4x4 course

Sunday, May 11, 2008 - East Grinsted - added by Steve

We decided it would be pertinent to educate ourselves in the way of the 4x4 driver!

After looking around on the web for various options I made contact with Mark Eichner, owner of Leisure Pursuits, an off-road training, adventure and corporate entertainment company. We arranged a day of classroom theory and field training focusing on the kinds of terrain we will be encountering during our travels.

What I didn't know was that Mark is the preeminent expert in the UK for all things 4x4. He chaired the committee that wrote the guidelines used by BORDA (the British Off Road Driving Association), and frequently travels around the globe teaching 4x4 skills in HEAT courses (Hostile Environment Awareness Training) for army personnel in war-zones and aid-workers undertaking relief work in remote areas.

As it turned out we were very lucky to be able to benefit from his vast experience, as he was due to be in Burma training aid-workers there helping Burmese displaced by the recent cyclone. The junta's efforts in preventing foreign aid-workers from entering Burma meant he wasn't, and was available to train us instead!

We had a fantastic day learning driving techniques for the various types of terrain we will encounter, and for when our newly acquired skills fail us, recovery techniques  to get ourselves out again! Off-road mud driving, failed hill-starts, axle-twisters and some seriously fun 4x4 driving was enjoyed by all.

We learnt about more recovery equipment than could shake a stick at, and even what to do in a situation that should mean you're buggered, such as cracking a half-shaft or getting a flat and having no spare tubes, so that we can still manage to drive out of the situation and find somewhere to get the problem properly fixed!


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