Past Events > 2001 > Bulldog Trophy

Bulldog Trophy

29th September 2001

Team YORC... Dave White/Matthew Sykes in Dave's Range Rover and Lee Cromwell/John Davies in Lee's 90... lined up at the start waiting for our first instructions.

For a while now I have been preparing my Range Rover to have a go at one of these "challenge" events. The first event was due to be in Ireland in March but due to Foot and Mouth and the necessary precautions all such events have been cancelled throughout the year. I have to confess that I had a very rough idea of how these events are run but really I felt like someone who had never seen a trial before and is the 1st on on the 1st section... lost and bewildered doesn't come into it !

After being given our paperwork, stickers, having a bunch of laminated score tags tie wrapped to the dashboard and attending the drivers briefing we were still none the wiser. The first task was easy enough though - a slalom against the clock in a relay with your team mate passing a "baton" from one vehicle to the other. The fastest 12 teams were to head off to "Prison Rough" whilst the rest stayed at the main site. We had no idea wether this would be a good thing or not so we went for it anyway. My run went smoothly enough and I thought I had set a good time. Lee went second and, suffering from bad understeer, had to shunt at one point. We didn't make it into the top twelve which may have turned out to be a blessing.

We were told to stay on the main site for the morning so we set off following another team... we didn't have a clue where we were going or what we were supposed to do so at the top of the first hill we stopped for a team discussion. This went something along the lines of "what do we do now ?" and as nobody had any polite suggetions we set off to the central control to try and get some clues ! All in all we spent the first 2 hours of the Saturday session trying to figure out what we were supposed to be doing succeeding only in finding 1 punch. We then got stuck and had to winch ourselves through a hole only to find that one of the solenoids on my winch had packed in and the winch didn't want to reel in after we had reeled the line out. A quick kick seemed to cure it but we weren't happy with the situation and as I had a spare solenoid pack it seemed worth sacrificing 10 minutes or so rather than waiting for it to fail again in the middle of some muddy hole.

Ten minutes turned into two hours. The new solenoid pack failed to work at all. After much scratching of heads, playing with multimeters and comparing the new pack with Lee's we slowly came to the conclusion that I had been supplied with a 24V solenoid pack. After suitable rewiring we had the pack configured to 12V only to find that the control switch (which had a different plug to my original one) was faulty as well, with the switch only working in one direction. We pulled the housing apart only to find nearly all the terminals on the switch had corroded away. A control cable was then manufactured using the appropriate bits of the two and finally the winch was fully operational and we were away again.

We then spent the last 3 hours of the day session tearing round the site looking for punches and scoring some points. Which is what we should have been doing all day ! By the end of the saturday session we almost felt like we were getting a grasp on what we were supposed to be doing and managed to score 225 points in the afternoon. As opposed to 50 for the first 4 hours.

The night time session started brilliantly, we headed straight for the first punch hotly pursued by the Ibex team. We got to the marker first with Steve Barras getting bogged on the approach, stamped the card and headed away from the marker and promptly got both our vehicles bogged side by side in a ditch. (This was something Steve B. had warned us not to do about 5 minutes before we started but heat of the moment etc...). Team Ibex left us to it and found an alternative route. We spent the next hour and a half of the two hour session digging both vehicles out as none of the ground anchors we had would hold in the soft ground. Fortunately a team of Suzukis finally pulled Lee out with KERR ropes and I then used Lee's 90 as an anchor and winched myself out. We headed back to the control arriving at about 9.30pm, claimed our 60 points for our single punch and went off to the pub for a well earned pint before closing time. Some of the competitors didn't get off the site until 1 am. 5 of the teams lost all their points for the night session when they failed to make it back to the control before 10pm.

Sunday (today) we were really starting to get a feel for the event and were soon collecting punches and had a go at a couple of the special tasks. The winch on Lee's 90 was put out of action half way through the day when the rope came off the drum (Always make sure someone is keeping an eye on the drum !) while he was lowering the 90 down a steep drop to a punch. A quick change around and I pulled Lee back up the slope with my winch but Lee's winch could not be easily repaired having ripped the retaining ring off the end of the cable. We carried on with just my winch operational until our attempt at punch 15. I managed to reverse down to the punch (so I could winch back out if need be) and punch the ticket although I did have a dodgy moment which saw me sliding sideways down a wet grassy slope towards a deep ditch. Fortunately, with a bit of luck, I managed to gather it up and got the punch. Lee tried a similar route going forwards (with me available to winch him out) but didn't get away with it ending up with the 90 on it's roof in the ditch. Lee was unhurt, John Davies was wisely not in the vehicle at the time although his digital camera was so we haven't got any pictures of the rollover yet :-( - I am pretty sure that all the main Land Rover magazines got a picture or 3 so we'll wait and see !

Using my winch in conjunction with a COR marshals winch we managed to recover the 90 but that really put a damper on things and after a coffee break with just under an hour to go we decided to call it a day. My Range Rover survived the event intact and Lee's 90 only sustained a dented front wing, a slightly cracked windscreen, a dented roof, and a twisted roof rack.

We ended up with 465 points in total which put us in a disappointing 21st place (at least we weren't last !) Had we known on Saturday morning waht we know now... still all good experience and I certainly enjoyed myself and will do it all again given half a chance.

Travelling back down the motorway suggested I may need to renew some bushes though as every time I accelerated or backed off the throttle the motor swung wildly to the right which made for an interesting trip home !

John Davies has supplied pictures from the event and these can be seen here...

Dave White.

Pictures of the event can be seen here
 
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