Being an English-organized event, it was not surprising the large number of Land Rovers taking part. Two Toyotas, one Suzuki, and one Mercedes G-Wagen were the only "outsiders" for the weekend. All were extremely well prepared, but the highlight was probably the self-built car from the British father-son duo of Steve and Oliver Lloyd. This 4x4 monster is based on a Range Rover but has axles from a Mercedes Unimog. They modified the axles by shortening them a bit and have even relocated the differentials to boot. Suspension travel is tremendous; the shock absorbers are mounted high on the rollover bar at the back of the car. As further proof, at the front of the vehicle there are two 7-inch protrusions jutting out of the bonnet. The winch attracts a lot of attention too-it's comprised of two Warn 8274s mounted opposite of each other, but using only one drum! Naturally, for this event the organizers demanded a winch on each car, but most teams had a rear winch as well. The three Dutch teams raised an eyebrow or two with a third winch-to secure the top of the car!
The morning started with a good breakfast and (for the English) the ever-so-important tea. For those with a "mental disease," there was coffee or soda available. The vehicles lined up in a circle. On one place, the circle had been broken by two birch trees, between which a purple rope had been strung at a height of roughly 6 1/2 feet-a measuring-rod for the maximum height allowed for the vehicles since one of the seven tasks would take them through the caves. (If a vehicle was too high, the driver was not penalized for not completing this portion of the course.) Four teams competed, and a draw determined the composition of the teams. A team "completed" a segment of the event only after all members of the team had passed the finish line. There were potholes filled with water, plenty of steep, slippery slopes, and here and there you would find mud-in short, nearly every type of terrain to intensify the task for the participants. The climax of the event would be the phenomenal drive through the caves, with candles burning as underground route markers and, if need be, an official pointing you in the right direction.
During the day, drivers were polled for their opinions about the different tasks. Everybody was enthusiastic, with only one complaint: It would have been nicer yet if the tasks had been a little more difficult! The ever-so-polite English organizers apologized for this, but they had a valid reason. The first winch event that Mick organized in Scotland was frequented by less well-prepared vehicles, so the tasks turned out to be too difficult. With that in mind, they prepared the tasks for the French event. To please the competitors, they promised to make the tasks more difficult and longer the next day.