Buf­falo Soldiers Club events

Land Rover AFRICA Magazine - - CLUB PROFILE -

With the Sun­shine coast to one side and the Wild coast on the other, East Lon­don is South Africa’s only river port, and the gate­way to some ex­tra­or­di­nary places. com­monly known as Buf­falo City, East Lon­don is steeped in cul­ture, his­tory, wildlife and beaches with ac­tiv­i­ties such as whale and dolphin watch­ing, bird­ing, hik­ing, surf­ing and fish­ing to keep you busy. Now, thanks to the Land Rover own­ers club Bor­der chapter, you can add Land Rovers and off- road ad­ven­tures to that list.

Where it all be­gan

The Bor­der Land Rover Own­ers’ Club ( LROC) was es­tab­lished in 1992 by 12 en­thu­si­asts in East Lon­don who had one thing in com­mon – their love of the great out­doors and Land Rovers. They started as an in­de­pen­dent club but, in Septem­ber 2010, they of­fi­cially be­came the Bor­der Chapter of the Land Rover Own­ers’ Club of South­ern Africa.

Mem­ber­ship

The club con­sists of 30 mem­bers and in­cludes the en­tire range of Land Rover ve­hi­cles, from a Se­ries 1 to older De­fender 110s, Pu­mas, Dis­cos ( 1, 2, 3 and 4) and even brand- new Range Rovers. One of the mem­bers also has a minia­ture De­fender which runs on bat­tery power. It was built by a dad for his kids, and it’s al­ways a big hit at events. Be­ing a small club, their av­er­age turnout per event is about six to eight ve­hi­cles with their best turnout so far, be­ing 17 ve­hi­cles.

Mem­ber­ship re­quire­ments

Ac­cord­ing to club chair­man Kevin Gravett, any­one liv­ing within the bor­der area is wel­come to join.“The types of peo­ple who join the club are gen­er­ally in­ter­ested in na­ture and en­joy the out­door- ori­en­tated life­style.” They re­quire po­ten­tial mem­bers to at­tend at least one meet­ing and two out­ings with the club prior to mem­ber ac­cep­tance by the com­mit­tee. Mem­bers have to agree to abide by the club rules, the con­sti­tu­tion, con­ser­va­tion codes and the LROC code of con­duct. “While this might all sound omi­nous, it comes down to be­ing con­sid­er­ate, driv­ing re­spon­si­bly, as­sist­ing fel­low mem­bers and pro­mot­ing safe use of Land Rovers. Ve­hi­cles have to be road­wor­thy at all times. We are se­ri­ous about obey­ing the rules in en­vi­ron­men­tally sen­si­tive ar­eas, parks, pub­lic and pri­vate land,” said Kevin. Week­end and shorter day trips are made to the for­mer Transkei and most of the Eastern Cape. Com­bined out­ings have also been un­der­taken with the Dur­ban LROC. Dur­ing the last six months, the club has ar­ranged 10 events. These in­clude train­ing days, fam­ily fun days and week­ends away to places like Moun­tain Ze­bra Na­tional Park, Namibia, Botswana, Richtersveld and the Bavi­aan­skloof.“Our out­ings range from so­cial get- to­geth­ers and easy scenic drives right through to tough and chal­leng­ing trails not for the faint- hearted. We’re for­tu­nate to have the Wild Coast at our doorstep. The rugged land­scape and stun­ning scenery never dis­ap­points.

driver train­ing

Many mem­bers have sev­eral years of 4x4 driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. This year two mem­bers com­peted suc­cess­fully in the De­fender Tro­phy. This wealth of ex­pe­ri­ence is drawn upon to train new mem­bers and there is al­ways a friendly guide to help and en­cour­age driv­ers through tricky ob­sta­cles. The club has utilised the ser­vices of Land Rover Ex­pe­ri­ence Western Cape to pro­vide more for­mal train­ing to mem­bers. Some mem­bers have al­ready passed the ad­vanced off- road exam. Guest speak­ers are of­ten in­vited to monthly meet­ings to cover top­ics such as tech­ni­cal talks, over­land­ing ad­vice and in­ter­est­ing trip re­ports.

Winch­ing gone wrong

Kevin re­calls a par­tic­u­larly hair- rais­ing trip. “A fel­low club mem­ber and I ar­rived at a camp­site with our off- road camp­ing trail­ers. The sites were sep­a­rated by a small gar­den with a few plants and trees. As the ground was soft and damp we were un­able to ‘ man­han­dle’ my mates trailer into his SWAMBO’s pre­ferred po­si­tion. Af­ter much de­lib­er­a­tion, the only op­tion was to use a winch. I ma­noeu­vred my Disco into po­si­tion, pulled about three me­tres of ca­ble through the gar­den and at­tached it to his trailer on the other side. Us­ing the re­mote, I pulled the trailer to­wards the gar­den. All was pro­gress­ing splen­didly, then all hell broke loose as I tried to stop the winch. The trailer just kept com­ing. My first in­stinct was to un­plug the re­mote, but no luck, the winch kept on winch­ing. The trailer was fast ap­proach­ing the gar­den and all ef­forts to me­chan­i­cally dis­en­gage the winch were un­suc­cess­ful. Sec­onds later the first of the plants were an­ni­hi­lated as the trailer ploughed into the gar­den. All the com­mo­tion at­tracted a few spec­ta­tors, who stared dis­ap­prov­ingly as they wit­nessed the first trees be­ing felled. My beloved Disco and my mate’s brand new trailer were on a col­li­sion course and there was not a thing I could do about it. The trailer bull­dozed its way right through the gar­den and ap­proached my front bumper. But as the tow hitch made con­tact with my ARB bumper, the winch laboured for a se­cond and fi­nally all was still. Need­less to say, I have since re­paired and fit­ted an iso­la­tor switch to my winch. We were lucky as dam­age to the trailer and Disco was min­i­mal. Un­for­tu­nately the gar­den did need quite a bit of re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion.”

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