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At long last there are the beginnings of an update to these august pages. Have a look and see if it meets with your approval, particularly look at the paragraphs below if you enter or are thinking of entering our challenge events.
It has long been my intention to keep our events as free from rules and regulations as possible, (several years on an RAC motor sports committee can do that to you, trust me) and it has been a successful strategy so far. However nothing stands still in the field of human endeavour especially where motors, men and money meet in a competitive arena. So despite my own serious misgivings I have let it be known that there are to be some rule changes for CoR Challenge events in 2006. This was first aired after the Bulldog Trophy and the feedback has been patchy but fairly consistent in its views. It was never my intention to try and force people to spend unnecessary money on new tyres so there has been a slight alteration on that front.
Basically the new rules are as follows;
Standards. As now except the tyre rules have changed. Standards are restricted to tyres no more than 32" tall and 11" wide. The tread must be no more aggressive than than a Mud Terrain pattern. (Note that isn't insisting on a Mud Terrain tyre, just a pattern NO more aggressive ) Now someone somewhere, possibly many will be aggrieved became their diamond backs or similar have just been relegated, please hear me out. In standards class tyres have a huge impact on performance (and also on transmission failures too but that's another story). Standards class is the life blood of off roading in all its breadth, not just challenge events. Unless Jack or Jill can go out and buy a reasonable old hack of a 90 or SJ or Frontera etc. and come along to find out just what delights off roading has to offer then we will wither on the vine. The Jacks and Jills who get smitten then have the full feast of 4x4 to go at once there enthusiasm and buying power match up but if they don't ever get that first taste then it won't happen. Standard motors that can be bought sensibly, run sensibly and still provide most of the 4x4 fun any reasonable person can want are a necessity, the CoR rules are designed to make sure we are are a totally accessible hobby. On a recent BF Goodrich training event I could truthfully tell the ever changing passengers in my demo ride that my standard 300 tdi Discovery they were riding in was more than capable of providing modestly priced family transport, an excellent tow car, modest parts and insurance prices and on top of all that it was the passport to a motoring hobby that they could ALL take part in. Young, old, male, female, weak or strong, individually or as a family. Tell me just what other motoring hobby can offer a fraction of that with a basic standard road going car??
So to specials. Here it gets much tougher. It was always the bin for everything that didn't fit in standards class and the place where those with far more creativity, mechanical prowess, time and yes in many cases money than the rest of us ended up. For a great many people the driving or challenge eventing of a 4x4 is only a percentage of their real enjoyment. It is a sphere virtually exclusively male and they get as much kick out of the modifications, the pushing of boundaries in search of that extra ability, however fractional, as they do entering. Most of their creations are true works of engineering art, Monet in metal, Picasso in parts, Rembrandt in ratios... you get the picture. Our first Bulldog had a purple Land Rover 90 with roll cage, BFG Muds,and a rear diff lock with warn winch up front. It was revered as a godlike 4x4. Now it wouldn't raise an eyebrow, indeed at that specification it would be advised to disconnect the difflock and stay in standard class and that would be meant in a realistic fashion not in any way demeaning. Let it be known that the standards work harder for less and they well know it.
Specials have, up to now, concentrated on improving what was there to start with. More power, stronger transmissions, lower gearing, more suspension travel,quick ratio steering, bigger tyres able to run at less p.s.i. with bead lockers. Simex tyres were probably the biggest leap forward in pure traction terms and all those things to a greater or lesser degree work. These vehicles get further, faster and take more stopping in terms of terrain than before. There has to be a finite limit but it isn't reached ... yet. Some organizers have taken the route of trying to stop these cars with ever more vicious terrain and task, CoR has taken the line of thinking about what is needed from the crew more than the car. However it is my personal belief that now is the time to rein in some of the newer designs, on our events at least, to ensure that the original concept of light 4x4's with a skilled crew doesn't get lost in the bright lights of technology and testosterone, and also to ensure that land damage remains within acceptable parameters. In the same way that Simex became the must have tyre, because it was so damn good, then if one type of suspension or gearing or axle comes along that lifts the vehicle performance dramatically then others must follow or be left behind. It is that I am trying to rein in a little. For tyres in specials class that means using Simex as the benchmark for aggressiveness, and a sizing of 35" (1" bigger than my original proposal as I have been convinced by a great many people that 35" is the most common size around) and 13" wide. All tyre sizes will be checked by a size gauge. The sizes printed on the tyre are irrelevant as anyone who has seen the truly idiotic differences between various 750x16 nominally sized tyres will testify. Dumper tyres, Sataniks, Maxi Cross remain banned as before. All challenge events state that only one set of tyres can be used per event.
Though we have yet to have a portal axled 4x4 enter one of our events I am aware of their increasing popularity and feel that they do stray beyond what was intended by our 'light 4x4' classification (that classification was done specifically to ensure Unimogs, which have portal axles, couldn't enter). Rather than wait for it to become a problem, portal axles will not be accepted on our challenge events. I genuinely hope that you can all see what is intended by the above. It isn't aimed at any one person, group or make of motor, it is a real attempt to try and keep this particular sport about the teams working with equipment rather than the equipment with some human intervention. Any of you currently beavering away in the depths of your garage on your concept of the next generation of Challenge changing 4x4 ought to talk to me first if you intended entering a CoR event. I fully realise I may be alienating both people who currently enter our events and future ones too but that is a measure of my feeling on the subject that such a risk has been taken to try and keep the current free rolling atmosphere with just a few restrictions.
Bulldog Trophy confirmed
with twenty teams of 2 entered at the above date.
The Highland Safari isn't going to happen this year due to natural causes, the same natural causes that delayed our Enduro in Scotland earlier this year. However in its place is the Scottish Summer Safari to be held on July 24/25/26th in the Scottish Borders. This event is designed to allow people with standard road going 4x4's the opportunity to go places and se things not available to the general public. It is family friendly and has had excellent reviews from those who have taken part since their inception some 25 years ago. See Future Events for the event details and an entry form.
The Highland Enduro went smoothly in early March when 21 entrants managed to make the second date after the early year gales blocked a large part of our access route. The weather was all it could have been wished for. Bright sunny spells interspersed with blizzard like conditions and heavy overnight snowfall. Of the 21 who entered this off road Valhalla by the second evening only 10 remained, the rest either suffering from mechanical problems, human problems or just plain over awed with the severity of the task in hand. Steep hills and boggy ground on 30 degree inclines tests the hardest of resolve and plummeting night time temperatures doesn't always help the frail physical conditions either. Naturally there were those who came, saw and conquered and the whole story with some epic pictures should be here soon, in the meantime it suffices to say that the Challenge part of the event was won (on their first ever visit to the Kyle) by Karl & Dale Frost teamed with Adrian Martin & Paul Martin & Martin Ecob. Something of a fraternal affair. Just one punch behind them was Vicky Heywood & Richard Ibberson teamed with Matt Blakey & Mark Riley. Amazingly the latter crew were first timers to an off road challenge event, indeed Mark had never handled a winch rope before. As learning curves go it wasn't steep it was vertical.
It wasn't brilliant it was transcendental and my heart goes out to those who were booked on the original date but then couldn't make the second one.
That is all the
good news, the bad news is that the promised Somerset Safari has been
cancelled for the moment, my responsibility entirely on this one and hopefully
one that I can put back on later this year. My sincere aplogies if you
had this pencilled into your diary!
A national disgrace, and no I'm not talking about the hysterical response to Jeremy Clarksons splendid demonstration of the new Land Rover Discovery in Sutherland, (or his robust defence of that particular episode on the radio later in the week) rather the lack of updates on this fine website.
Events such as the Suzuki Rhino Rally, Suzuki family day, Highland Safari, BF Goodrich Challenge at Tong, Rhino Charge for the Rhino Ark Charity and of course the ebullient Bulldog Trophy have all come and gone unremarked within this silicon sidecar. What is even worse 2005 events are yet to appear. Well they always say the longest journey starts with the first step so here it is, a hesitant dipping of toe in water before the verbal cargo ship arrives in short order. All our past exploits complete with pictures will appear but first for a taster here are some of next years planned dates.
You tak the high road
and I'll tak the low road,
and I'll be in Scotland afore ye.
Well possibly I won't be there before you given that I have a V8 and will now be trying to eke 18 mpg out of it by travelling at 15mph everywhere. However! my consumption problems apart, if you have ever wanted to experience the high and low roads of the Highlands dramatic scenery from the lofty seat of your 4x4 then check out the details of this years Club Off Road Highland Safari in July. Just look at future events for full details. (For a potted history of the last several years Highland safari's just click off into past events and wallow in the magic of it all).
Supercharge Sadly we had to cancel the Supercharge event due to a paucity of entries but the regular Rhino Charge is till on the stocks for October 16th in sunny West Sussex.
Our proud motto, 'Traction in Action' has recently been loaned, for one event only, to a BF Goodrich event to take place at Tong August 14th and 15th. Though details are a bit thin at the moment Ican tell you that the only way to be part of it is to be wearing BFG rubber, on your 4x4 (your personal fetish is no concern of mine). We will probably be involved running invitation 'challenge' sections. As this is not a CoR event I'll update this site as soon as further details are supplied to me.
Rhino Rally June 27th. Once again we will be populating the hills and woods of Tong whilst running the off roading part of the Suzuki Rhino Clubs Rhino Rally. and The on behalf of the the Suzuki Rhino Club. The former is at Tong the latter in deepest West Sussex.
Suzuki Family Day August 22nd. Held in deepest West Sussex. This event is different to the Rhino Rally where the emphasis is very much on the off roading, this is much more about a family fun day out with a gentle and scenic off road route as just one of the many attractions. These events are, rather naturally, for Suzuki owners and Rhino Club members. More details on the club and these events can be found at suzukirhinoclub.co.uk. or contact the Suzuki Rhino Club at 01342 300831.
Bulldog, fully house trained, very tenacious but looking for a new home. Many of you are getting anxious as to the lack of information on this event but please don't, it's bad for you. The Bulldog will be back to test the best on September 25th and 26th at a completely new, several thousand acre site, in the Scottish borders near Wooler. As always the event is for teams of two with both standards and specials classes as well as the top overall prize of the Bulldog Trophy itself. The latter is currently kenelled in the West Midlands but it's a domesticated critter and will happily live wherever in the UK it gets taken.
A new feature is to put the 'old' index pages into a different area so there is some continuity to see what has been going on here prior to this page. In there you will find details on the parliamentary moves to try and ban all green lane activities, and a way in which you can help try and prove that there is still some democracy left in this country. However it took a cleverer man than me to come up with a suitable, and sensible, riposte to the fatuous claims of the 'Early Day Motion'. Here is Mark Hattons considered response;
motion which reads as follows :
CLUB OFF ROAD'S WEBSITE
A tough off road challenge event in East Sussex? That would have been the Supercharge, sadly this particular Rhino mis-timed its charge and not attracting the necessary herd has had to be cancelled. Class it as dormant rather than dead for now.
Despite CoR not using 'green roads' or BOAT's or whatever you want to call them it is still important that I flag up the recent Parliamentary activity about them. Make no mistake that whatever high sounding rhetoric surrounds the wording of this (and indeed every Parliamentary bill) the simple translation is this. A group of anonymous people have decided that it is time all vehicular access is stopped on green roads. Once they have achieved that rest assured that private sites, or access to private land will be next on the list marked 'must be banned' whatever platitudes are trotted out about consultation or rights of interested parties. See below; (This information was sent to me by Chris Jones of BORDA, ((British Off Road Driving Association))
EDM 380 - Use of Unsurfaced Byways Open to All Traffic by Mechanically Propelled Vehicles (updated)
That this House welcomes the Government's proposal to close the legal loophole whereby historical evidence of use by horse and cart, or dedication as a carriageway prior to the invention of the internal combustion engine, can give rise to a claim for a byway open to all traffic which, if successful, allows for use by modern recreational motor vehicles of green lanes and other unsurfaced routes in the countryside; notes existing byways open to all traffic will still be subject to inappropriate and unsustainable use by recreational motor vehicles; is concerned that our most precious countryside in the national parks and areas of outstanding beauty and our national trails such as the Ridgeway continue to suffer appalling damage; and urges the Government to take action forthwith to protect these areas by reclassifying existing unsurfaced byways open to all traffic as restricted byways and issuing better guidance on enforcement to enable the relevant authorities to take swift and effective action where recreational vehicles are being driven illegally.
On 13/1/04 it was signed by:Andrew Rosindell
On 12/1/04 it was signed by: Mr Harry Barnes
On 8/1/04 it was signed by: John Mann
This is an Early Day Motion urging Parliament to ban motors from all unsealed BOATs. I suggest that all LARA Members within the listed MPs' constutencies might ask their MPs what evidence they have to support this EDM.
NB There is currently research being carried out by the Countryside Agency via consultants Faber Maunsell, to establish to what extent the BOAT network is being 'destroyed' by over-use. Until this research is completed, all the MPs can go on is their own personal observations, and the propaganda of the Antis. Ask if any of them have taken advice from those who use BOATs, from the Governing Bodies, or from the House of Conmmons Rights of Way Review Committee. And if not, why not?
Meanwhile an early notification of the first of our two Off Road driving days in the delightful surroundings of Tong is already organised for Sunday March 14th 2004 plus The Highland Safari and the Bulldog Trophy. Have a look in future events for details. Also the somewhat late report and pictures of the 2003 Highland Safari, see past events.
Club Off Road's self imposed sabbatical is still ticking away but you can be assured that the Bulldog Trophy will happen in 2004. My only trip out recently with the old battle wagon was to introduce my eldest daughter to the baptism of fire that is the passenger seat of a 4x4 on a navigation off road event. I have every confidence that her version of the weekends excitements battling the best of BAMA and the Scottish LROC will differ greatly from mine but as I never tire of telling her... old age and treachery will always overcome youth and skill!
Club Off Road also hosted the Rhino Charge is sunny West Sussex back in early October. As always it was a well fought, fun 4x4 event with the added bonus this year of a crew from Kenya who were superb ambassadors for their country and their charity, they very near scooped the top award too to make it a double after winning the 2003 Kenyan Rhino Charge. Total Off Road Editor Alan Kidd, managed to plant his Jeep in front of my lens in what is usually known as an embarrassing moment, well it is when I do it at any rate. Despite the age and technical simplicity of their Auto Union Mungas, the eventual winnerswere, once again, the OB's. You may make your own mind up as to what the OB's initials represent.
Club Off Road for the newly arrived;
Those who are new to Club Off Road or this site just need to look around and see if there is anything of interest to you. There's no links and no pressure. Just lots of Club Off Road type off roading of every sort and persuasion featuring 4x4's from Haflingers to SJ's, Jeeps to Jimny's, Shoguns to.... what's those Solihull ones called? Ah yes Land Rovers!
.A warm welcome to what many people, myself included, thought would never happen, the `Club Off Road' website. I make no apology for the fact that it is written and designed by an 'on line simpleton' and as such is hopefully designed to allow other such novices as myself to find their way around it with ease and hopefully for everyone to find something they will find useful or at the very least, entertaining. Having spent years on the hard shoulder of the information highway, it's now time to let a wider audience into the world of `Club Off Road'.
If you want to know more about our history, what we do and who does it, then carry on reading. If, however, you want to know what our future events are, see pictures from our past events, find things for sale, or read about events now rapidly receding into the mists of time then go to the site map. There you will find areas clearly titled in the Queen's English. Click on whatever section takes your interest and the magic medium of electronic ether should waft you off to yet another 4x4 fun palace.
HOWEVER! If it doesn't, don't blame me.
To contact Club Off Road you can use any of the following methods.
The old fashioned ways first;
Telephone.- 01924 - 492675...................................Fax 01924 - 497804
Address. Club Off Road, 5 Quarryside Road, Mirfield, West Yorkshire, WF14 9QG.
E. Mail - firstname.lastname@example.org
Or if you prefer, try heliograph, carrier pigeon,tom toms, smoke signals or Morse code! Should you get the answer machine try not to break the world speed record for dictating telephone numbers...please?
Club Off Road is now in its thirteenth year, and they said it would never last! Despite its Club title it isn't a club in the conventional sense of the word any longer, as there are no members as such, but the name is well known so it continues and not having to be a member means anyone can dip into our events at will. Sadly 2003 has been a non event year in some ways as eminently good reasons saw our activities decrease substantially. It is unlikely that we will return to our previous levels of 18/20 events a year but 2004 will see at least 4 events take place in addition to other events organised by us on behalf of other people. Though quantity will be reduced quality won't be. This website has finally dragged us into the 21st century. As I am discovering, (to my eternal joy) it is not only a labour of love, it is also a never ending quest. The intention always was to have a simple, informative, site. Not a high tech display of computer wizardry. Have a look through and see whether that is being achieved or whether I am just deluding myself into thinking that it is.
A 'potted history' of Club Off road is given below.
The best way to find out about Club Off Road is to actually join us on one of our events where you too can experience some,
TRACTION IN ACTION!
Club Off Road History (Which is a smart word for the past)
Back to the plot. After nearly two years of doing its own thing 4x4 really started to take off and Overlander was bought by Link House Publications in Spring 1984 to become Off Road and Four Wheel Driver. The 'Driver' became truncated to 'Drive' in January 1986. Since day one I have been with this magazine though gradually working from the top to the bottom of the contributors list,(nothing wrong with the bottom, there's nowhere else to go! In late '89 the Club Off Road idea was first discussed with some youthful Editor called John Beese (Smiley Miley to his friends), and finally came into existence in 1990, our first ever event being at Trentham Gardens. In 2001 our direct link with the magazines ended.
In those early days an hirsute chap named Dave Mitchell was a partner with me in Club Off Road but we soon gave him a free transfer to some other upstart 4x4 magazine! Right from the start we had uniform red coats. As things progressed and we needed more people to help run ever bigger events the red coats were handed out as a badge of office and lo and behold Club Off Road's finest feature was formed, the Redcoats. Butlins may have got there first but they never got there better. The Redcoats have become synonymous with all that is best about what we do, mixing a friendly manner with years of off road experience. Redcoats have come and gone over the years, our current regular line up consists of Harry Haigh, Keith Bettis, Christine Fairey and Steve Wilson. Previous incumbents of this illustrious post over the years are Steven and Sharon Soame, Larry Byrne, Brian Leeson, Barbara Hellett and Jill Ramsell all of whom gave meritorious service before moving on to bigger but not necessarily bigger things.
In addition to this merry band there are a whole raft of similarly minded 4x4 folk who regularly volunteer to help on our events. Rick and Sue Noyes, the brothers Braggins, Colin and Martin Jones, Ken Brindley, Darren McGuinness, Ian and June Herron to name but some of them. They naturally have a Redcoat too.
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