4WD Adventure

Twenty two-person teams will tackle off-road park trails in this year’s Florida Trail Team Challenge.

For adventurous four-wheel vehicle drivers, the Florida Trail Team Challenge might be a bucket list item.

The off-road endurance challenge features two-person teams who accumulate points by competing in various events, such as precision off-road driving, vehicle recovery, marksmanship, medical aid, survival and mechanical repair. This year’s challenge will take place October 25th-27th at the Ol’ Florida Off-Road Park in Tavares, east of Leesburg in Lake County, which shares a border with our own Marion County.

The challenge website notes that the event will include 20 teams of a driver and co-driver, age 18 or older. The four-wheel drive vehicle may be any make or model and drivers must be licensed, have current valid registration, insurance and be DOT approved. The rather interesting list of required equipment includes items such as a first aid kit, fire extinguisher, winch, tree rescue shackles, pulley block, whistle, farm-style jack and a CB or VHF radio. Competitors must be self-contained for the entire event, meaning they have to bring all items needed to camp and compete. The registration fee is 500$ per team.

The Ol’ Florida Off-Road Park site notes that it offers “from beginner trails to off camber trails, to ‘what were we thinking’ trails.”

The challenge participants are asked to exemplify the principles of Tread Lightly, which advocates for traveling responsibly, respecting the rights of others, educating yourself, avoiding sensitive areas and doing your part. This means exhibiting conduct such as staying on designated roads and trails, being cognizant of private property, obtaining travel maps and regulations from public agencies and leaving the area better than you found it.

During the challenge, a Tread Lightly Master Trainer will be on site to participate in hosting challenges as well as to see the Tread Lightly principles in action as the competitors also are tasked with collecting trash they find on the trails for additional points.

The challenge website notes that, “In years past, the competitors and volunteers tell us they learned a lot about off-roading during the event, perhaps a new way to solve a problem during a challenge or that there are many ways to problem solve during a challenge. At the end of the event, everyone is mostly dirty, sweaty, happy and filled with a sense of accomplishment at the challenges they have faced head-on!” OS

To learn more, go to floridatrailteamchallenge.com and treadlightly.org

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