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Rust de Winter Mountain Drive

28 August 2019 - Jesse Rowe
At 9am on a chilly bushveld winter morning, 12 Land Rovers lined up for the famous Rust de Winder Mountain Drive. TTV a 110 TDi Kalahari Defender, Worshond a Puma 130, Franken fender a V8 110 Defender and something that should be known as "Beast", a Discovery 2 with all possible mods were just a few of the spectacular contenders. As one might imagine, it was a little bit of a shock to hear during the briefing, we're going up where we should go down.

After a bit of convoy driving and a few gates, we reached the first mountain. All the vehicles made it through the obstacles without a problem. After a few more gates and a clearing, Mike (ATV club facilitator) suddenly called for the Beast to take the lead position. The word that immediately came to mind was ominous. “Leon and the beast will take the lead, I will direct the drivers, and the rest of you, your job is to concentrate,” said Mike. What could go wrong?

A short 100m further at the first rock crawl, with an off-camber left turn, navigating a cross-axle, incline and two trees growing at the apex of this left turn, Leon’s Beast of a vehicle, lifted its left front high into the air… the traction control kicked in, pushing the vehicle forward and with precise navigation, they were through the obstacle. Wow!

Then reality kicked in, in our convoy there were 4 x Disco II’s and 2 x Puma Defenders with traction control, the rest… open diff vehicles. With the first two vehicles through the obstacle - with a steep incline section, and no parking – Beast had pushed forward and was now just out of sight on the other side of the hill, being worked hard. I went to have a look and immediately wished I hadn’t. 20m up, this beast of a vehicle was now clawing its way up a 30° side angle with a tight right turn into a 30m climb over ragged loose rocks with various cross-axle obstacles waiting for an unsuspecting driver.

It seemed crazy that suddenly, within a distance of 100m, we had three difficult obstacles that needed severe concentration and skill to be negotiated. Worshond was the last to be taken through, we reckoned the length of the 130 would make it easily… but, we would find exactly the opposite. For close to 45 minutes Worshond was stuck with wheels dangling and occupants suspended while we tried recovering the vehicle. After 2 1/2 hours, we managed to get all vehicles through the mammoth conglomeration of obstacles and we moved off.

After finding an open area, we let the kids loose and drivers got a little time to rid themselves of excess adrenaline while enjoying a bite to eat. On arrival safely back at base, it was declared a successful day of driving. The kids reported capturing a colourful worm, enjoyed spending time with Dad and everyone truly experienced just what their 4x4’s are truly capable of. There is absolutely no doubt that quite a few memories were made.



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