Some of our members are now fully trained to help deploy the high volume water pumps that will help keep Aylesbury’s “Willows” area above water in future flood events.
Some of our members are now fully trained to help deploy the high volume water pumps that will help keep Aylesbury’s “Willows” area above water in future flood events.
BORG and AFLC RTV at Brickhill 5th March
Brickhill is a great RTV site. There is a variety of different types of terrain and ground surfaces to include in the courses.
The weather was not great – not a total down poor of rain but enough first thing in the morning to make the surface damp. Soil just stuck to the tyres, even those with serious mud treads struggled.
Four courses were laid out.
The first down an open area slope with a few dead leaves on top of dead grass and soil. Put on the brakes and lock all four wheels and just slide on down missing the gates. This was amazing to see as the slope is not that steep; something on a dry day perhaps a regular car would drive up OK. If you didn’t lock the wheels and kept the engine braking to allow you to steer into the gates and through the trees, a turn at the bottom up through another pair of tree. Again, it is thinking in advance on this. You need speed where you lack traction and this ground was giving anything away. Big turn at the bottom of the slope and a sprint up the hill to get to the top for the half way marker. Those hoping to accelerate whilst going up the hill – didn’t get to the top!
Most people lost momentum in the hole and couldn’t make the final gates.
The second was down a similar slope as the first but forcing you to cut right past the first tree before hitting the next. A deep hole at the tree actually helped twist the car around. Some people got creative, taking large loops out away and back – all still within the rules so long as you don’t cross any existing tracks you make. This helped some but not others.
Crossing ruts through the gates was not for the faint hearted.
The third was near the entrance, a few well established trees with undulating sandy ground. Turning tight around a tree and getting caught – with mud tyres, rapidly just digging in – producing a pile of sand soil behind each tyre.
This was a thinking game – you needed to plan you route as the final gates played on the ability to get a front hub through the gate since there was no room for the whole car.
The last was in the open grassy area with the water – although we were intending to avoid the water.
Loop around a tree and the slope meant you slide sideways more than you make progress in a forward direction.
A really good day and the weather was fairly kind during the event.
The rest of the people taking part scored points ranging from 26 to 35.
Thoroughly enjoyed by all, both the people taking part and the spectators who were similar in number.
Our RTVs are run under the auspices of the MSA. The MSA publish the rules we operate under, and also insure us during the event.
We apply to the MSA for a permit for each RTV. All sorts of motor sports events are run on similar permits, which the MSA have been issuing since 2000. In 17 years they have now passed the 100,000 mark! The 100,000th such event was an Autotest run by Bridgend Auto Club in October last year.
Please remember we get a club discount at Thunderpole. Thunderpole are also very knowledgeable and helpful on all things CB (also PMR and other radio clobber!) The discount will remain in place and maybe even get bigger if people actually use it. SO please consider buying your CB kit from Thunderpole and when you do, remember to tell them you’re a member of BORG4x4
Well here we are, on our annual BORG Christmas run, granted it is 0600 at Tesco’s car park in Bicester, but there is no denying, I’m really excited about the next three days. I know I’m not alone, the little cluster of BORG members are all full of chat and expectation about weather, routes, cars, preparation and well, put another way ‘come on let’s get going’.
Seven cars gathered in convoy, with James, Becky, Ellie, Olly, Paul, Bev, Simon, Roger, Andy, Matt, Julie and me and Devon here we come. the journey actually went by really quickly, initially cold and foggy, but by the time we took our breakfast stop, the sun was shining and it was warming up nicely. Here we’re joined by Jonathan, so now eight cars head off to the first lane. Of course we divide the group in to two, so four in each. The first group Matt & Julie, Andy, Jonathan and myself and the second group James, Becky, Ellie, Olly, Paul, Bev, Simon and Roger.
Sun still with us the conditions couldn’t have been better, the lanes were every bit as entertaining as I recall from the reconnaissance trip earlier in the year, and the extras added in the finally planning were excellent. The trip was already a brilliant success by the time we reached the Travelodge, which turned out to be a great choice with nice coffee shop and nearby pub with good food and a warm welcome.
Day two began with frost and sunshine, the latter staying with us most of the day, so after a hearty breakfast, we headed out in the same groups. The route today was a seriously long route with loads of lanes, it is fair to say there was something for everyone, slippy climbs, axle twisters, narrow and even narrower lanes.
We also had proper river crossings and tidal fords, open moors and muddy ruts and a stop for cider.
The river in question was none other than the Tamar, so deep and a current to deal with, not to mention my TD5’s occasional resistance to getting a little damp, but all went well and over we waded and lunch in the woods.
Later we would toy with another river and complete an interesting and particularly beautiful ford at Lopwell dam. We did miss closing time at Fingles Bridge after an interesting descent and a seriously narrow bridge, so consoled ourselves with more lovely lanes, as we moved through dusk into darkness and then returning to Widdon Down and the Post Inn for dinner.
Day three, our last day and the need to head east, but not before some more fantastic lanes. The weather was once again brilliant sunshine, clear cloudless sky’s, crisp frost and when crossing the high ground between valleys, low lying wispy clouds that gave some beautiful and spectacular views across Devon.
These lanes had not been driven by BORG before and the route picked out by Jonathan turned out to have some lovely lanes, again a range of conditions to deal with, tests of traction, judgment and width. Both groups met up at Collumpton services before beginning the real homeward bound journey.
We did have a fantastic trip, the weather was a big help but mostly this was the best of laning in Devon, interesting, varied, challenging and above all none damaging, driver induced errors except-ed.
Having two small groups allowed us to cover the ground easily but not ever feeling rushed, so this felt like a proper holiday trip. The good news is that we barely touched the Cornish element of the researched lanes, so a excellent reason to return in the near future, and we will, so watch this space.
[Thanks Paul, for providing the laning report and photos.]
I was going to go with Pat Booth but his Range Rover was still in for repairs to the door pillar so I accompanied Andy. Roger Taylor was going to ride with Andy as his 90 sprung an oil leak from the oil pressure switch but James had arranged to fix it that Saturday so he couldn’t come.
The first few lanes were easy on the vehicles & drivers as they were mostly farm tracks across flat fields heading towards Stow on the Wold.
The scenery was amazing although it was a bit misty until just before midday. We found a beautiful spot for lunch & the sun shone although Joe & Paul did not bring any lunch, Mark kindly donated some of his.
From Stow we headed towards Stroud passing Broadway tower on the way. Here the lanes got more interesting with adventures through Fords & along river beds. Nothing too challenging underfoot slightly rocky.
We did drive across a large field with a muddy incline & had to clear some remains of tree which was blocking the route when Andy did a recky. Mark somehow ended up with some on his roof.
Andy only needed 4 wheel drive on the steeper parts. The last lane of the day was done at dusk & was reasonably challenging as it was up hill and there was a fallen tree across causing a bridge effect to drive under.
Again Mark used his roof to good effect almost getting himself wedged under it, but with a bit of determination forced his way though. From here we all set off on our separate ways home. A good day was had by all.
A big thank you to Andy Collins for reckying before hand and then leading us on a great days laning.
Photos and write-up provided by Keith Lister.
Health and Safety, Rules and regulations, means that when there is a flood, there is a limit to what we can do when we go out on a response call.
Buckinghamshire Council sponsored a small team of ten of us to go on some cold water training, selecting those likely to support their region in a flood situation.
Training took place at Lee Valley White Water Centre, just North of the M25. (credit to Google Maps for this image) This is a purpose build facility used for entertainment but also for those engaging in water sports to Olympic standards. We saw some outstanding kayaking early in the morning.
Fireman and other government services are training in various skills relating to water at this site.
Certainly, an honour to be included on this course. The trainer/instructor, Richard Jenkins of Spartan Rescue, is very highly experienced in cold water rescue. The aim of this course is to understand the basics of self-rescue and the effect of cold water.
The morning was class room session, theory on rescue but also why people drown. A lot of emphasis on not rushing in and making a bad situation worse. How to think of the risks and put measures in place for when any recovery attempt goes wrong. Flowing water has a force which can be fun but not when you are fighting against it. The effect of cold on the body and how so many people underestimate just how quickly the body starts to shut down and stop functioning in cold water.
We also got to assemble our own life jacket, comprising the jacket, CO2 bottle and dissolvable salt trigger.
The afternoon session was a practical. We put on an all in one fleece and dry suit. The suites kept most of us dry but some were not so lucky. The idea was to set off the life jacket as soon as we got in the water – which we all did and they worked OK.
Interesting experiences, buoyancy making walking difficult, no swimming with a jacket so floating on your back with only butterfly strokes possible and limited at that.
First it was to experience floating in flowing water and making your own way to the side, or missing and floating out into the lake to be rescued by rope.
Next was going out into more aggressive water, rapidly flowing through a restriction in the width, like a mini water fall. Yes I took in water that felt like I breathed a pint but was possible only a cupful. We discussed aspiration of water, breathing it in. Trying not to cough worked well and I maintained floating down the flowing water just fine. It was an odd experience and desire to cough quickly passed. I think coughing would have arched my back and I’d have lost the ability to float. Certainly, no chance to stand up and cough. The water was about 1.5m deep and flowing at jogging pace. They have some seriously good pumps to get that volume flowing.
Next was rescuing others with a throw rope. I was very poor at this. I couldn’t believe how rubbish I was as throwing a rope. I’ve since purchased one and practiced. It is fairly easy but there is a technique to getting a good distance and direction to the throw.
I discovered a whole new meaning to trust. When floating in flowing water, visibility of the side is almost impossible so you trust people calling instructions to you. I guess we faired quite well since we adopt a banksman in winch recovery and all fall into a fairly well organised team rather than a free for all and everyone having an opinion. However, wrong instructions or too much effort from me and I got caught in an upstream current that pulled me out form the edge and round for another go.
Actually, this meant I was fortunate enough to experience floating on by whilst a rope was thrown for me. It was within inches of my hand but it might just have not been there at all. Another rope landed closer and I managed to get a hold only to be told to let go since I was approaching the next water fall/restriction in the river. So I floated out towards the lake and another rope recovery to drag me in.
Final session was how to walk across a river in spear head formation as a team all holding on tight to one another’s harnesses. We walked out into the full force of the river just downstream of the restriction. We did exceedingly well. Working a team and our generally better than average body mass appeared to help. Lighter people did not fare so well.
All in all, a great appreciation for water.
A small bunch of Land Rovers ventured off Friday afternoon for a long week-end’s laning in the outbacks of North Wales. Starting from different locations, a small group met up and travelled over to Wales, tackling a couple of lanes before making rendezvous with a couple of others at Welshpool Light Railway in Llanfair.
We came across four rally drivers and support van taking some practise perhaps before the Welsh rally in November. Stopped for a chat, nice friendly people.
On Sunday the mist came in late afternoon.
Healthy looking live stock that we obviously treated with respect as we are only visitors to their land.
Out into the open and we came across the group of motor bike riders again – small world.
You can’t go to Wales without meeting some water and one route had a ford that helped wash the cars down.
We came across the Wayfarer where there is a water proof case with a couple of provisions in and a visitors book worthy of a comment and signing.
The mist came in early on Sunday but that didn’t dampen our hearts for the week-end was a great success, enjoyable company with some wonderful laning and tremendously rewarding scenery.
Thanks goes to Jonathan for organising, route planning and arranging accommodation and thanks for Keith Lister for taking photographs and sharing them.
A good turn out to a day at the Brickhill site on Sunday. It is a site that some of us are familiar with but with so many new members to the club this year, it is a nice venue for people just starting their 4×4 ambition to experiment on. The site is mainly a wooded area and an open field, however it can be described as having several sections each offering different types of terrain and thus challenges for gaining skills. See the RTV write-ups for more detail on the type of ground, soil, grass, mud, trees, slopes, sandy soil etc.
The day started with an open discussion on various items of equipment that the more experienced carry with them. This proved very worthwhile with many questions coming from new and old members alike.
We moved on to an interactive demonstration of vehicle recovery. We drove Jon’s 90 around the trees and parked it at an angle on a slope – then pretended that the defender had failed and needed to be recovered up the slope. Everybody was engaged in this demonstration.
I’m delighted that there was consideration as to people if they were in the 90, even though joking about tea and cake. People are the main cause of problems in a real situation. We also pu ta rope on the roll cage to prevent a potential roll whilst recovering the 90 from the front.
Full Health and Safety, recognised as being real risk of harm to people if anything doesn’t go to plan or if equipment should fail.
This was hosted so well that no one appeared to be afraid to ask what was going on and why; lots of interaction.
The second vehicle was a D2, to be recovered up in reverse on a nearby slope. The slope has a buried tree truck which made the final pull at the top that much more challenging.
The start of this recovery was with a single winch which started to get hot, demonstrating the load of the pull. Two winches were employed with pulley block. Tremendous forces involved way above the physical weight of the D2 being recovered.
I’ve done some basic maths and the forces peaked in the region of seven tonnes of pull. This is a lot of force and some components in the recovery line of rope, hooks, shackles, pulley block, straps etc. would take the whole load rather than sharing this.
I’m pleased to see clarification on the hand signals for winch recovery. People who do not regularly work together as a team often have variations to the what they understand. We took discussion on this and collectively agreed what is obvious, why and thus likely to be more successful and less misunderstandings.
After the recovery, we broke for lunch and people then went off in groups to try out the land and challenges but also practise some recovery in what is a safe environment which skilled help and equipment easily available and not too far away.
All in all – an outstanding day and everyone got some benefit from it.
Experience the Country hosted an event sponsored by a magazine publisher. It was an all-day event on the Saturday aimed at people with little or no off road experience, giving them a two hour opportunity to learn a little and drive a little to understand the real capabilities of their land rovers even if they don’t intend to do anything extreme any time soon.
A few of us took time off work on the Friday to help set up the course. Mark Stopps, Operations Manager of Experience the Country, is experienced in off road work and understands how to best utilise the land and obstacles to good effect to give a wide range of technical and non-technical challenges to the visitors. He designed an excellent course which caters well for a large volume of potentially inexperienced off road drivers all travelling the same route.
Four sessions were organised for the day, each group starting with an indoor presentation which amounted to a great insight to vehicle design and features along with how and when to take advantage of some of the hi-tech gadgets that modern Land Rovers 4×4 cars have.
After the safety briefing they ventured out on to the course in convoy. The marshals at the start of each section could offer advice and final words of encouragement as one by one they took their vehicles through ever increasing challenging parts of the course.
For some, in their shiny brand new Range Rovers, even driving across the field to the first track through the woods would have been more off road than they’d previously taken their vehicles before.
Everyone has bags of enthusiasm and were really up for this. The first section was a rutted track through a tight group of trees or woods. The ruts had been engineered to not be too damaging but at least make scrapping noises under the cars as they go.
Certainly, people would have been bounced side to side and up & down.
The second woods were similar and perhaps steeper dips. Then there was a drive across open country to the technical challenge referred to as elephant feet.
Basically, a manmade section with railway sleepers offset between left and right, with peaks and troughs in the ground – a cross axle trial. There were a couple of shiny steel mirrors erected about 3m long and 1+m high so the driver can see alternate wheels just in the air. Great to see and understand traction control braking the spinning wheel up in the air diverting power to the wheels still on the ground.
The water splash was three short experiences of taking your vehicle through water. Nice and deep, top of the tyre depth if you drive slowly!
Everyone had seriously good fun and only one or two had to be recovered from being stuck so that they could continue and despite the thrill, no vehicles were damaged either.
Into the evening, there was the removal of the route markers and barriers and finally the club BBQ – and as usual, it rained but we are well prepared with the gazebo and so good food was had by all.