackle something different we headed across to ‘Tim’s lost route’ to take us back across the bottom of Middle wood and back up past Wet Corner. The climb out of the clay hole there is hard going, achievable in a standard vehicle but hard going none the less. Paul and Jake Radford ended up with a lovely clay sculpture after contacting the climb and scoping out the bank!

The aim was to then head across to Preistlands to finish with some harder, muddy tracks to test everyone and put proof to Steve Hollis’ constant ‘banter’ about him needing more aggressive tyres. However we had a reroute to work in some gates/wires to be closed (as the FB video shows – someone forgot to close it) which meant back down to Sunken river area, and then onto last ‘river’ drive. To find other site users had parked an excavator right across the gateway for our exit so it was up to Warm Up woods to finish on. We did however get to test the tyres on the mud as the rutted climb back up on to main ridgeline caught a few out, we did suggest giving each other some space!

Some pictures from the day