Author Archives: TwoSpannersHQ

Adventure S-1 Off Road Rally (Sat 9th Oct 2021)

Blending the love of driving with the ultimate challenge of precise navigation, the Adventure S-1 tests your skills over a day. It is not a race for speed, but a unique and demanding event based on the elements of headings, hidden checkpoints, time, and distance using maps, compass, and roadbook.

 
The course features quiet public roads and byways for a brilliant but challenging day out. Expect to spend 70% of the day off-tarmac.
 

Inspiration:

 

A few years ago Stuart & Simon signed up for the Santana Trophy. 

The Santana Trophy is a tribute to rally raids like the Paris-Dakar or Camel Trophy.

It is an event made up of 7 stages (200Km) driving Land Rover’s, navigation, orientation, driving-ability tests and rescues are all part of the day to day of the event, all of this set in the spectacular landscapes of Morocco.

We have taken this event as an inspiration for Adventure S-1, bringing you a taste of experience and adventure.

 
Vehicles:
 

– Any 4×4 vehicle or enduro/adventure bike

– Road Legal (Tax, MOT & insurance)

– Full tank of fuel

 

Crew:

 

– Full UK driving license (for driver/rider)

– No previous experience required

– Ability to read an ordnance survey map

– Ability to use a compass

– Ability to plot a heading

 

Date & Time:

 

– Saturday 9th Oct

– Registration 9:30am

– End time 4:00pm

 

Location:

 

– Start Cotswold Airport, AV8 Cafe car park (Cirencester, Gloucestershire, GL7 6BA. UK)

– Grid Ref: ST 9588 9636

Latitude: 51° 40′ 1.20″ N
Longitude: -2° 03′ 18.00″ W

– End Upavon, Wiltshire

– Total distance 80-100 miles 

 

Cost:

 

– £45 per vehicle

– Challenge pack included

– Registration Tea & Coffee for 2 people

– Registration bacon/sausage sandwich for 2 people

 

Notes:

 

This is not a race. There is a prize for the team with the most points.

Adventure-S1 9th Oct

Single vehicle for Adventure S-1 Off Road Rally (Sat 9th Oct 2021)

£45.00

Does my Land Rover need mud tyres?

BF Goodrich AT KO2 boots

 

Emilia (Defender 110) has had BF Goodrich AT KO2 boots almost since day 1 of ownership, as it was one of the first things I upgraded. They have been great tyres and I was convinced I had made the right choice. She has driven across the Sahara dunes, across the water stricken trails of the Strata Florida in Wales. Not once has it got stuck.

 
That was until the other weekend when we tackled the Trans European Trail (TET) around Salisbury Plain. It had been raining solid for a week so to say it was a bit muddy might be to underplay the boot sucking lanes that were before us. Day 1 was a wet lap of the plain, where we picked and choose which puddles/lakes we attempted.
 
 

North towards Swindon

 

Day 2, we headed north towards Swindon and the trail was pretty good with metalled tracks up until we entered a field. The trail cut across the field and it had obviously been a regular run for the farmers tractors, making the ruts deep and a week of rain and you have a Defender killer.

 

First across this 100m stretch was the Disco 3 on muds, it makes it but just. Next was a Disco 2 on road tyres which made it about 20 metres before getting stuck, an easy pull out backwards.

 
 
Next up was Emilia (Defender 110), which got about 50 metres in before you get that familiar slowing feeling before the wheels start spinning. I wasn’t just stuck I was properly stuck, momentum had got me far enough in so that all 4 wheels were sunk and without traction, no amount of forward/backward wheel turning could find traction.
 
 
First action was to break out the mud/sand ladders, my sand ladders are solid and are not like modern plastic version which have tapered ends, as a result it’s hard to get them under the tyres. The result was that the tyres could not bite the ladder to climb up onto them. Now covered in mud, I am thinking I need to put gloves in my recovery bag.
 
Defender 110 stuck in the mud

Pull it out backwards

 

Next is to see if we can pull it out backwards. The Disco 3 finds a route back to get behind and we stick on a strap and give it a tug, I have a towing eye which goes through the chassis which I thought would take a lot of force. Needless to say I was proved wrong, the Disco 3 was able to pull the bolt through the chassis and rip a 6” gash through the chassis then ping the towing eye, bolt and shackles into the back door of the Disco 3. Another note and lesson learnt, spread the load across two points by using a bridle strop and stick a winch blanket over your strop to dampened it if something does let go.

 

We then try pulling from the front and we get it moving and get it out.

Why did it get stuck when the Disco 3 didn’t? Stuart in the Disco 3 puts it down to driving ability, I suspect the real reason is the tyre choice. The all terrains are great for lots of scenarios but once they are full of mud you may as well have slicks on. Even once I was out of the hole and back on a decent track I was still sliding around because the tyres were just full.

 

The thing about greenlaneing in the UK is it rains a lot and we therefore get lots of mud so although this is the first time I have been stuck it will not be the last.

So if anyone wants to swap 5 x BF Goodrich AT KO2’s for some BF muds then I am in the market

Strata Florida off-road

7 mile off-road mecca

 

Strata Florida is a 7 mile mecca for off-road enthusiasts, named after the Strata Florida Abbey which is a former Cistercian abbey positioned at the start/end point of the course . The Abbey is located in west Wales just outside Pontrhydfendigaid, near Tregaron in the county of Ceredigion. 

Strata Florida Abbey

 

We started from the Abbey (which is signposted off the main road) and headed up into the forrest above the Abbey. Here is where you loose the tarmac road and head off road. Note that there are forestry metalled roads for the first section that the Strata Florida criss crosses (you don’t want to take any of these, stay on the rough stuff).

 

How technical is Strata Florida?

 

There is nothing on the course that is particularly difficult or technical, what will make it difficult is the weather conditions and time of year. There are a few places that are a bit more technical like the bomb hole but most can be driven around if required. However, there is plenty of water on the route and I expect at all times of the year, although depth’s will vary. We did it in February and the water level was up to the bumper on a Land Rover Defender with a 2″ lift.

We did it in a group of 3 Land Rover’s, one Defender, one Disco 2 and one Disco 3 and none of them had any real issues with the water or the terrain. In the Defender I did 80% of it in high range and only dropped into low range about twice, once for the bomb hole decent and the second for a rock crawling section.

Strata Florida Start point
Strata Florida Abbey
Strata Florida Bomb Hole

 

Water & Fords

 

You cross 12 fords on the 7 mile stretch but at times it’s difficult to see what is a ford and what is just the track full of water. If your Land Rover is anything like mine (leaky) you will want to wear wellies.

 

Bomb Hole

 

The  photo’s don’t do the bomb hole justice and it’s a lot steeper when you are stood at the top looking down, it’s got a to be a 45 degree angle. Going up it would be very straight forward, going down is the more tricky option, because of the incline you are likely to catch the back end when you hit the bottom and then pull away. Both the Disco’s caught their tow bar and the Disco 2 on standard tyres and height caught its rear bumper as well.

Bearmach roof rack – any good?

The Bearmach alloy slimline roof rack is it any good? It is modelled on the Frontrunner slimline roof rack so looks wise it definitely looks the part but that’s about where the similarities end. It looks like Bearmach no longer sell it which I guess tells us quite a lot about it’s success for them.


Cost wise it was on a par with Flatdog’s version  (which is also similar to the Frontrunner version)  if not a bit cheaper at approximately £600.

The fundamental issue with this roof rack is that the design was not thought through, it’s as if they copied the outline design of the frontrunner but with no understanding of how a roof rack is actually used. It has the profile of the frontrunner or flatdog’s roof rack but none of the utility, I wonder if they ever tried to use their own roof rack and attach anything to it? My guess is they didn’t.

Slot size

 

Let’s take the Flatdog slimline it has 13 slats across (on a Defender 110 version), there is a single channel down the middle of each slat that fits an 8mm bolt, this slat slot allows all the peripherals to attach to the rack. The Bearmach version has two slots down the edge of each side, I am not sure the size of the slot but can tell you an 8mm or 7mm bolt will not fit but a 6mm does but still spins around. Where as the Flatdog one is an exact fit for an 8mm bolt which means it doesn’t spin, this is really important when trying to bolt things to it. 

Slot access

 

Since you need to use the slots to attach anything to the rack you therefore need to be able to slide a bolt in. With flatdog they have a 8mm gap in the middle of the slat so you can drop a bolt in and slide it along. Bearmach didn’t think of that so each slat has to be removed to get the bolt in by undoing the two bolts at the end to then lift it out and slide your bolt in (not a quick job).

Slot solution

 

My solution to the slot access problem was to drill a hole in each slot big enough to fit the 6mm bolt head, so you can drop a bolt in without having to take the slat off.

 

Rack peripherals

 

As far as I can tell Bearmach never sold anything helpful for attaching things to the roof rack. Everyone else has accessories for their racks that help with this task but not Bearmach. For example I have a roof tent but no way of attaching it from Bearmach, but lucky for us Flatdog does a bunch of accessories for theirs that just about fit onto the Bearmach rack.

Is it recommended?

 

In a word NO. If you don’t mind doing lots of alterations to fit things then maybe it would work for you but for those that want to be able to just bolt things to it then this is not the rack for you.

Salisbury Axle diff play

How much play should there be in the diff of a Salisbury Axel. We took the diff pan off the Defender 110 to have a look, from what other’s are saying this looks to be normal. The other good news is there were no lumps of metal in the oil that came out or sat in the pan, the gears and teeth look good as well.


Just a note, you probably want to have a spare gasket (about £5) for the diff when you take the pan off as it is likely to be warn. Also don’t forget to drain the oil out of the drain plug at the bottom otherwise you will have a drive full of diff oil, you need 2.23 ltrs of 80W/90 to put back in it once you have finished your check.