Mac 4X4 Challenge 2016

Mac 4X4 Challenge 2016 – By Richard Johnstone JGS4x4

First of all I’d like to thank everyone who kindly sponsored us, giving so generously to Macmillan Cancer Support, all funds raised go directly to the charity. One in three people are affected so every little really helps to make a difference. Thank You.

The event was a long weekend (For us Thursday 3 March to Monday 7 March) looking for code boards and grid references in the borders of Scotland.
This year’s event started at Rock UK in Newcastleton. Booking in and Scrutineering of the vehicles, which I’m glad to say we passed not a problem.

Drivers briefing was held and the film crew picked the Tomcat to be a film car for the event so a camera was mounted between myself and my co-driver. Car 01 set off at 1500, as we were Team 45 our set of time was 1545 having been handed the brown envelope containing our instructions. Quick plot of grid references and were then driving into the woods to find ‘code boards’ (Code boards were 2, 3 or 4 letters and or numbers on number plates, some on green card) hidden near and far from the track, in the undergrowth, behind rocks and even in the ditch under water. The idea being you note them down in order you pass and as many as you can for points. The film crew were at every stage filming the event and Antony stopped us for a quick interview during the stage. (The footage will be on the television Friday 25 March 2016 7.45pm on Motors TV)

After crawling through the woods it was back to base, unusual that this year as the event was run from one location and we had cabins to stay in too. (Last time I competed we slept in the vehicles) The Friday evening was a Kaylee with a surprise navigation exercise thrown in for good measure.

Saturday was an early start and road trip via Gretna Green to the AE forest stage, once in the forest we were code board hunting again in the snow toped mountains. Beautiful surroundings and tracks before we headed back to base for a refuelling stop then the night scatter section. Again we were working from grid references and os (Ordnance Survey) maps finding our way through the forest looking for code boards in very sneaky hiding spots typical of the Mac 4X4 organisers. During the stage we saw the grass freezing before our eyes and even our windows freezing up.

Sunday we headed north for the last forest stage winding our way through the snow covered mountain on forest tracks, some boggy patches, passing pine trees, windmills and some large wood stacks. Once the stage had finished we headed down one of the best winding, twisting and turning driving roads I’ve ever had the pleasure of motoring down to the final check point, handing in the code board sheet we headed to the Hotel via Honister pass raising to 1167 feet at the summit and gradients of 1 in 4, with some new found friends Tom and Kevin who run Terrafirma Training, Millbrook off road Centre in Kildare Ireland and KJ Land Rover.

Rachel who was behind a camera for the event opened her mouth saying she couldn’t get into the Tomcat so quickly money was thrown at the chance to challenge her to get in, belt up with headset on and back out again within 60 seconds. She did and we have video evidence to prove it more importantly more money was raised for Macmillan Cancer which is the reason we all come together for this event.

In true spirit of the event Team 28 who’s Discovery 1 decided to give up every gear in the R380 box except 3rd, despite all odds they persevered and completed the event winning spirit of the Mac award.

Thanks to Selwyn, Peter and the team, not forgetting the AA crew who gave their time, Rachel who did a great job with the photography and Anthony and Kim for their film work.

Richard Johnstone (Team 45)

The link is to a promo video the film crew have put together of the event.

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