Author Name: Armourgeddon
Posted: 30/04/2015 15:59
Tank driving at Armourgeddon is huge amounts of fun for all involved. From the chuckles we have in the office when we realise we have booked people into tanks with great name combos like Mr Oats and Mr Barley, to looking forward to welcoming our annual ‘Crazy Russian’ visitors..
Tank driving at Armourgeddon is huge amounts of fun for all involved. From the chuckles we have in the office when we realise we have booked people into tanks with great name combos like Mr Oats and Mr Barley, to looking forward to welcoming our annual ‘Crazy Russian’ visitors, Mr Bigchestski et al who usually arrive with Russian marching music blaring from the car radio through to helping to organise surprise visits for unsuspecting family members.
Then there are the instructors. Each has a regular job during the week: we have a greens keeper, a detention officer, St. Johns Ambulance trainer and many others, who spend their weekends dressed in Army gear driving and instructing people to drive tanks around the WWII bombing range we call Top Track and Bottom Track at Southfields Farm. The photographers get to take pictures all day of people wearing huge smiles and having a complete blast at the controls of an FV432 and other military vehicles, and the full time staff get to retell the stories of the post- work pub visits on a Monday morning. With new items arriving regularly as well as the small issue of a working livestock farm and the associated seasons (we are nearly through lambing season as we write…) to deal with, there is always plenty to do and plenty laughter to enjoy.
There is, however, one aspect of the business that just has a pretty bad time of it and that’s the track. Having spent the war years as a bombing range for training of the RAF and local pilots, gunners and crews, the track was reclaimed as a farm for cattle and sheep after the war. Having spent many decades being pooped on by livestock, 15 years ago the latest generation of farmers decided that rather than just animals, embracing farm diversification meant that an interest laid in tanks and the idea of mounting a modified cannon atop an FV432 which could shoot oversized paintballs at other tanks with similar capabilities was formed. Well, what else would you do if you amassed a fleet of tanks in your farmyard?!
From that point, the track has endured literally thousands of laps of 8 tonne vehicles, more rain drenched days than we have had hot dinners, leading to more ‘puddles’ of epic proportions coupled with months of dessert-esque dryness when the sun comes out.
So, once a year, as close to the beginning of the season as we can feasibly manage, Paul and his JCB arrive on site and bulldoze the track to get rid of the mountainous regions and lakes… He’s here today. The fleet is lined up in the middle of the track and Paul is working the land to flatten the track ready for a jam-packed weekend of tank drivers. The cows are keeping their distance, the dogs are staying put in the office and the constant hum of the dozer has been going all day. The poor track has had a beating over its life and if it were a human, this operation would be similar to liposuction or maybe a sports massage from Big Daddy, but the end result will be worth it and the track will be ready for visitors to rev the tanks around by the end of the day today. And the visitors will thank Paul too, not to be thrown vertically up and down over the craters caused by a year of tank laps. But it does mean there are less places to hide during a battle!
Fancy coming to learn to drive a tank? Give us a call and we can chat through the options. You too can feel a little bit sorry for the land… before you give your tank full throttle and pound around the track as fast as you can manage whilst your crew whoooop in the back, holding on or sitting up top in the turret.