Here at Extreme4x4 Europe off road media we work with several teams and promote them in exchange for their reports about the competitions they visited. This time it’s AWDC Driven To The Edge 2015. Here’s a story by Daniel Roderick and Paul Lundstrom, two time winners of the Driven To The Edge, edition 2014 and 2015. They race in a Nissan Patrol buggy, vehicle #123
Here’s the story by Daniel Roderick – Driven To The Edge 2015:
The build up to Driven To The Edge 2015 had been exciting for myself and co-driver /winchman Paul Lundstrom, after the unfortunate end to King of the Valleys we had our work cut out to prepare the buggy to the standard we like. Anyway, it’s been a tough few weeks – an engine change, a much larger radiator combined with two very powerful fans all fabricated by James at JS Customs and the debut of our new 711 steering arms.
After our success at the 1st round of the event we were chomping at the bit. A very wet Friday afternoon arrived and we set off on the drive down to Walters arena. After our local overnight pitstop we were up at the site bright and early for signing in and scrutineering. Everything was good and we were ready for action. Looking around we could see that there were some really good teams ready to make it harder to repeat our Driven To The Edge 2014 win.
10 AM arrived and it was drivers brief time held by Chris Bowler, he delivered all the details and info we have come to expect from him. We were all ready to go.
After seeding had been taken care of , we got the top spot, so we got on the start line and waited. As the light turned to green we sped of. But carefully since the new parts of the buggy were untested by us, but as each corner came and went confidence grew and we settled in to a nice pace.
Thanks to the horrible weather before Driven To The Edge 2015, driving down the rough riverbeds of the site was a bit differenet as they were under a substantial amount of water. We arrived at the first “challenge area” picked a punch to go for and off we went, picking a line down through some trees and getting the punch nice and fast.
Despite the severe angle we were at to get the punch, we dropped the lockers in and just reversed out, so we were on our way again in good time. The rest of the lap went trouble free and we put in what we hoped would be a competitive lap time. One of the things Chris Bowler had thrown in to mix things up was on the last challenge section. We had a choice of 5 fun activities, on our first lap we had opted for the bucket of water test, involving driving whoops whilst Paul held the bucket over his lap, the aim being to return with over half of the water still in the container. Sorry Paul…
Other tasks were to get through a mock mine field by dodging landmines (harris fence feet) and other fun things. A good twist on the event we thought. So once we had done our post lap checks and chatted with some of the other guys about how much fun it was, we were in for a wait as there was a number of teams still out on their first lap. The weather had really set in by this point and we huddled round in the catering tent, hoping the wind wasn’t going to take it away.
Once the times had been posted up we could see that the top five or six were battling over seconds and it was going to be a tight race. Sadly, the weather played its part on slowing the event down meaning the number of laps had to be cut. We finally got out on our second lap after all the competitors had been recovered and accounted for.
On arrival at the first challenge area we opted for a punch that required using the rear winch. This was the first real test for my new Comeup Blazer and I was excited to see how it would do, I squared the buggy up to plummet of the high quarry side and lowered the car on the winch. I was over the moon with the lovely control of the descent. Once we tagged the punch it was time for the real test, a long steep pull back up, the Blazer did it with ease.
It was my first experience with a twin motor winch and I love it. We got round the rest of the lap in good time but had seen Allen Sharpe and Ben Turpie were hot on our heels along with Jerry Hunt and Ed Webber It was going to be a tough fight to the end. Sadly, after more troubles for fellow competitors Chris had to call time on the laps containing challenge areas and as the darkness drew in, he quite rightly made the decision to run the night lap which would be a flat out no punch run.
We lined up and blasted off into the night, we set off with good pace but soon ran into trouble with screen clearing the sheer amount of ground water. It was causing us to steam up inside and we had no choice but to back off, and at one point sadly stop while Paul cleared the screen as best as he could. We roared off on a damage limitation charge and managed a respectable run. A look at the leader board that night showed that the top 5 were so close and that Sunday was going to be tough.
Sunday morning came and we were given clean punch cards so we had decided the first two laps would mirror Saturdays we were flying and after getting to the first challenge area and getting the punch we were gone in no time with no sign of Allen and Ben, stupidly I thought I would back off a little thinking we had made a good lead on the first fast leg, this was a silly move and soon both Allen and even worse Simon Crowe had caught us. We put a charge in to the end of the lap and put a little gap in but not enough to account for the staggered start.
This meant we had lost the lead and we were second. We pushed hard through the second lap but sadly lost time on a silly mistake in the quarry that saw us driving round and round a rock, and then the wipers had a moment but thankfully we were soon on the move again.
We managed to claw some time back but not enough to catch the unstoppable Gigglepin team. Unfortunately that lap had seen the end of Simon and Toni in the Polaris after a rear suspension failure. So that meant it was down to the wire. Allen and Ben just don’t make mistakes and were pushing so hard, we knew wehave to push hard on the last lap. Everything was going well and we arrived at the first quarry section with a good chunk of time in our pockets. As we lowered down the banking, the tree we were anchored on, left the floor and nearly wiped Paul out and gave us a problem, luckily the buggy held on the slope as Paul re-rigged it in double quick time and I jumped out to get the punch. We were soon winched out and ready to get back on our way, all before we had even seen anyone else get to the first section, but knowing everyone was close “taking it easy was not an option”.
So we pushed hard to the finish and sealed the win! Paul and myself were elated. A HUGE thank you to everyone who constantly helps and supports us and to the Driven To The Edge 2015 team for such a well organised and enjoyable weekend, we look forward to the extra events you are looking to stage next year.
STORY BY: Daniel Roderick, PHOTOS: D.B. Photography