What’s the Adventure?
Given that I knew the Swedish Offroad Adventure (SOA) would involve a fair amount of clambering over rocks, you’d think I’d have taken the time to fit diff guards to the axles on the project Defender.
But I didn’t – and within 100 metres of leaving the gravel road and entering the first trail, it was nearly game over. Crunch! I smacked the axle casing into a hidden rock. If I’d hit it a bit harder, the casing would have been pushed into the crownwheel, stopping the wheels from turning – but I got lucky that time.
Lesson learned – keep a good eye on where you’re going and don’t just think you can follow in the wheel tracks of the lead vehicle, especially if that vehicle happens to be a highly modified Jeep running on 35-inch tyres.
Our Favourite Bit?
Given how much the others had struggled, I had made the right decision. The bolts on one of Peter’s brake calipers had come loose and the caliper was wrenched off among the rocks – fortunately, the trail leaders have spill kits and extensive toolkits, so the spilled fluid was mopped up and a temporary fix was generated by using a couple of bolts from his diff housing.
David didn’t have too much difficulty, but the drawback of having 35-inch tyres on a 90 is that you can’t have as flexible suspension as one on normal-size tyres, so wheels were lifting more often than they would have on mine. At least it wasn’t bashing the chassis as frequently.
A boulder drive came next. It wasn’t a selection of small rocks but one huge rock, the size of an industrial unit – covered with a thin veneer of wet moss. Walking up it was all but impossible and winches were essential as a safety precaution. Peter drove up without winch assistance, the tyres turning slowly to avoid slipping. David and Claes needed a little outside help, but both got up without problems.
Making it out alive
Being the final day, the driving was a bit tamer, but still demanded the utmost attention. Todd led, taking in more boulders – rock sliders were definitely a requirement. A steep descent had the SOA guides bringing the vehicles through, and Peter’s big Jeep couldn’t quite get round a tree – the back had to be winched round. From there on, it
was relatively easy going and a good wind-down before the event lunch at a local hall prior to the long haul home.
Most of the vehicles parked outside had dents and scrapes of some kind, and some had missing lights and windows – so I had done particularly well. I could have done with taller tyres and having prepared the Defender a bit better, but it was well worth making the journey.
Next time, I’ll be better prepared.
The full story can be found in the December 2011 issue of LRO. Download a digital issue, or order a back issue by calling 01858 438884.