For the ever growing Off Road Team, Christmas comes twice a year. Once when jolly old St Nick does a spot of breaking and entering; the second every September, when they all go on a jolly boys outing to Peterborough for the annual Land Rover Owner (LRO) Show.
This year’s pilgrimage began at lunchtime on Friday 13th. What could possibly go wrong? Plenty apparently! The M5 and A303 were car parks which is fairly normal for a Friday afternoon, Harry had to turn round and head home to collect his forgotten tickets and then there was Rory. Poor Rory. An ACE leak on his towing vehicle meant regular pit stops to top up with steering fluid. Then there was a blow out on his trailer. And then there was another one. Which also took out the wheel bearing too. Poor Rory. Good job he’s handy with a spanner! Radio silence from Pat was a slight concern until the loudness of the Green Fleet truck and the need for ear defenders in the cab was remembered. I wonder what he was thinking about on the journey? Meanwhile… Squid’s trailer began sparking in the darkness. A tyre worn down to the wire rounded off an eventful drive. With the gates closing at 2000 and team members still adrift, it took some sweet talking of an ex Bootie doing gate security to ensure that everyone could get in. Only Matt appeared to have a straight forward run!
Camping time. Tents were far less important than showing off the toys loving built by the team members. Nick’s 110 Defender 3ft in the air and Squid’s tray back demonstrating an epic twist off we’re flanked by Rory’s 90 4C and Disco, Harry’s Puma and Squid’s 90. With the distinctive RNRMMSA awning and flags flying they were set for the weekend. The team also need to confess that there was an undercover spy in the camp in the form of Sarah… Ex Army. Letting the competition in? Shocking!
Day 1 was a sunny affair and the team had the chance to have a bash at the LRO fun challenge. Spaces were limited but the ORT were lucky to be part of the main ring line up for the afternoon. Squid and Harry; Rory and Nick; Pat and Luke. Who would be the victors? The challenge was a simple one after the journey to the show! Drive around the course in a Range Rover P38 4.2 with a giant beach ball balanced in a hoop in the front. Don’t let it fall off. If it does, out jumps the passenger to retrieve it before carrying on. Fastest time wins. Pat and Luke set the bar at 3 minutes 45 seconds. Challenge accepted. The crowd got behind Squid and Harry who found that reaching a hoop 6ft in the air is tricky when you’re vertically challenged! 2 minutes 38 seconds. The final pairing of Rory and Nick were cheered on by LRO magazine’s editor, Neil Waterston. They smashed it. 1 minute 50 seconds. 1st, 2nd and 6th place for the ORT and a massive boost to the profile of the RNRMMSA.
The night entertainment back in the main ring was another highlight of the weekend. Big boys with even bigger toys. Rocks, tyres, drops and plenty of bright lights and smoke to show off the very best off road drivers from across the world. Awesome display.
After a night of little sleep (cheers to the dog that barked and howled all night!) it was time to smile and let the public know what the ORT is all about. There was a huge amount of interest before heading back into the ring for more adventures. Rory and Nutty in the tray back, Squid and Nick in the 110. Another epic fail. Entering the ring through the exit didn’t go unnoticed by the commentator. Better luck next time boys. Being let loose to play was fun. 1000 pairs of eyes watching. Anticipating. Laughing. Oh Nick. Stuck again. It was like being back in Walter’s Arena with the RNRMET, ah the memories! But we’ll save the details for another time. Never to do things by halves the winch on the tray back decided to have an off day and the team had to spring into action. Don’t worry boys, I don’t think anyone noticed! If anyone asks, it was all part of the show…
With the reality of work looming large it was time to pack up and begin the journey back south. Wheels and tyres changed the convoy trundled on its merry way sharing jokes over the CBs and watching the sun set on what had been a memorable weekend.
Same time next year team?