South African Guild of Motoring Journalists (SAGMJ) presented an off-road driver training in conjunction with Suzuki Auto South Africa & Bass Lake Adventures.
Every once in a while we are fortunate to attend an event that is a pleasure, these are usually outdoors on one of those days with excellent weather, great views and in the company of like minded people with a common general interest in vehicles, this was one of those days.
Travelling from KZN to attend the SAGMJ Off-Road Driver Training to be held at the Bass Lake Adventure facility, a short drive from the airport, easily accessible facility, found a quiet unassuming section of a mine developed over years to facilitate a range of activities. Although rustic, it comfortably
accommodates the adventures on offer and in particular the
4×4 driver training. Greeted by friendly staff with coffee, muffins and rusks, we were introduced to the highly experience instructor Allan; he is one of those exceptionally approachable and hands on people, more than willing to impart his wealth of knowledge and interact hands on with attendees. Sitting through a lecture on the basics of a 4×4 system and associated points, Allan highlighted the importance of understanding the basics and keeping in mind that clever modern electronic systems on 4×4 vehicles can get one through obstacles with ease, however can also create a false sense of ability.
In a venture between Suzuki Auto South Africa and Bass Lake Adventure, the range of Suzuki vehicles that includes both the old and new Jimmy as well as the Vitara is used by the facility to teach anyone interested in the art of 4×4 driving. The SAGMJ members now being part of a privileged arrangement for its members to attend the great venue, learn from
Allan and at the same time experience what almost seems like limitless and amazing ability of the Suzuki vehicles.
Although the Suzuki range may not be market leaders in the 4×4 arena, these vehicles are both proven reliability and ability. Both the Suzuki Jimmy for its tiny size and basic specification and the Vitara are vehicles that could cause serious embarrassment to vehicles many times their value and prestige. Driving in convoy through a route of marked obstacles has Allan carefully explaining, reassuring and leading by example in the learned skill of identifying lines and the appropriate skill of manoeuvring the vehicles over various
graded levels of impasse. The pleasure evident in Allan`s job satisfaction in leading all attendees, however in particular the less experienced and confident to successful completion of each and every obstacle to their delight, in some cases amusing hoots and shouts of success, makes for a great day out.
In the modern world of instant media, Allan is notably patient to the Facebook and Hashtag brigade, appreciating the importance of marketing and perhaps to some extent the simple need to blog or record the moments for prosperity.
Working your way through the many different obstacles, left, right, up, down, through water, across valleys and gulley’s that at first seem impassable, definitely sees notable confidence growth in ability in one`s self and that of the vehicle, however not without the cautious monitoring and reminder by Allan of the limits.
As the day progresses in the sunny but quite dry and dusty conditions, much needed short stops between obstacles for refreshments from the cooler-box were appreciated.
Completing the route of obstacles, attendees refresh and are treated to an excellent late lunch that includes dessert. The lunch also facilitates the usual banter in review of the experience of the venue, the course content and route, as well as the vehicles, to which it was evident that the inaugural SAGMJ Off-Road Driver Training was a resounding success.
Without hesitation, It is recommended that if you are a Guild Member that you should attend or if you are simply considering a day out, or are specifically interested in the 4×4 scene, contact either Bass Lake Adventure, or request your Suzuki dealership to guide you in the direction of experiencing one of their vehicles on the training course.