4x4 Adventures Ltd Taunton, Somerset
Wellington Drive Round Day – 10th June 18
Words and pictures by Mike Cuff, Video by James Trembath

June 10th was a day of firsts, the first Wellington DRD of the year, the first time James (apparently) has been offroading in a Jeep and the first time that Bosco (aka “Bozzee” aka the “Boss”) my Dalmatian has gone offroading. Arriving at the usual start point about 10 minutes before kick-off, I found James by himself doing paperwork, another first, I wasn’t the last to arrive! And I already had an excuse for being late, filling up at the petrol station I lost my keys, little “substitute word of choice” dropped down the side of the seat when I was stashing sandwiches and were not exactly easy to retrieve. Home made pack lunch next time!

Back to the DRD, soon after my arrival, my compatriots for the day turned up: Tony/Beki and Toby Dunstone in a Black 90, Paul and Jack Radford in a Blue hardtop TD5 90 and Russell Lemon in Series truck cab – all familiar faces. After the usual intro’s, both people and dog, James briefed us on what to expect/safety aspects of the day, before jumping into my Jeep (and then settling into the leather seat/fiddling with the aircon) and taking us over to the Moor.

Arriving at the Moor, an odd name I think for a wood area, we started to explore some of the tracks that had been cleared a few weeks before, the tracks intertwining through trees, some completely dry, some very wet and boggy, some requiring finesse to avoid removing wing mirrors. What surprised us both was how much “mother nature” had done to reclaim the tracks in the few weeks since the Wellington clearing party. I have to admit I like doing these tracks, although my Cherokee XJ looks big (its wheel base is 100”), it’s quite at home in the trees, it has a couple of advantages, it has a very impressive turning circle (says James), it is at least a foot lower in height than Landies and hence does not tend to tip.

Whilst doing the tracks, we came across a logging trailer, which James thought might mean we’d be in for some surprises, but none arose, although it was not a good omen for Russell! James had warned us that one of the tracks had a felled tree across it, we all made it over the tree, but unfortunately Russell’s Series did not do so unscathed, due to the noise it was making, the general “Landie Owners consensus” was that the front diff had gone, something James thought was odd because the Series is pretty much stock and James didn’t think the engine had enough HP to blow a diff. And as usual James was proved right, after some crawling around, the Transfer Case bash plate was found to have been pushed up causing it to “rub” on the end of the front prop, this meant that Russell was relegated to 2WD for a lot of the day to avoid doing further damage. Russell only using 4WD when things got really gnarly – this meant he got recovered quite a few times – but hey, it all adds to the day allowing folks to break out the recovery gear - and for me to let Bozzee have an explore – I got home with a dirty Jeep and a dirty dog, but a very happy and tired one!

Not wanting to bore you, moving on we spent the rest of the morning exploring the Moor, both old and new tracks, all made just that bit more interesting by the vegetation doing its best to obscure things! No more breakages, but unfortunately Paul did bend his new steering guard, every so often he had to stop and winch it straight otherwise he couldn’t turn left!!!

Stopping for lunch in a lovely open space, allowing us to make the best of the glorious sun, the adults had a leisurely lunch and chat while the kids (this is what makes DRD great days out for families) went off to have a play and Bozzee did his best to “sidle” up to James’s lunch box – without success – better luck next time!

After lunch we tried out some newly created tracks close to a pond, a series of drops and climbs, driving on what I can only describe as the output of a giant chipper, lots of grip but extremely soft if you strayed a bit to close to the water. Exiting these tracks, James got me stuck, in a nice little mud hole with some tree routes to climb at the end. Time to get the trusted TDS “workhorse” working. Clearing the hole, we started to make our way off the Moor to the Island, occasionally stopping for Paul to straighten his steering guard, lots of stumps about due to recent tree felling.

On the Island, James took us on a guide tour, taking some new tracks, some that had not been used for many years and some old favourites. As on the Moor, vegetation had grown up. No more breakages, however James did get me stuck again, and turned the Jeep very brown, taking us down a mud run where I got “well” stuck, my excuse being that my front diff in on the opposite site to a Landie so I ended up pushing loads (and I mean loads) of mud. Tony followed me through, whilst Paul and Russell opted (wisely) to take the bypass. Doing a few more tracks, we arrived back at the starting point, at which point Tony decided to head home due to overheating issues. This just left myself, Paul and Russell to do a few more tracks before we also called it time.

All-in-all a great day out, not a huge number of miles travelled, but a fun time with a like mind bunch of people. I’ve said this before, and I will say it again, DRDs are fun and pretty unique, they are a brilliant opportunity to go offroading. A statement backed up by nearly 15+ years of running J33P Offroad events. Myself and Bozzee are really looking forward to the next one, his behaviour was exemplary, his sausage tip bits were well disserved.

A video of the day

Some pictures from the day