By Jacquie Colhoun

or alternatively known as the Diamonds Driver Training with Brisbane 4WD Club May 2017.

“I will if you will” is how any good story will start especially for women, normally from men it is “here hold this….”!

This is how Charlene and I agreed to participate in the Brisbane 4WD Club’s ladies Basic Accredited Driver Training. Cherie quickly followed when she found out we were doing the training (safety in numbers). 

Brisbane 4WD Ladies Driver Training May 2017
A bit of fun before it starts!

With how busy we have all been I did question the decision but on Saturday morning meeting Charlene & Cherie at BP North bound for breakfast and a coffee it was hard not to join in on their enthusiasm (here we also found Andrew Schulze who along with Craig Colhoun were going to be helpers for the weekend). Not far out of Caboolture the fog started and much like Benarkin it wasn’t until mid to late morning before it lifted.

We arrived at the Woodford Showgrounds at around 7:50am and introduced ourselves to those we didn’t know and set up our chairs to get ready for some theory. Anton was our instructor and there were plenty of helpers for the weekend from the Brisbane 4WD Club. There were a couple of faces I recognised ie: Janet & Josh sporting their new caravan, impressive, especially the remote control mover! Molly & Brett, Anton, Kirsty and some faces I recognised and after the weekend now know can match names too.

After going through the answer sheets Molly ran through tyre changes and demonstrated how to easily remove a tyre without too much effort. We all had a crack and this and it was easier than I thought who knew you could use a tyre lever for that?

At 10.30am we had morning tea and then it was time to hit the road. Lucky me I became trip leader with Brett (from Molly & Brett) jumped in beside me and we headed off the Glass House Play area (as we call it) to practise hill stall starts and recoveries.

After the hill stall starts (everyone did a great job) we moved onto the 2nd play area for recoveries. In our convoy we had 2 x Prados, 1 x Isuzu, 1 x 70 series, 2 x Patrols, 2 x 80 series. (This is all memory so I could be wrong on the count & models) We separated into groups to have 1 vehicle get stuck, 1 vehicle do the recovery and 1 lady who would control the scenario. I performed 1 x recovery, 2 x getting stuck and 2 x controls! Charlene was with my group and she did a great effort trying to get stuck in some water (alas she had to pretend) and get recovered using her pink snatch strap.

About 2pm we made the move back to the Woodford Showgrounds and had quite a late lunch and then a chat with the Brisbane 4WD Club before we made the dash home to watch Creek to Coast to see the segment on Fraser Island. (Thanks Harli for recording for us). A quick shower and then we piled into the car to go to Ice World Boondall for the Ice Skating Club trip but that is another Trip Report (by Harli).

Sunday morning QLD 4x4 Club ladies me at the Woodford CJ’s Bakery for breakfast before making our way to the showground for our 2nd day.

So we start our morning with what looked like an empty camp …. Where was everyone? Brisbane 4WD Club had a little night out at the Woodford pub so some were a little later in getting up than others but hey who can blame them!

We were separated into drivers and helpers and then had to choose a passenger the 2 Jacquie’s (Jacquie QLD4x4 and Jackie Brisbane 4WD) didn’t get a passenger! Hhhhmm what to think about that? Well just as I was about to drive off Anton jumped in behind me. We pulled out onto Neurum Rd and lined up ready to go. Today I started out as Tail End Charlie. I won’t bore you with the directions and details but we arrived at our air-down location. Those steins are money well spent thanks Craig & Ian for making our lives easier. I was looking at direction of the track that we were pointed in and wondered where we would be off to as I remembered coming down in the previous day on our way back to the showgrounds. Nup we were parked at the bottom of Hennessy Hill (also known to many as the bike track) and were taking that route. Charlene and I walked part of the hill chatting about lines and best directions with Grizzly and jumped in his car to drive a bit of it. It didn’t feel too bad. We walked back down and had missed Mel in her Prado do the first part of the track but got to see Vicki in her 70 series. She had a couple of attempts and it really showed me how the line can make a difference and to trust the person spotting you. (not the Vicki did a bad job at all but Craig I would prefer if you purchase a Toyota please make it a 200 series or whatever is equivalent. I watched Charlene and Cherie go through and then it was my turn! Well that was easy, I watched a little more and then proceeded further up by myself and got a little stuck in a little puddle, oops I had done that all in 2 wheel drive, no problems I just put the car into Low Range 1st gear and drive on out with no further problems! 

Our next section was a bit tricky and unfortunately for one vehicle they broke the CV. (Hubby had driven the same track yesterday with no issues) After some manoeuvring by Janet she was in place to slowly tow the damaged car out so Anton and the female driver could drive it out and return with Anton’s car. Charlene decided she was brave enough to give this section a go and did a great job whilst Cherie and I opted for Andrew & Craig to drive our vehicles through. (No Shame here). I took over the steering wheel and we continued on until we came to a bit of a gnarly section of Hennessy Hill. Everyone gave it a go, Charlene making it look easy, Cherie practised her hill stall starts and I gave Craig some more practise!

We made our way to the top (Craig and I were 3rd last) and heard Cherie over the UHF saying she had a flat tyre. We stopped to assist which allowed Anton and his passenger to catch up. The bead had slipped letting air out. Whilst repairs were being made Debbie (Bris 4WD), Cherie and I decided to pick up some rubbish that was laying around.

With the tyre fixed we continued on down the hill to catch up with the rest of the drivers and made out way out. We encountered more vehicles who kindly waited, probably wondering what the deal was with all the women drivers! There was a few water patches and at one spot I put a bit too much power into the crossing to get out leaving me with a car that definitely needed washing when we got home! If you dirty it you wash it …. Knew what I would be doing when we got home.

We passed through the play area on the way back to the showground where we had a brief comfort break and lunch and carried out a debrief, more questions to answer before and final submission of all paperwork to Anton to finalise our assessment for the weekend.

I had the pleasure of airing up the tyres before we made our final goodbyes to everyone.

A big THANK YOU to Anton and the Brisbane 4WD Club helpers, fellow lady drivers, Craig and Andrew for a fantastic weekend of learning and driving.