Anoraks Off-road Club at the Last Thamesmead 27 June 1999

The end of an era, the magnificent Off-Road London site at Thamesmead has been sold to developers and this was their last open day. Particularly important to myself and some other Anoraks, as this was the first site that I visited with the group and my first really serious experience of off-roading, just under a year ago. Even more important, it was my first trip after a break following the birth of my daughter Bethany and also following a major service for Daisy (a replacement gearbox and a rebuilt engine, among other things). Lyndon flashes

Anoraks line-up
Dave D, Paul H, Steve, Geoff, Paul B, Interloper, Gordon, Lyndon, Jennie, Dave H

Would you trust this Anorka with your car? We arrived at the Dartford Stakis first, as usual, and were soon joined by Steve (SIIa & Anorak newbie), Gordon (in his son's 90), Jennie (Suzuki), Lyndon (Disco), Hayden (Frontera), Paul B (Suzuki), Dave H (PukiZuki). We led the convoy to site where we met up with Paul H (Homer - bob-tailed Range Rover). Later we were joined by Geoff (Forduki) and Dave D (Jeep).
After having coffee, Hayden left his Frontera Viagra in the car park and off we set. If only I had followed his example! We tested the gearbox on a short but steep descent and it worked perfectly. Unfortunately, at the first climb the rebuilt engine caught me unawares. Normally we would have lost more and more speed as we approached the top and just made it over. This time we went flying up and were airborne when we reached the top. I was too slow getting off the accelerator so when we landed I took a tooth or two out of the front diff. Ouch, ouch, ouch. Free wheeling hubs switched we went back to the carpark and hitched a lift with Steve. I think I broke it

Steve appeared to be enjoying himself as I was thrown around in the back of his SIIa. We found some water to play in and discovered some huge tyres to play 4x4 football with and continued to entertain ourselves in the sand and mud. After lunch and trying to back flip vehicles on a very steep climb, we decided it was about time someone got stuck and searched for some serious mud.

Go for it Paul After some persuausion Paul H was the first to try, and he was right to be reluctant. In to the hole he went, stopped and stalled. Paul stuck
Paul trys again Lyndon pulled him out and he went for another try. He nearly made it as well, but the engine let him down again. Lyndon came back to the rescue. Splash
Hayden Titchmarsh Hayden set about some gardening on the bog to make it easier for others to follow. Geoff showed everyone how it should be done (the Suzuki way, no doubt). Geoff makes it look easy Geoff makes it look easy
Gordon buried Gordon tried the bog next, but managed to bury himself into the bog. Lyndon hooked up to him and unfortunately his lack of suitable recovery points resulted in a lump of chassis, two ropes and a shackle flying through the air and hitting Lyndon's Disco. Better than someones head, though. I suspect Gordon's son will be doing a few more paper rounds to get his 90 fixed. Gordon broken Lyndon dented
Geoff stuck Geoff stuck Having said goodbye to Steve, I hitched a ride with Paul B and we headed for some even more serious mud. Now everyone was getting stuck. Geoff got stuck in front of us but we decided that we could make it if we tried a slightly different route. Unfortunately, we slipped off our different route and ended up stuck too! Paul B gets muddy
Lyndon stuck Meanwhile, around the corner, Lyndon had become truly stuck. Paul H tried pulling him out forwards but could not. He was about to go round to pull him out backwards when Geoff insisted on trying, determined as ever to use the force against the dark side.
Geoff on the pull Geoff on the pull Geoff on the pull
And he did it... The victor ...well done Geoff.
My love of Land Rovers should have made me delete these images. But I am also a loyal Anorak. By this time Dave D had a puncture and the site was closed, so off home we went. I'd barely got Daisy muddy but we still had a damn good day. Farewell, Thamesmead, you will be missed. Barely a splash

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JAG 24th September 2001

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