4x4 Adventures Ltd Taunton, Somerset
Bampton Drive Round Weekend - 1st/2nd Jun 19
Words and Pictures by James Trembath

Attendess Pajero Roger Crocker, Scott, Sticky, richard, kev, kev Adam

Fantastic weather, a top camping site and a great group of people – we had all the ingredients for a superb off roading weekend. They all mixed in well and it turned out to be a terrific weekend.

We choose an isolated off road access only campsite to give the added authenticity of the event. Not quite the challenging route of Preistlands but tucked up out of the way in a well drained broad leaf mixed woodland. Plenty of space for tents, overlanders and trailer tents alike.

It was great to see Adam and son Dexter join us in their Arctic Truck specified Hilux. Dexter was a truly tired boy come the end of the weekend, only so much a seven year old can take on the excitement front it seems – camping and off roading, what more could a boy ask for – other than a yellow V8 jeep that is... .

Roger had a great drive around the various sections despite having lost a spring from the vehicle on the first route of the day. The light weight Mitisi certainly making some parts look easy. We took the same route back to camp and reacquainted ourselves with the spring which we duly refitted in return to camp. We added a new ‘custom’ limited strap on the back axle to help keep the spring in.

Scott proved he has a certain talent when it comes to driving. He would describe it as ‘Awesome’. Dexter had another term for it. Needless to say after watching the other vehicles cross over a ditch using waffles Scott announced he didn’t need them and could they be removed for his attempt. We obliged and he duly showed us how quickly he could break his front diff! Thank fully it wasn’t until Sat evening!

With a 1700hrs finish Saturday we headed back to camp to cook dinner and get the fire going. Those not drinking took up the option of a night drive at 2200hrs. For this we went back over two of the areas we had tackled first thing that day. Familiar ground is always nice on a night drive – things certainly look different! Richard bathed the way with light for us and showed us around Warrens Quarry – thankfully ignoring Scott’s advice from his passenger seat which seemed to revolve around ‘more power’. Warren Hill looked completely different, dark and cold in the deep pine forest, the ruts looking far deeper with the flat light compared to earlier that day. With a late finish and a 0900hrs briefing for Sunday most retired to bed on return.

Sunday brought a little rain to kick the day off but nothing to dampen spirits. The plan was to tackle some of the farm tracks as we made our way over to Bear Down. Once near the wood we left the longer wheel base Toyota at the entrance allowing Dexter and Adam to jump in as passengers with others. Ian Stokes had a great drive through the top rutted section, especially after it had been kindly graded by 300bhp from Kev’s jeep in front (that will be the yellow one that Dexter likes, a lot!). Roger was not so fortunate, an energetic throttle pedal and hard ground never does transmission that much good and something went ‘pop’ 60m into the section. We fitted Roger in another vehicle after extracting his vehicle to the side for recovery on our return immediately after completing the route. Possible a drive shaft or front diff. Thank you to Richard and Kev W for the recovery.

Kevin L brought up the tail end of the convoy and did his best to ensure his passenger, Adam, for this section didn’t get bored. Lots of mud inside and out of the vehicle was the order of the day it seems! Lots of practical experience gained!

We retired to the campsite, the Mitsi recovered and in 2wd, plus everyone else fully fit and happy less perhaps a little worried Richard with his fuel gauge making a dash for the floor! Maybe he had been listening to Scott too much and burning all that fuel!

Some pictures from the weekend