Archive for 21. July 2013

Winter Trial and Driver Training

Sunday, 21. July 2013

We had decided to drive to the old stomping ground at Rust de Winter on Friday already to camp there with some LROC friends before doing our first element of the obligatory 4×4 driver training. It seems our Landy is opposing events and outings. Like on the first stint of the Botswana trip the engine stalled twice on the way due to a loose connection to the magnetic switch of the injection pump. Since I identified quickly the root cause we only lost some time. Enough that for the last 30 minutes of the drive it was in pitch dark. And shortly before our destination we had to find our way thru a bushfire prevention fire along the road.

Saturday morning after breakfast we did convene on the training terrain. And after a theoretical introduction we started training at multiple obstacles.
The first was about getting out safely of a hill climb that turns out to be too steep. For that exercise we had to stall the engine just before the top of the artificial hill – not easy with our 300Tdi in first gear, low range. Than we had to train the following sequence of action:

  • Change to reverse and let the clutch come slowly to make sure reverse gear is in
  • Slowly release brake and let the vehicle hang on the drive-train
  • Switch off ignition and switch it on again to make sure that any anti theft or similar computer is disengaged
  • Make sure that front wheels are straight and your feet are off any pedal
  • Turn on engine and reverse downhill without touching neither the clutch nor brake or throttle

The second exercise was on the same obstacle – engine controlled downhill:

  • stop after completed climb (the top of the hill was just a vehicle length and not much wider than the vehicle)
  • release the clutch in first gear, low range without throttle
  • and just steer down the ramp


From outside the car these exercises don’t look very spectacular. This all changes with the perspective from within the vehicle – you pretty much drive blind.


The next obstacle: axle twister
DSCN6696-webAs we learned only later most of the experienced guys of the club were doubtful whether our vehicle would be able to make it.

With diff-lock engaged Monique tackled it first and passed it with flying colours.

Hats off!

Even though our long wheelbase might have provided some advantage over the “shorties”.


DSCN6725-webMonique was so excited, that she did enter the “natural” axle twister section without properly closing the door.

We could not avoid some ground touches and had to skip one section.
Our friends battled there a lot although their vehicle’s clearance is decently higher than ours.

And we didn’t want to take chances.



DSCN6747-webDSCN6735-webWe finished the training with a drive through the terrain that we had to share with some cattle.


DSCN6733-webOn this drive we could apply some of the driving techniques learned earlier when tackling river banks downwards and up again.

DSCN6738-webBack on the campsite we spent a relaxed late afternoon after we had identified the surprise we found on our table.
DSCN6742-webAnother riddle for you: The award for the first correct answer is to be picked up at our place.

And in the evening we gathered around the campfire exchanging experiences from previous trips.

A complete 4×4 training consists of 3 elements: Driver training (theoretical and practical), recovery, and trial.
Since there was scheduled the Winter Trial for the following day what was closer than tackling the second element on this occasion.
We had to skip some gates, since we didn’t want to damage the vehicle. Some of the obstacles just were not suited for LWB. As a result we saw some bent rock-sliders. At our vehicle we have got sand ladders mounted underneath the rock-sliders, which is a great protection for the additional tanks under the front seats, but at the cost of clearance.

Hope we will get some pictures of ourselves driving thru the course from fellow club members.