Feedback, training with Team Off Road, Western Cape




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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
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    Somerset West
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    46
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    Default Feedback, training with Team Off Road, Western Cape

    This is a bit of a review and weekend ride report. So apologies that it is all over the place.

    Whilst we have had our landcruiser for a while now, we have never really taken her into real driving conditions that require 4x4. We did a course two or so years ago with Team Off Road when we first got our cruiser - but we wanted to do a refresher course as we have a trip coming up to the Richsterveld in April and then onto Botswana in July. And we have added overlanding equipment to the car so it is considerably heavier than the first time we did the course.

    I just wanted to provide some feedback on the course (and a bit of "reporting"). Saturday morning a mixed bunch of people, with little to no 4x4 driving experience, let alone knowledge, met at the turn off to Welgelegen Farm. After some quick introductions and a cup of coffee, under the trees at the farm, we got stuck into some theory (aka basic understanding) of what all the terminology does and does not mean. The course presenters took us right from the beginning, the very beginning, explaining the notion of traction and control. Then onto tyres and what 4x4 does and does not mean. How and what low range high range do and do not mean, what differential locks are and how they work and then everything in between.

    What was really impressed on all of us (and to quote Captain Jack Sparrow), the rules are more like ...guidelines. Yes deflate your tyres, but not every tyre and not every car is the same, so take your tyres down to a pressure that is suitable for your vehicle. Something that only comes through experience. It is these small details that make going on a training course so valuable. Hard and fast rules like 1.134567 bar for sand and 1.5645 bar for semi sand and all that jazz means nothing if that guy is lightly loaded and you are overland loaded.

    Thys de Jager and Gerrie van Eeden, the main course presenters are INCREDIBLY knowledgable. Ashley Wilson and Jaco van Zyl as support meant that there was always help and always guidance and a bit of knowledge to be shared all the time. And these guys were always willing to share, but more importantly they never contradicted one another. The same answers but perhaps in different ways. Throughout the topics covered questions are encouraged. All kinds of questions about anything related to the topic at hand and even sometimes not. It was really great to spend the morning talking and asking about when to do this, how to do that, what this does, what that does. All of this done against a background of a non testosterone driven environment. There was no ego involved and no one was mocked for asking any kind of question, no matter how silly it seemed and no matter how many times it was asked.

    Even when driving through the obstacles (after a really awesome boerie lunch), Thys and his team, were always calm and patient. Always making sure we had correct gear selections, tyre pressures, correct buttons pushed and the right lines to be taken. They were always willing to and help and guide. On this particular trip what made a huge impression was when Thys would tell folk, "No I advise you against using your vehicle for that, you will damage your car". This little thing installed alot of confidence that when he said you could, you knew you could.

    On Sunday Thys took us to Atlantis dunes. It was made clear from the start, that it was expected for us to get stuck. And this to me was key. Getting stuck is nothing to be worried about. Nothing to be ashamed about. It happens. Yes driver error plays a role, but sometimes it just happens. It took such a huge amount of pressure off being told that we were expected to get stuck, but not to worry, everyone was here to help.

    So in true learning style, Thys had us drive in with normal tyre pressures. Very quickly the driving got hard. Of course when we stopped just before entering the dunes proper, the tyres got deflated so we could feel the difference until we got the "sweet" spot for our car.

    Team off road had Thys, together Ashley and Jaco. At all times you felt totally safe under their guidance. Always had calm words to lend. For first timers and those wanting to learn, these guys are excellent. The team work between them creates a really safe environment to learn. Yes, the driving for them is not hectic at all - but for beginners like us, it was nerve racking. As they saw the "yaw" factor in my chest was often screaming like mad. The encouragement to try different things and see what happens. To learn to overcome the fear of the engine revving like mad. And then being able to ask questions from people all around who wanted to help and who all spoke from the same page. No one was trying to outdo someone else. There were no egos. They were all about helping us learn. And it made a huge difference.

    And then we got stuck at the bottom of a dune. I used this as a total learning curve. I asked the guys to leave me and the wife alone to see if we could get out of this on our own. I told the guys I did not want their help and that if we were overlanding on our own we would have to get out this mess on our own. So Thys stood next to us and taught us with SOOO much patience. He let us make mistakes and learn from them and do different things. He told us to try difference things. Explained things as we went along. After what felt like half the day (an hour or so) we were out. They let us learn and because we felt safe with them around, we were able to do this without worry and fear (we could have got unstuck in 5 min with a little pull).

    I cannot stress enough how awesome it was to be with this training team. At no stage was there any laughing at us for getting stuck. No testosterone, no ego, no teasing. The "safe" space the team created for things to happen while still terrified made a massive difference.

    Yes I am raving about them. They deserve it. The value they add is worth it. Especially when you consider how little the course costs. I can highly recommend doing a training course with these guys, even if you have a bit of experience. It is so worth it. Everything was totally spot on! Hell even send the Mrs on her own. You never know when she might need to drive due to an injury.

    In summary, from our perspective, Team Off Road come highly recommended!
    Last edited by Slowones; 2018/03/13 at 12:39 PM.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Somerset West
    Age
    46
    Posts
    343
    Thanked: 111

    Default Re: Feedback, training with Team Off Road, Western Cape

    I also just want to add, that our daughter totally loved the sand driving and spending time with Ashley. She however does want to to know why they are called dounuts, if there is no hole in the middle ..... #stumpdadday

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    Cape Town
    Age
    60
    Posts
    16
    Thanked: 10

    Default Re: Feedback, training with Team Off Road, Western Cape

    Great article ... thank you. Do you have their contact details please. (TEAM OFF ROAD) would love to go on a course

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