Not so long ago I finally earned my 2nd ''Almost4x4'' star. I don't want to take from those who recently earned their 1st star but that occasion I don't remember so well. Partly because it was just over a year ago but mainly as it involved a simple shop for the required tool check and a relatively easy drive to prove you were disciplined and safe!
You must earn your 2nd star and those that follow. Those occasions you will not forget.
I believe the club now is about 8 years old. As a member of Almost4x4 for just over a year I am still relatively new. Still, its been a great journey and I have learned more from the club in this last year than I have ''self thought'' myself over all the previous years driving off road in the UAE desert.
Safety and discipline are well thought. Flag poles and hand held radio's keep us a safe distance from one another. Correct recovery equipment gets us moving again when things don't go to plan. Great advice is also available on the forum.
Of the many Newbie drives I have participated in over my time, three factors have dictated the experience I have take away.
1: The Marshal leading the convoy.
This has been relatively consistent. Each have their own style. [MENTION=27]alshamsi_m[/MENTION] is educational, [MENTION=1633]Yoghybear[/MENTION] is a strict time keeper with a high level of expectation from us, [MENTION=1531]Abu Jimmy[/MENTION] is the most chilled out and both [MENTION=1864]strawb[/MENTION] and [MENTION=2]ALKHATIB[/MENTION] are fast and technical. By far my toughest drive yet was my upgrade challenge with [MENTION=1864]strawb[/MENTION]. One thing they all are is great convoy leaders.
The UAE desert is more varied than you would first imagine. From the mountain wadi's, long stretches of technical sharp small dunes to the bigger dunes of Al Ain and Abu Dhabi. Almost4x4 has shown me most. On my last drive I encountered large Subkah flats amongst the dunes for the first time.
3: The Convoy itself!
Us drivers! Most varied factor. We have had good days and bad. From pop outs on flat surfaces to cars joining up behind another off road convoy without realising. Skill and experience varies greatly here, even at Newbie level.
Another great idea is the trip reports. They make for good reading and reflection at the end of a days drive. Input from other drivers lets us all understand each others experience of the day. Marshal input from those who were there and suggestions from further afield through [MENTION=955]caprihorse[/MENTION] are generally well received.
All in all its been a great 1st year at Almos4x4 and I just wanted to thank all involved within the club for expanding my knowledge and helping me gain my 2nd star!
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