Well guys this was my first Syncronauts experience. I was a little nervous and intimidated of meeting you lot and putting my van through its paces. It was touch and go whether we were going to make it atall until just hours before. So friday afternoon got the front diff working Yay, failed to make the engine bashplate fit boooo and then discovered a waterleak ! yikes. Let alone actually packing anything. The plan was to to all that the night before, but a friend broke down, so ended up spannering till nightfall. So we arrived very late, tried to sneak in and set up but folks came bounding over to say hello and make us welcome.
It was great to meet you all and put some faces to names. The wealth of information available was overwhelming. I am still processing all the stuff that I learned that weekend. Both van anomalies I didn't know i had and how to actually drive off road.
We split up into groups and set off up the hill. We had Clive and Jenny, Simon and Sharon to guide and look after us. They did a sterling job IMO. Kept us all safe with their quick thinking and actions. I honestly think lives could have been lost if you hadn't been on the ball !
Fiona was very nervous in the back, tears rolling down her cheeks. Lily was bouncing up and down in the front thinking what great fun it was " when are the bumpy bits" and
"sliding - yeah, I like sliding can we do sliding Dad its fun" " NO ! Its dangerous" Crazy Child.
The little one managed to sleep all the way round pretty much. Unbelievable.
So going up seemed pretty straightforward for us. Max infront of us struggled for grip, but our nearly new mud terrains seemed to cope well. Well that and pure driver skill ofcourse
Oh and marshals telling me exactly where to put the wheels too.
It was that last slope before the top that was something of a wakeup call. Rob had set off up the slope in his lovely 16" camper conversion, I wated at the bottom to give him some room. This was my first experience of "failed ascent". When he had failed to reach the top of a fairly formidable grass and mud slope the was being irrigated by the sideways rain. I don't know if he had engaged reverse ? I do know he came hurtling down backwards at a rate on knots.
I watched all 4 wheels lock and the van continue accelerating down the slope with us at the bottom
Fortunately for us the camber went of a bit sideways, and his direct vector for decent took him away from us and towards the fence...AND a spectator admiring the view looking the other direction. Screams from the marshals and disaster was averted. As I said this was a REAL eye opener to me. I had failed to really consider just what happens when 2 tons goes sledging
It was our turn next. I really didn't fancy a repeat performance especially with my Wife and Kids on board. So err a little tense I lined up again, got as far back as I could and gunned it up the slope in G. Phew made ! BFGs to the rescue me finks. + G to ensure it stayed on boost.
Once at the top and regrouped Clive suggested that he take us for a bit of a "drive around" I got a front seat and a handle to hold onto
It was certainly educational. I had no idea that Syncros were that capable and robust. A couple of demo's of "failed ascent". - Sheeet what happened - blink of an eye we have gone from uphill to down, forward to reverse, failure to success. I wasn't convinced that I'd be capable of pulling that manoeuvre off smoothly. Purely down the the err notchy gerchange in my van -
Traversing - upto 45 degrees ! and even then "it probably wouldn't roll, but slide in these conditions" Eeeek. So wheels steering slightly uphill, not too much or you have no control. Turn down hill if you loose it. Then onto descents with feet of the pedals, no sudden movements or braking. I'm sure you guys know all this stuff, but for me it was a very valuable lesson. One i'd get to practice on Sunday, when I had a chance to play and fail and try and get into reverse while starting to go sideways. EEEEEEEEEEEeeeeeeek. I got to practice it a few times and seemed to be getting better at it. Handy to have a vast area to run out into backwards.
It was by far the most extreme off roading I have done so far. The bimbling down greenlanes is not quite so adrenalin pumping.
It was great to finally see some other syncros and poke about a bit, look at all the different set ups, wheel carriers, jerry cans, engines,solar panels,fridges......and Dai's - which really sits in a league of it own. And hear some travellers tales and ripping yarns round the fire, maybe should have gone to bed before 4 am though
Fantastic to have your input on my heap. Only a little tutting and shaking of heads. Mainly positive input , help and advice. A Huge thankyou to Andy and Alex for tinkering with my Tdi and diagnostic computer skills. Its such relief to finaly get some sort of overall understanding of how the Tdi works. And that mine hasn't been thrown in too badly. I hadn't got to the engine yet, only doing remedial work so far. Its like the veil has been lifted over the dark arts of computer sorcery. Thanks Guys.
So it seems my van was a petrol converted to diesel. The fuel tank is from a pickup, cobbled up to work with a homebrewed funky filler pipe
Bashplate is off the petrol and nothing like the diesel. Bits to do with the Tdi (tomorrow).
The French seemed to have no fear, chucking their vans through the worst of it even though they are a long way from home. Road tyres are a good spectator sport off road. Not so good if your driving however.
Great to meet you all. We all had a good time, Fiona actually seems keen to go greenlaning in Devon ( Thankyou Mrs Axeman
Sorry I'm hopeless with names and there are to many take in and thank personaly.
Thanks for making us welcome.
Cheer Rich -
PS some Pics for ya.
A small gathering at the top - damn you can even see the filler from that distance !
Russels I believe. Some impressive - textbook failed ascent driving.
See some blue sky !
A slight predicament but still smiling
So I just liked the photo with that moody sky
There She is - My trusty stead - still in one piece hooray
The Diesel Doctors at work. Big up Guys
Mmm mooody campsite shot
is it a bird, is it a plane - no its Super Syncro !
Just to put it in perspective.
Waiting nervously for the off.
The enthusiastic co driver and video operator (everytime you get to an interesting section you get a great shot of crocs or sky
Well what can I say, I learned loads from you guys. Thanks for your time and patience and encouragement. We all had a great time and look forward to seeing you at the next one.