Crossways RTV Trial, Feb 11
This was the first trial of the year due to the previous one being cancelled. The weather wasn’t great but there was a good turnout of 16 drivers and a few spectators too.
My group started at the car park end, the first section was quite twisty with tight turns. Tim did exceptionally well and cleared the section, whilst Martin wasn’t so luck and hit a tree! The next section was less challenging with only the steep slope at the end beating a handful of drivers.
Number 3 was in a big pit and very slippery and slidy in the base. I didn’t think I was going to make the first turn but managed to find some grip at the last possible moment!
Section 4 was also very squelchy and several people hit trees (poor Bertie).
We then moved down to the quarry where conditions were gloopy and porridge like, just getting to the start of some of the sections was tough resulting in some drivers scoring 9’s!
Despite the soggy conditions, I think most people had a fun day, I certainly did and it was the first trial for a while where I didn’t need a tow home!
Somerley Open Driving Day, Nov 10
There are usually two stories to a trial, a tale of odds and one of evens. However I’m sure everyone’s day at Somerley was different. Mine started with a queue, a promising start as far as the clubs concerned, I suspect everyone’s punctuality was helped by the clocks going back an hour. I was soon signed on and went out for the first couple of laps. I was struggling for ground clearance, 205s and leaf springs were no match for the big holes that have appeared at the top of the slopes. As they say if you can’t beat them, join them and I hitched a ride in an 80 series Land Cruiser, diff locks and 900 tyres and everything was in reach again.
We headed straight for the mud in the centre of the site; it was carnage with cars stuck everywhere. We spent a bit of time spectating and then having learnt none of the lessons from everyone else piled in and got stuck. A quick bit of winch handy work and we were on our way again. We hung around to do a bit of rescue work making use of the hydraulic winch up front. Unfortunately it didn’t last long with the chain to the pump snapping. Normally not a big problem but the chain decided to exit through the radiator. Back to the car park to pick up the lightweight.
I headed to the wooded valley part of the site where I could take advantage of the lightweight’s small width and have a go at the barely used little routes through the trees. By about 3pm the site was starting to clear so I took advantage and got as many laps in as I could before closing time. Doing my best not to get stuck just before everyone wants to clear off.
Everyone I spoke to had a good time, and I’m sure with the variety of vehicles on show most people will have gained a bit of inspiration for what mods they’re going to carry out this winter. For me it’s going to be some better recovery points!
Mendips Challenge – Interclub Trial , Sept 10
Unfortunately there was a very poor entry this year from the Dorset Rovers, with only Robin and Ron having signed up before the event. Mike and I decided to go and support them anyway, as Mike forget to get his entry in, but on the day Mike managed to get a cancelled entry and with luck and just happened to get into the same group as Robin and Ron, making it really a club challenge between the three of them.
This was the first Mendips Ron had entered and I think he was surprised with the courses and how they were managed, the most confusing thing was, not only were there 12 gates but the red top was on a different side to our club trials. All three members were soon in their stride and getting some good scores, there were 12 course set out, with each group starting in a different location across the site. We stopped for lunch after 6 courses, giving Robin, Ron and Mike time to compare scores and notes before the final courses in the afternoon. The afternoon session took place at the bottom half of the site, the toughest areas, which were steep and slippery. Overall though, the whole site was surprisingly dry, this was a disappointment as in previous years there have been some good mud runs to do.
One course was cancelled as the marshals deemed it too dangerous to use, so all 11 courses were completed in good time with our group finishing around 4pm.
After a final comparison of scores we found out Ron had the lowest score out of the three of them for the day, well done Ron.
A good day was had by all three with promises of doing it again next year, hopefully we can persuade more club members to have a go next year. Thanks also to Tony Butterworth who came as a spectator. I think he was pleasantly surprised after speaking with the scrutineers who suggested that his truck would be able to compete, this was born out by the number of Disco’s sporting similar mods to his truck.
4×4 Mid Wales Green Laning Weekend, Aug 10
We all arrived at Llanerchindda Farm, which was to be our base for the weekend. The farm is situated halfway up the hillside with views across the valley to the Brecon Beacons, Bran Valley and beyond.
We awoke on Saturday morning to foggy skies and after having an excellent breakfast we set off. The first day’s green-laning saw us turn right out of the farm straight up a bloody great hill, (two arrows on the O.S. Map and on a cold engine too)! The route took us around the Brecon Beacons stopping for lunch on a hillside overlooking some absolutely beautiful scenery. This was a great start to the weekend’s driving as it wasn’t too tricky, although some of us needed occasional diff-lock to wriggle over the slate rock face on some of the tracks and lanes. Martin soon discovered that his Defender 130 not only had a very large turning circle but due to the additional rear springs that had been fitted,( to enable his camper to be fitted on the back), didn’t have good articulation either; but as those of us who know him well – this didn’t stop either him or Jan at all.
Sunday started off with low cloud and drizzle but the thought of Strata Florida didn’t dampen our spirits. This route seemed to go on forever, we were wading through water, clambering over rocks and driving through fords. The track eventually finished at Strata Florida Abbey, now a ruin, with a farm built right alongside of the same materials.
The route Martin took us on, was what can only be described as a Magical Tour through the Elan Valley starting at the top and ending at the bottom, the scenery consisted of beautiful blue skies, royal blue lakes and landscape with contrasting shades of green. In amongst all of this were small streams running down the valley and hillsides to the lakes. In-dispersed in this wonderful landscape were the Victorian dam structures and we eventually finished at the Lower Dam and yes another lane – this one we have kept for future reference!
This next lane turned out to be close to Rhayader and took us over yet more beautiful but rugged scenery and was apparently an old coach road, this route now contained some truly wicked washouts and drop-offs; even some teenage hikers marvelled at us as we bumped, grounded and crawled our way carefully down the track which eventually took us back to Rhayader and a fuel stop before we returned to Llanerchindda Farm. A fitting end to a truly fantastic two days of welsh green-laning.
A huge thank-you has to go to Martin and Jan for taking on the navigation, to my wife Nicky and all those who helped prepare the excellent evening meals, to Angela for her cakes and the Hadley Family at Llanerchindda Farm for their hospitality, knowledge of the area and excellent accommodation.
Great friendships were formed over the weekend and it was a great team effort. Here’s to 2011’s trip!!
Lady’s Day, July 10
Now here’s the question, would anyone want to come to another Ladies Day or indeed would the guys agree to loan us their time and trucks again……well, we didn’t crash any last year did we?! With not much effort at all I had 15 willing contenders, most of which appeared to be members of Jon’s posse! Amazingly I managed to persuade the core collective (Phil, Nigel, Mike W, Ron and Jon) to volunteer their trucks and patience (they weren’t kicking or screaming either). For fear of having too many ‘ladies’ standing about watching their mates have all the fun, I then needed to do some serious blagging – Mike, Rich, Les, Jim and Robin were all on my hit list.
So the day dawned, pulling the curtains open to gray sky and pouring rain, initially my heart sank but then I remembered – WE’RE OFFROADING, rain = mud = fun fun fun! Bring it on. Whilst making a flask of steaming hot coffee, I received a text from an intrepid groupy asking if Ladies day had been cancelled, my reply, dust down your waterproofs this is a perfectly beautiful day for what I’ve got planned.
Gradually more and more chirpy, smiling faces arrived at the check point where they were given a warm welcome and a brief introduction on the plan of attack for the day. I was glad to see some familiar faces but plenty of new ones too. I started pairing off each intrepid driver with their equally nervous passenger and off they went. Similar to last year, we had a long course allowing you to get to know your vehicle, a garage section to practise more delicate driving skills (Nigel, no comments please!!) and then the ‘mud zone’ which seemed to morph on completion of each lap, lastly we had a few sections laid out in a mock trial style.
Having thrown Matt around in my series IIA ‘Bertie’, drifted Casper the V8 round the steep bend and stolen Mike’s 90, I wondered what would lure me next….enter Martin in his series 1 as a guest appearance, to my delight he offered me a ride! It has to be said, this was my favourite, it was just so much fun and what a happy little truck it was.
As the day was drawing to a close, more and more beaming faces reported back to base, all reporting what fun they’d had, how much more confident they felt, some even pledged to purchase a landy very soon to continue their new found hobby. Another brilliant day, only made possible by all the wonderful volunteers and the eager drivers, thank you all so much.
I’ve already got a list going for the next event so if anyone would like to add themselves or their partners, you know where I am. Looking forward to seeing you at the next event.
N.B. Saturday 2nd July 2011 is the next Lady’s day, please contact Caroline Hart email@example.com if you’re interested.
Bransgore RTV Trial, Feb 10
We had 12 vehicles who attended the day, two of which were double driven, giving us a total of 14 drivers. This was a little disappointing as the number of drivers will affect our donation to charity.
A group went to the quarry first, this group had one light weight, three series leaf sprung, one defender and two Discoveries. Rescue winching was a problem on two sections where, due to the transition angle, it came to a complete standstill with the winch embedded in the ground.
One of the sections was more like driving through a cement mixer, the mud and gravel having the consistency of wet cement. After completing three sections a request for help came from the other group, they had started the sections on the bank. They started on the relative flat section but still had recovery problems. The second section was on the bank, the mud had claimed every vehicle on this section, the larger 110 had winch recovered a 90 and had then got stuck itself, and could not be freed. With two winches and a total of six anchor vehicles, we recovered the 110! It was decided to abandon the bank area until later in the day, so both groups went to the gravel area.
Caz and “Bertie” had to be received from the water, having failed a hill climb. This section was a long run through deep water, turning sharp right up and over a steep bank.
Overall it was a great site, and a good day was had by all concerned. The event was to also raise a contribution to a charity of Mr R Frampton’s choice, to this end a donation has been sent to Leukaemia Busters at Southampton Hospital.
Mannington RTV Trial, May 09
Our weekend started out on Saturday morning when we met up with Ron and Jon to travel up to Mannington for the setting up. As we turned off the road and on to the site our 90’s clutch went straight to the floor, a few choice words were said and we limped off into to the site to see if it could be fixed. Not entirely sure what the problem is but the 90 ended up going home on the back of a recovery lorry. Not the best start to the weekend. Whilst Phil waited for the AA man, me Ron and Jon met Tony and we cracked on with setting out 8 sections.
Total of 13 drivers, with one or two double drivers.
It turned out to be slightly dampened for a couple of people with the odd dent in the bodywork as one or two sections were a little tight in the wooded area. We must remember that when trees are near the sections they usually are a little tardy at jumping out of the way.
Ronnie Hogg and a few others were having so much fun in a mud hole they didn’t want to get out, actually they were well and truly stuck. More good times and another trial in June.
Portesham RTV Trial, April 09
Saturday afternoon, the site was dry, and remarkably grippy… we managed to get 8 sections pegged out, with two being reversible……Sunday morning saw me arrive on site nice and early, as Nigel couldn’t make it on the day, I was greeted by a smiley Tina, she was keen as it was only 8.45……
By 10am we had 13 vehicles on site, we then started at the first section, and can you believe I was distracted and very nearly went the wrong way, sometimes assisting with setting out doesn’t seem such a good idea……
Anyway, by lunchtime we had managed to do 5 sections, with no casualties, and no real problems as such, some found that their tyres were filling with grass and mud quicker than anticipated though…… after lunch we did the other 3 sections, and then reversed two of them, which then was all said and done.
Anyway, to summarise, everyone had an enjoyable day, the biggest issue all day was Mike Mears who managed to destroy a front propshaft on the way to the site, sadly he couldn’t compete, as 2 wheel drive at Portesham isn’t an option….. if you’ve seen the slopes, you’ll know why!!
Mannington RTV Trial, Feb 09
The return to this popular site proved more difficult than I remembered.
When we were setting up in the snow it was difficult to judge conditions. The thaw turned slopes into slipperyness & some sandy bits into quicksand! This meant the day overall was high scoring (sigh of relief from Martin!).
I was expecting more than the 16 that entered, not accounting for those with other commitments or broken landy’s. We split into 2 groups & drove 10 sections.
New member Dave showed the old hands how it was done, winning his second only trial! Tina, our new lady driver enjoyed the day. Hopefully she’ll give Jan a bit of competition for the Lady’s Trophy?
Axminster RTV Trial, Jan 09
The first outing of the year was always going to be a little on the muddy side. Only twelve adventurous souls ventured down to the Axminster site which even during good weather is always somewhat damp. The morning sections in the trees and bushes were not too bad, except that a couple of trees managed to vent their displeasure at being disturbed by inflicting slight damage to a couple of vehicles that were not fully awake.
Just after the lunch break a storm that had been threatening for a while emptied a couple of inches of hail over the site. Besides making it uncomfortable for us all it also made the ground somewhat slippy. More fun, more points!
A great day out and a good start to the year for defending champions Ron Hogg & Martin Dover. Also, new member Dave Lucas in his 90 captured the spirit and beat some of the older hands, well done.