Trentham Gardens Driving Day December 2000
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The monsoons had done their best to turn Trentham's normally dry site into something that resembled the Somme of my Grandfathers memories. The pond in particular was higher than I've ever seen it, and remember we've been off roading there since 1990. The drought of the late 90's dried it out completely and there was some strange objects to be found on the lake bed. As a mud run it was epic, being bumper deep once the crust of harder baked earth gave way. That was then and now even the normally passable track to one side was far too deep for unprepared 4x4's (how did we discover this.... work it out for yourself!) so we taped it all off for safety.

We had a fantastic turnout, as always, at this popular site. On the gate we were somewhat amazed to see a brand spanking new Mercedes M class turn up, complete with glass of orange juice in the exquisitely crafted holder. Our assertion that they were surely in the wrong place was met with a denial and that they had indeed come to get some mud on the Merc. Naturally there was a much larger amount of, shall we say, less than pristine 4x4's there too but all are made equally welcome. There is no doubt that parts of the site are now becoming no go areas for anything other than fully kitted motors and there was plenty of recovery work for both Redcoats and entrants alike. It was a foregone conclusion that someone would want to have a go at the deep water and we weren't to be disappointed. We removed the tape (note that they did ask us first, so we could be sure that no one went in accidentally) to let the intrepid submariners try their waterproofing. One diesel Ninety well kitted up for the job, was the Lord of the Lake. He had several passes just to prove it wasn't a fluke and if you don't believe the pictures (see photo section, Trentham Gardens) then let me tell you that the passenger had to wring his shirt out when he was finally allowed to disembark. A classic, and highly entertaining, display of effective waterproofing.

Trentham photo's

In amongst all this innocent fun and pleasure however there was a more serious side when a LWB Series 3 Land Rover did a multiple roll. It is mentioned here not to make mileage out of someone's misfortune but to try and ensure that other people do realise there is always an edge to off road driving. Indeed for many people it is part of what makes it appealing, the fact that it will turn round and bite back if not treated properly. Land Rovers in standard form have less rollover protection than most other 4x4's. The bolted on construction of the hard top or truck cab see to that. Add aluminium panels and you can see why roll overs have the potential to be extremely nasty. Cuts, bruises and shock were the only after effects of this one, though the Land Rover was definitely not going to be so easily patched up. Redcoats soon had the vehicle righted, the occupants patched up and the wreckage cleared. Andrew Stringer volunteered his Series three ex army ambulance to move one of our injured crew to the gate in ponderous style, thanks Andrew. To put the incident in perspective. It was driver error, and whilst I'm all in favour of learning by your mistakes you don't want too many lessons with that particular teacher!


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