TORRENTIAL RAIN greeted 10 teams as they arrived at Land Rover's Gaydon test facility near Warwick for last weekend's ACO 4x4 Construction Challenge final.
The downpour continued as the competition kicked off and 30 of construction's toughest ran into the night with only head-torches and GPS compasses to help locate their sleeping accommodation for Friday night.
Fortunately, the weather gods were smiling and by 5am the next day - the start of a full day's competition - the skies were clear. And having reassembled their Range Rovers against the clock, the teams prepared for a day of off-road driving, mountain biking, and orienteering to test teamwork skills, problem solving and initiative.
Highlights included the 'Splashdown' event, in which teams pushed a Land Rover Defender to its limits in mud and water, and 'Hit and Miss' which saw drivers negotiate a rough terrain course including a near impassable dry river bed. Other events included '0-60' in which each competitor had to accelerate, brake, park and manoeuvre their 2.5tonne machine with speed and precision and crossbow target shooting.
The finale saw teams compete head to head on the Driving Challenge course designed to bring together all the teamwork, driving and initiative skills learned and honed through out the day.
After a fiercely competitive event the Cyril Sweet team emerged as clear winners. The combination of passion and commitment from the team - not least from captain Pier Cottee - took them to victory in all but one event during the weekend. She and her team members Tim Tapper and Christopher Joyce won a once in a lifetime experience trip tracking wolves in the Ukraine.
Second place went to the Mace team of Trevor Bonnage, Dave Wand and Simon Braithwaite who each won a Claude Butler mountain bike. They narrowly defeated the third place team from Buro Happold of Craig Butterworth, Julian Sheppard and Chris Rose who went home with remote control Land Rover models.
The whole ACO 4x4 Construction Challenge event raised over £6,000 for handicapped children's charity SADA and donations are still coming in.
INFOPLUS www. nceplus.co.uk has more pictures of the final.
For further information on the 4x4 Construction Challenge contact Peter Ridgway and Santi Aliguer, ACO Technologies, ACO Business Park, Hitchin Road, Shefford, Beds SG17 5TE, tel: (01462) 816666
Winners Cyril Sweet: Pier Cottee, Tim Tapper, Christopher Joyce
Second place Mace: Trevor Bonnage, Dave Wand, Simon Braithwaite
Third place Buro Happold: Craig Butterworth, Julian Sheppard, Chris Rose
Best shot Craig Butterworth, Buro Happold
Driving finesse Sussana Han, Balfour Beatty
Speed challenge ADL, Allen Hill, David Stevens, David Atkinson
Faithful & Gould Moss The Environment Agency ADL Balfour Beatty Mayer Brown Arup