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Off Road Day at Venture 4x4, Wisbech - 22 May 2005

[Click on the photos to view larger versions.]

I thought people might like to know how it all went on Sunday at Venture 4x4 in Three Holes, Wisbech.

The previous day it had rained cats and dogs. Dolphins were reported swimming down Ely High Street, it was that bad. We could have predicted that the course was going to be a little sticky. Most people arrived soon after 10 am and were soon slipping and sliding around the muddy tracks. Tyres proved useless, even the big knobbly ones. Sideways movement seemed the order of the day and after a few minutes everyone was being extracted from one hole or another.

Muddy wheel

I arrived slightly later, as usual, and stood talking to Richard, the owner. We listened to the birds, enjoyed the sunshine and discussed landrovers, classic vehicles and whether he was planning to do the Bonfire Night Drive again. It was all so strangely quiet. Somewhere on the course was, supposedly, six other land rovers roaring around cutting a swathe through the mud. Total silence?

Series 2 wading

I ventured in, to discover a major recovery operation taking place, as a couple of vehicles towed a bright orange beastie out of a very deeply rutted bomb hole. For the next hour or so this type of operation took place on a regular basis as the mud claimed victim after victim.

Recovery operation

Finally, the sun began to have an effect on the surface and things began to dry out allowing people to explore the course more fully. However, this led to people becoming far too confident and they began to look for more challenging routes. Inevitably this led to people getting stuck and slight damage to some vehicles.

John and a ditch

John, in his truckcab 90, was obviously keen to explore his limits. After lunch he decided that a new pond recently dug by a JCB was worth exploring. He ventured in, trying it from different angles and routes - but not straight through the middle. Then he talked Claire into trying it in my Series 2. Sitting in deep water, water being thrown around by the fan, Claire was coaxed into clambering into the back and chucking us the rope. We got her out and she proceeded to drive straight back in again from a different angle. Same result. The comment "I bet you can't do any better Dad" was thrown at me and I proceeded to cross. Exiting too quickly I felt both front wheels leave the ground as the Series took off! John seemed most disappointed that he'd missed such a photo opp and asked if I'd do it again. I declined! I then drove in and got stuck again. Time to move on!

Claire entering pond

I then became a passenger with Dave B, as my Series was kidnapped by the younger generation in my family. It was interesting to see how V8 power can make the whole experience of tackling steep slopes and muddy holes so laid back and even relaxing.

Towards the end of the day people began to wander off home. With only three of us going round we began to ease off and look forward to heading off home for tea. Then the walkie talkie crackled into life - someone was stuck! John had decided to explore one final deep ditch and was firmly embedded, at a steep angle, with his front end buried in a sandy wall. Two vehicles were attached - Not an inch of movement! A winch was attached - the wire just buried itself deep in to edge of the bank! Dragging the rear end sideways meant a straighter pull but we needed more pulling power. We sent runner off to get help - they fortunately found Simeon cleaning his vehicle still. More winching more pulling - no joy! John was getting a little concerned now.

John embedded

A little more discussion. digging and jacking and then we finally attached three landrovers to the front of the stricken 90 with very short ropes to get the maximum pull. It was coming out: even if it was going to be the whole front end!!.

Triple tow

Fortunately, it moved and John was very relieved to be out exploring slight damage to the front wing and bumper.

John extracted

People were taking pics and it would be nice if we could have some to support this report of the days events. As usual it was a fun, challenging day. Thanks everyone for turning up - Great team work displayed all day.

Dave

Photos by Roger, Simeon and Dave B