I wrote this article in 2009 and it was published in Land Rover Monthly. My idea was to do something different as an article of an event. So, I mostly followed one team around and followed their progress. I hope you like it, and there are some pictures of some of the other teams that were competing as well. Charlie Thorn May 2019.

Back in 2008 I made the trip down to cover the De-cider Extreme Challenge run by the Challenge South West team, and it was a blast. So I was dispatched back to the South West late in September to do the same once more. This year it was a bit further out west as the event was held near Saltash at Bush Farm with the kind permission of the landowner Mr Stuart Renfree, and boy was it tough? Last year was the first event for the new team of driver Tim Burt and his winch bitch (NOTE TO ED or winch man all of the drivers refer to their winchmen as “my bitch” but I suspect you will prefer winch man) Jake Lloyd who both work for Simon and Liz Buck at Devon 4X4 and they built a Land Rover 90 to enter in the standard extreme class. In the standard class you are only allowed one traction aid. So for instance you can only have one air locker, one True Trac, or one winch so obviously all of the teams in standard opt for a front winch. I thought it would be an idea to follow them around the course as much as I could, just to see how they have progressed as a team together over the past 12 months. On the Saturday which was the first day of the 2 day event we were dispatched to a very steep wood at Pillaton, and I spent the day slipping and sliding about in the mud and getting caught up in the brambles and falling over trying to get some decent shots, and I managed to hurt my back when I fell backwards into a trench, but somehow I managed to crack on, on foot through the trees. On Saturday evening there were some night sections but thankfully on Sunday when everyone looked whacked out and dog tired, the sections were all on more open field sites within the Bush Farm complex at Saltash.

Tim's Turn

At this year’s De-Cider Tim and Jake came in second place and afterwards I asked Tim to tell me in his own words how this last year had gone for them and this is what he had to tell me. tell me. “We started building the car around August 2008. Our boss Simon Buck at Devon 4X4 found us an old Land Rover 90 in a bit of a sorry state and me and Jake were allowed to work on it after work and at weekends. It's a bog standard 300 TDI manual and after studying the rules of what's allowed in the standard extreme class which we had decided to enter in, we started to build the car. We fitted Old Man Emu suspension all round with a 2 inch suspension lift and on an old set of Mach 5 wheels we tidied up, we put on 35 inch Simex Extreme Tracker tyres. Simon lets us raid the parts bin sometimes and we found a Warn 8274 9.5 winch which had an XP motor which gives it a slightly higher gearing. Nearly all of the bits on our Land Rover are in fact second hand, and a lot of them have come from Simon's old motor. Hardly anything on it is new and we had to do it all on a budget. That De-Cider last year as you know mate was me and Jakes first time out together as a team and we came second, and we also got a couple of stage wins in our class which was pretty good. I have done a lot of all different types of off-roading over the years but it was a bit of a baptism of fire for Jake, but he did all-right. After that in November last year we entered a 2 day event run by 4X4 Adventures near Wellington in Somerset and we won that one. There were lots of trees at that event as it was all held in woodland and Jake is very good in those sort of sections, and he is very fast on the winching”. 

Enter The Wolf

“We were feeling pretty pleased with ourselves, so we decided to enter the Howling Wolf series of extreme challenges and we managed to win that first one, and throughout the last year we have been in with a prize at most of the others as well. This year’s De-Cider was the hardest we have done together though by far. It was a long day on Saturday and on Sunday morning after a night in our tent we were frozen stiff as the temperature dropped to 3 below. By the time we got up on Sunday morning all of us competitors were dead on our feet as we had all found it really tough. It was especially hard for all of us in the standard class, but even the teams with all the gear and winches and lockers on board their motors in the modified class found it hard going. We haven't got any plans to go the modified route ourselves though but I must admit sometimes we have talked about it, and its usually when we are in the middle of really hard stage struggling like mad to get out of it, and if we do it we would use the same truck we've got now. But really Charlie the challenge is a lot more rewarding in the standard class and there's that satisfaction of coming out ahead especially if we manage to beat any of the modified crews with all their extra traction aids. In closing I would just like to say that Simon our boss has been very helpful to Jake and me. Not only does he let us raid the parts bin sometimes, he also lets us have bits and pieces we sometimes find lying around the yard and his advice has been invaluable to us. Let’s face it he has been around the block himself a few times hasn't he Charlie”?