Road Taxed Vehicle Trial…
As you'll read elsewhere soon, my nephew ended up buying my old '96 Discovery that had failed its MOT on most things structural. and commissioned a friend to weld it back up. Since then he's been exploring our local green lanes and has recently joined the Manchester Off Road Club and Red Rose Land Rover Club. To say that the off-road bug has bitten is an understatement, and my once almost immaculate Discovery has now all the battle scares of a Camel Trophy veteran!
Anyway, the other day he mentioned that he was going to compete in his first RTV (Road Taxed Vehicle Trial), with Red Rose Land Rover Club, and did I want to come along and watch? Daft question really..
Now, without creating an elaborate timeline graph, I estimated that it must be around 15 years since Muddy Madam and I were last members of Red Rose, so it would be nice to see some familiar faces.
I arrived during the second section, and although a RTV is supposed to be non damaging, James had already bent both ends of the front bumper and lost the near side front indicator! To be fair, it wasn't all down to his 'gung-ho' approach, the course was set up for Defenders by Defenders and therefore required a different driving style for larger vehicles... or maybe I'm just making excuses!
Of course, I'm assuming you all know what an RTV trial is, if you don't well tough. No, I'm kidding, I'll explain...
An RTV is set up by someone called the Clerk of the Course. He or she arranges a series of 12 sections – each section comprises 12 gates. A gate is 2 large canes that a vehicle has to drive through. The first gate you drive through is number 12, second is 11 and so on to gate 1. The task is to drive through as many gates as possible without touching any or getting stuck and have zero points. For example, if you hit gate number 7, you get 7 points, or if you stop between gates 5 and 6 you receive 5 points. The person with the lowest points at the end of the day wins. Sounds easy enough? Well, the sections are all laid out over different types of challenging terrain, wouldn't want to make it easy now, would they?
Oh, I forgot to mention that if you have a vehicle that has a wheelbase longer than 100", like a Discovery, 109, 110, Range Rover or 101 Forward Control, then you're allowed 1 shunt per section.
Todays Clerk of the Course had done a fine job of marking out 12 sections that were both challenging and non damaging-ish! I'm not certain how many Land Rovers took part but numbers were down on when I used to be a member, but the camaraderie was top notch, as was the weather.
When you think about it, if you want to learn how to drive your 4x4 off-road, it makes sense to join an off-roading or Green-Laning club as you meet other like-minded individuals as well as learning the skills to drive off-road (trials and P&P sites) properly.
Taking part in trials is a fabulous way of learning how to drive off-road safely, you get to understand what your vehicle is capable of, which gears to use and when. How many folks reading this know how to recover from a failed hill climb after you're engine has stalled and you're beginning to slide backwards?
Anyhow, back to the trial, it was good watching a variety of Land Rovers flexing their coil springs, it isn't always about who have the knobbliest tyres or biggest engine, skills and the ability to read the ground also help. I didn't stay for the afternoon stint as I had other things to do, but I'm guessing someone won, someone came second and someone else went home with a score card full of points, but with huge smile on their face!