Manfield event ‘a muck truck Mecca’

Manfield event ‘a muck truck Mecca’

Consumer demand for SUVs has driven demand for events like an off-road show at Manfield Park next month.

The event is organised by Central Districts Four Wheel Drive Club, and convenor Trevor Hendra says the huge upsurge in sales of SUVs and crossovers has fuelled memberships of clubs like his.

“Basically, these days we have all types of events for all styles of vehicles and everyone gets to have a lot of fun,” he says.

Clubs owners could enjoy their machine’s capabilities in an environment where safe and responsible use of their vehicles was provided.

“There are a lot of people who now simply want to go out and enjoy their vehicles without risk of damage and we can cater for that quite easily,” says Hendra.

Highly-modified, lift-kitted monsters remained popular – but there is an increasing trend towards “shinies” or basically unmodified production models.

Shinies make up nearly half the club members, underlining the versatility of modern 4WD vehicles, says Hendra.

That about half the vehicles in the club fall into this category reminds that today’s four-wheel-drive vehicles can be impressively versatile.

Club founder member Robbie Shailer’s ’93 Pajero is the perfect example. The 2.8L turbodiesel was
bought used, and has proven to be the perfect three-in-one vehicle – workhorse, family wagon and
‘man toy.’

He’s fitted slightly longer shocks and springs to give it a bit more ride height for playtime – but he’s a huge fan of the Mitsubishi 4WD.

“It’s stock standard,” says Shailer, “I use it for work as well four-wheel-driving. I really love it, it’s the only vehicle I feel safe in.”

His beloved Pajero has taken on some very tough terrain on club outings, and is proud of how well it has performed.

“That’s the thing about our club,” he says. “We cater for all levels. You don’t have to do tough stuff – you can do a shiny run down the beach, maybe stop for a picnic.

“When we go out you do not have to do the tough areas, there are always ways around. You pick and choose what you are comfortable with.”

Hendra agrees, and says the club makes a point of safety, adding that there’s a right and wrong way to indulge a sense of adventure.

“Clubs work really hard to promote four-wheel-driving as a sport and as a hobby to be undertaken in as safe an environment as possible,” he says.

Shailer’s advice to budding ‘shinies’ is go and hang out with the club and see if it suits.

“It’s also about friendship and doing something the whole family can enjoy,” he says, “in fact, you don’t even need to own a vehicle to join. There’s always a spare seat so you can come along and get to know what it’s all about.

”You’re better off to join a club, get taught how to do things and so forth. It’s commonsense to me.

“The first rule is you never go out on your own – you always have two vehicles so, if one gets into trouble, the second one is there to help get you out.

“What annoys me are the people who get these vehicles, think they are bullet-proof and go out and cause havoc,” he says.

Having responsible fun is a central theme for the club’s annual show, which returns to Manfeild on July 3, after its successful 2015 debut.

Trade stands and off-road-associated organisations will be at the stadium, including the Low Volume Vehicle Technical Association which gives advice on legal and safe minor modifications – and for technical information when four-wheel-drivers go upgrade crazy.

A huge range of vehicles will be on display – from the latest ‘shinies’ through to vintage mud-plugging gems.

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