Down and dirty in mud and the glug

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The mud was flying, tyres were spinning and traction and momentum tested at the christening of a new dedicated four-wheel drive park near Ashburton on Saturday.

The Mid Canterbury 4×4 Park will provide off-road fun and challenges for drivers and is at the southern end of Cochranes Road.

The 8ha site has been developed after discussions between Environment Canterbury (ECan) and the Mid Canterbury Four Wheel Drive Club and is aimed at providing another driving option for four-wheel enthusiasts.

Mid Canterbury Four Wheel Drive Club secretary John McDonald said the new park would give drivers a convenient and accessible alternative to tracks in the Ashburton River bed, which for a number of months of the year were off limits to protect nesting birds.

The riverbed was also in flood for part of the year and was too soft to drive at other times.

The club had been in discussions with ECan over the last four years and those discussions had been “ramped up” over the last two years.

Both Donna Field and Ryan Dynes, from ECan, had been supportive in establishing the dedicated driving area, said Mr McDonald.

ECan had wired-roped the allocated 8ha block and in less than than a day a digger had established a basic track.

The loop track would evolve over time and featured a number of driving challenges, including deep ruts and mud.

“Getting in is easy enough, but getting out is not so easy.”

Driver numbers will be monitored through a track cam at the entry/exit to the park.

Mid Canterbury Four Wheel Drive Club president Marcus Ewart said the rules of the 4 x 4 park were at the entrance. No motorbikes, bikes or quads are allowed.