Wilbinga Sand Training

Trip Leader: Richard Nicholls

When: 25th March 2012

Location: Wilbinga WA 6041

Participants: Trevor Theunissen, Rob & Julie Nankiville, Malcolm & trish harrison, David & Tracy Jones, Craig Perry, Richard King, Bruce & Judith Brinkley, Peter Cole, Roger Freegard & Knocker, Bob McPherson, Craig & Maria Buckingham & Maria, Izzabella & Jorja, Greg Aldegheri & Sam Norgard.

The day began with an 8:30am meeting time at the BP service station in Merriwa.  Coffees purchased, the usual banter about 4WDing and all its glory prevailed, then we were mustered together by Richard N (our trainer) for the day’s briefing.

The destination was the sand dunes of Wilbinga and after a short drive to a suitable spot on the side of the road, we all listened to the benefits of airing down, equipment needed to do the job properly and how it was necessary for each individual to decide the best pressures to be running in the tyres, depending on the car, weight carried in the form of plump passengers, tyre construction etc etc.etc.  Most of us just heard “18 to 20 psi” as a good starting point and then we would experiment with lower pressures as the day went on and we found more challenging tracks. (Richard loves it when everybody listens so closely but as time will tell even the more experienced ones should always pay attention, it’s not about the pressure so much but the length of the tyre track.)

Soon we all drove onto a soft turn-around circle on the edge of a sand dune that climbed up hill slightly.  It was the first chance for us to see if the cars could handle the soft stuff.  Didn’t take much to realise that for most of us 18psi was not going to cut it and we did our first pressure drop down to around 15psi. Such strenuous work.  Great chance for morno’s. (DOH! See previous note )

Next it was into the sand dunes.  We found a small hill climb and spent the next couple of hours playing on it and experimenting with different speeds, drivers and tyre pressures.  Much was learnt and just quietly, between the Landcruiser and Patrol drivers, we decided that the Club would be a lot better off with a few less Pajeros! (Trevor promises to pay for the magazine printing and postage if our sponsor drops outs due to his cheeky comments. Whilst on demographics I noticed that the reason the Toyotas and Nissans went up the hills better was because the owners didn’t care as much about their vehicles, with the exception of Trevor who was clearly torn between damaging his vehicle and his pride…it was painful to watch. )

A good long lunch break was spent on the beach front for most of us, but our fearless leader was called off for another duty of unbogging a stuck car. Personal training? ( Yes indeed it was a bit of one on one time recovery training with John Jr. He managed to balance his Patrol perilously on the peak of a sand dune for the purpose of demonstrating that when all 4 wheels are off the ground you aint goin’ nowhere buddy. I am pretty sure this little venture will earn him an honourable mention come award time at the next AGM.)

Next it was on to Hill Descent training followed by a Beach Run.  Again plenty of chances were given to play and experiment and Richard provided valuable coaching over the two way as we continued to show that we still had a lot to learn.

The final challenge came when trying to exit the beach up a rutted, soft sand hill.  Many had a number of attempts to get up this and so took a lot longer for us all to get off the beach than expected. (This hill was nick named “The Milk Shaker” and for reasons of public decency I will not disclose why but let’s just say you had to have been there.) 

Eventually all good things must come to an end and we reached the last bit of track where we pumped up tyres in readiness for the long trip home.

Fantastic day Richard.  Enjoyed and appreciated by all.

Trevor Theunnisen

(Notes by Trev and Judith with annotations in red by Paul to keep the Ba$%^ds honest)

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