I worry about my son An­drew’s best mate, who, to pro­tect the in­no­cent here, we will call Bob!

Bob’s a good kid, brought up in a lov­ing, car­ing fam­ily en­vi­ron­ment, and has the world, lit­er­ally, at his feet.

So why do I worry? Sim­ple. Be­cause af­ter dal­ly­ing with high per­for­mance road cars, he has ‘dis­cov­ered’ the won­der­ful world of 4WDs and 4WDing.

Truth is, if we lived some­where like Hawke’s Bay, or Can­ter­bury, I don’t think I would be so con­cerned. Be­cause, from what I see and hear, there are enough quasi-le­gal spots along each province’s braided rivers for a young fella with a pumped up ‘ Tuff Truck’ to ‘have a hack’ of an evening af­ter work or week­end af­ter­noon with­out rais­ing the ire of ra­dio talk­back callers or news­pa­per let­ter­sto-the-edi­tor writ­ers (aka pain-in-arse lo­cals with noth­ing bet­ter to do) ev­ery­where.

Here in Auck­land, un­for­tu­nately, there is noth­ing; zip, nada, nowhere he can legally go if he has a spare half an hour and doesn’t want to head too far from home.

Sure like ev­ery other 17 – 35-year-old with a jacked-up Surf, Sa­fari, Pa­trol, etc, Bob and my son can check the tide ta­bles, fill in a beach user’s form (via their smart­phones of course) and head out the 20 or so kms from their West Auck­land homes to Muri­wai.

They can also log on to www. po­laris4wd­ and check out when ‘the 4WD park’ at Wood­hill is open. At the mo­ment though, that is only two week­ends per month, and it costs $ 60 per ve­hi­cle per day.

Not a lot when you fac­tor in how much Bob has al­ready spent on, let’s see... a lift kit, snorkel, wide 15-inch steel­ies and Maxxis mud­ders, etc. But way too much has­sle, drama and hav­ing to plan for a kid who just wants to have a bit of fun.

He’s not alone ei­ther. As read­ers of this mag, I’m sure you all know some­one just like Bob. Some­one who loves the look, the feel and the adren­a­line rush of hav­ing a hack off-road, but who is at that awk­ward age (be­tween boy and man­hood) where needs must be ful­filled im­me­di­ately with lit­tle to no thought of con­se­quence.

Which is why I worry. And why I raise the is­sue here. As adults, who – some­how, not quite sure in my case – man­aged to nav­i­gate those dif­fi­cult years our­selves, I think we owe young blokes like Bob at the very least, the time of day.

If we can’t pro­vide them with a suit­able place to go – and all I can say to coun­cils from one end of the coun­try to an­other, shame on you – then we can at least talk with them (and please, not down to them) about their new­found in­ter­est and pas­sion for 4WDs and 4WDing. And as part of what hope­fully is a de­vel­op­ing di­a­logue, try and en­cour­age them to en­joy their Tuff Truck re­spon­si­bly.

In my case I’ve al­ready filled a box of NZ4WD mags and chucked them in the back of Bob’s SWB ‘Saf. I also asked my son the other night to Snapchat a link to old mate Richie’s NZ Of­froader Face­book page to in­tro­duce Bob to some (over 50,000 and count­ing!) of his peers.

Af­ter that?

Te be per­fectly hon­est, I’m not quite sure, hence why I am rais­ing the sub­ject here. If he con­tin­ues to hoon around the roads and build­ing sites near where he lives he’s go­ing to piss a lot of lo­cals off, and sooner rather than later at­tract the at­ten­tion of the cops.

Times are very dif­fer­ent when that hap­pens now, too.

When I was do­ing the ex­act same thing 30-some­thing years ago on my trail bike the lo­cal cop (who was mar­ried to the daugh­ter of... etc) sim­ply had a quiet word to my Mum (my Dad hav­ing died when I was nine) when I, er, ex­ceeded the limit of his pa­tience.

To­day there ap­pears to be no grey area as far as the cops ( the ‘proper’ po­lice, too, rather than the traf­fic-only cops of my day) are con­cerned. If you’re a young bloke with a nice car or 4x4 and you get caught do­ing some­thing silly, you are ei­ther guilty or guilty.

Hi ho Sil­ver!

It is with plea­sure that I note that NZ4WD mag­a­zine’s pub­lisher, Adrenalin Pub­lish­ing, turned 25 (years old) on 16th July. Adrenalin was formed by Pub­lisher Cathy Parker with the pur­chase of NZWind­surfer and New Zealand Com­pany Ve­hi­cle mag­a­zine in July 1993. Adrenalin now pub­lishes seven reg­u­lar ti­tles and three an­nual pub­li­ca­tions along with a full suite of as­so­ci­ated dig­i­tal prop­er­ties.

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