4x4 Day - Saunders Gorge
As CMI Toyota service and sales staff members, there is an expectation that we will have a broad knowledge and understanding of the products that we sell and service. The recent CMI Toyota 4x4 day was a great opportunity for us to refresh this knowledge/understanding and improve our four wheel driving skills at the same time. It was also a great opportunity to take some models off road and out into the field and put them through their paces.
Saunders Gorge Sanctuary provided the venue, TMCA assisted with a FJ Cruiser and 200 Series Land cruiser, a couple of vehicles were sourced from within the company and together with the staff that had their own 4wd’s we managed to gather twenty cars for the day.
We were joined by the crew from Opposite Lock 4x4 who were supporters of the day from its inception, and after a quick roll call and UHF check we were off to the picturesque Saunders Gorge Sanctuary. We were greeted at around 10am by Brenton and Nadene Newman, owners of the park who gave us a rundown on the finer details of the stunning Eagles View 4x4 trail. Importantly they also gave us a few updates on some recent track changes that have increased the difficulty of certain sections of the trail. Everybody was recommended to drop the tyre pressure to around 24psi to cope with some of the rocks and we then split the group into two in an effort to reduce congestion on the trail and allow the people that had not been off road before to try a few things with the team from Opposite Lock.
It wasn’t long before the group encountered their first challenge; a steep 4 metre climb consisting of deep offset ruts that would have most drivers fearing they would tip their vehicle backwards! The challenge enabled us to test the ability of the Toyota vehicles including the new LandCruiser 200 series as well as the ever reliable 1996 Hilux Diesel 4x4, owned by Service Tech Andrew Locker.
The park provides great driving trails with a variety of challenges including loose rocks and sand as well as steep descents over rock ledges with no line of sight from the vehicle to see what is over the bumps. With such track diversity it provided the perfect opportunity to try out some of the features fitted to the new range of Toyota 4wd vehicles including the descent control and crawl functions. Needless to say the group was suitably impressed with the extra capabilities that these modern systems offer drivers.
There were more than a few stressed our faces once the group had (finally!) made it down from Rocky Point Lookout. This entire section was very steep, loose and rocky and took some serious negotiation but it was little challenge for the clearance of the mighty land cruisers!
Time was soon escaping us so we headed to the bottom of yet another steep drop off into a sheltered gully, flankedbyhuge gumtrees and rocky creek beds. As a side note, this location made for a great lunch stop!.
After lunch we spent some time tacking some great hill climbs and a dry creek bed that twists its way along the bottom of the jagged cliff faces dotted with ancient gumtrees.
By 4pm most of the team had completed the circuit of the property and it was time to head back to the main office for refreshments. Opposite Lock were very generous and provided goodie bags to all who attended and a few ‘best of’ awards for the somewhat less than derisible attempts at the track!
It was a great day! Special mention and thanks to the following people:
- Co-ordinators – Colin Baker & Anthony Searle.
- Opposite Lock 4x4 Team – Richard, Franz and Justin.
- Saunders Gorge Sanctuary – Brenton and Nadene Newman
- TMCA – Trevor Greer
- BBQ – Jason Greer
- Photos – Brandon Baker and Richard Warin