Challenges tackled at 4X4 park

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Drivers tackle the terrain at the Mid Canterbury 4X4 Park, which was showcased as part of the Wheels Week programme on Sunday.

Big ruts, tricky terrain and tight corners provided exciting challenges for drivers at a public open day at the Mid Canterbury 4X4 Park on Sunday.

The off-road paradise, located at the end of Cochranes Road, has developed and expanded since opening in September 2019.

Current challenges force drivers to steer at almost impossible sideways angles, test their traction, momentum and control on steep hill ascents and descents, and challenge them to take slippery turns through deep mud.

The 4×4 park is tucked away in the trees near the Ashburton River and on an 8ha section of land administered by Environment Canterbury.

It has been carved out and is looked after by the Mid Canterbury Four Wheel Drive Club and provides a year-round track for four wheel drivers.

It also encourages drivers to stay out of the Ashburton River bed during the months when protected birds are nesting.

Club president Steve Adam said the Mid Canterbury 4X4 Park had grown over the past 20 months or so and was shaping up to be a fantastic facility.

A digger supplied by ACL had enabled volunteers to carve out a two kilometre track and develop a skills area, he said.

A lot of old man’s beard and blackberry had been removed and the park was still evolving.

“Next year we have plans to expand the skills park, but we want to tackle things in small bites.”

The club had a vehicle recovery challenge lined up for the future and was working on its own environment plan.

Mr Adam said members met twice monthly for club days and the group was made up of like-minded, sociable people from all backgrounds.

“We have day trips and weekend trips to Otago and the West Coast and we get to see some amazing country that most people never get to,” he said.

The club had a membership of 46, including 14 new recruits in the past 12 months, which was very encouraging.

Mr Adam said ACL and Hireworx were key supporters.

The 4X4 park is open year round during daylight hours and is free to explore.

Both the park and the Mid Canterbury Four Wheel Drive Club have Facebook pages with updates and information for members.

-By Mick Jensen