13 September 2016 -
YOUR4X4 had been in Alice Springs and surrounds filming episodes for the next season of their TV show, and they got in touch wanting to come out and see a nice sunset in Alice.
What better way to see the sunset than after driving up some of the gnarliest tracks we can get to within a few minutes of town? So at 5pm we set off to the “Widow Maker” back track – myself and 5 vehicles from the YOUR4X4 crew, cameramen on board. It wasn’t long before filming began, and it was when I realised that film production takes a little longer than expected, and we weren’t going to make my planned lookout destination before the light disappeared.
We made it up the first couple of obstacles unscathed, but the challenge was going to be “Side-Scraper”… All vehicles made it through with relative ease – a couple traded chrome with the granite and quartz, but the big surprise was the Iveco 4×4 – wider and taller than anything else on the trip, it was challenged to the very edge of its dimensions, and from the white knuckles and gasping breaths of the driver it delivered thrills in all the right ways.
Simon came up last, and chose a more unconventional line, choosing to straddle “Side-Scraper”, a move I’ve not seen before, and at the expense of a few light knocks to the reinforced bar work on his vehicle.
By the time the highest point was reached along the hills, the light was really starting to fade, and the rain was about to come in – a spectacular way to end a Tuesday on any other day but I was on a schedule. We reached the fence line at the back edge of the track where it meets the national park, and the fence was held back a little, to allow the passage of our larger participants without the inevitable pin striping that would have occurred from the barbed wire.
Up and over “The Step”, a nasty little incline, and it was then shuffling through the rocky sections, in the dark, with the rain just starting to fall.
Matt from ARB met us at the halfway point – the back of the Murray Street Loop and we made our way directly to the widow maker, as by now it was completely dark, and dinner reservations were 30 minutes away. All the drivers took a trip down the face of the “Widow Maker”, sight unseen, in the dark, while it was raining – something even hardened veterans of the descent would be hesitant to tackle, with ease, the big Iveco and the 80 series Landcruiser showing their strengths, and the strength of steel on their rear bars on the way down.
We quickly made our way out of the dirt track, and back toward town and the team was delivered to their 7.30pm dinner reservation with seconds to spare. The experience was excellent, and a chance to sit down to dinner with these guys was a pleasure. I look forward to seeing the footage when it gets to the TV.
See 4WD TV’s Facebook page for some videos that were posted LIVE while out on the tracks – 13th September – here’s the link: https://www.facebook.com/4wdTV/videos