16th – 17th May 2015
I thought I’d get an early start for Saturday morning and drive up Friday night but so did everyone else and I was still the last to arrive after somehow losing the way through Paterson and going the long round! I did finally arrive about 9pm and set up camp – in the rain (ably assisted by my wife Michelle who was along for the ride and “observing”).
Sat morning dawned bright and you guessed it WET. The day started with Neale and Bob explaining what we were in for over the weekend and a bit of general info about the lease.
We started with a water crossing at the lease where Jackie bravely volunteered to check the depth in her trusty Crocs! All vehicles managed the crossing without a problem but this would have been a different story a few weeks earlier during the floods!
Back to the camp area to practice some stall start recoveries on the hill above the café and then some tyre changing. Jo kindly volunteered to be the victim with a flat and what sounded like a simple procedure was actually quite complex given the rough, wet ground, limited equipment and lack of machinery! This was a team exercise and after much discussion about jack quality and positioning the “flat” was changed successfully.
Next to some snatch recovery exercises in the slippery paddock. Each vehicle took it in turn to “snatch” another out of a “bog”. After learning the correct snatching procedure with 2 dampers, using the recovery points correctly and not standing astride the “live“ strap we all passed with flying colours.
After a short lunch break under the welcome shelter of the café we headed into the forest to practice some of our new learnt techniques. I won’t attempt to retrace our steps along the many and varied tracks but we headed out the back gate and climbed and weaved our way through the forest. Many of the tracks were in very poor condition compared to the last trip I had done – some were no longer passable due to the recent flooding.
Adrian’s vehicle “developed” a flat tyre in the middle of a track which the team successfully changed. We continued driving along the forest trails and finished the afternoon back at the lease. Dinner was a sumptuous feast supplied by the Club and catered by many hands eaten around the warmth of the campfire. Just when we were all getting cosy it was time to embark on a night drive back in the forest. Each vehicle had a trainer on board for this activity.
On one particular steep section of track we got to practice snatching – but this time it was not a drill! Unfortunately I was the unlucky victim this time. Somehow I didn’t have enough “berries” to climb the track and the tyres quickly filled with mud making traction a virtual impossibility. Adrian was the only vehicle in front and had already disappeared out of sight so had to reverse quite a distance to get back to me. As I sat in the vehicle, Neale and the other guys all installed my recovery equipment and I was quickly pulled to flatter ground. Needless to say everyone else made it up the same section without issue!
Back to camp and the DTU training was officially complete. Thanks to the DTU Team and the rest of the crew who put on an excellent, informative and enjoyable training day.