Readers Drives - Jonathan on the Arctic Winter Trial
In 2005 I was asked by HERO to drive their photographer Mike Johnson on an Arctic Winter Trial around Lapland. We were in North Norway in a little VW Golf 1.4 petrol road car, with studded winter tyres but little power.
Going up a main road with little traffic (a bit like now) we needed to crack on to the next shoot position, so travelling as fast as we reasonably could. We closed quickly on two local cars driving on a switchback ice-covered road, and I had to make a quick choice between Go and Slow.
Well, the Golf was under powered and I had plenty of momentum, so I went for Go on the first car. Sadly, as I passed it I realised there was no way I could slow enough to tuck in behind the second car. We'd have hit it hard up the boot because of the icy surface. So I went for taking both of them in a single overtake. Easy. Except that now we were in the trough of a switchback with limited vision ahead. 'Never mind, we will be fine... '
All was going OK owing to very little traffic, but the Golf just did not really have the power needed. As we were level with car 2, we were really very keen to get over to our own side of the road. And then over the crest of the hill appeared an oncoming ...... Huge snowplough with its blade down and ice pouring off it. Sh:::::::::::::::::ttttttttt. I think I bent the floor pan, trying to get a bit more throttle open. Goodness knows how we managed to miss both the car and the plough, but we did. I don't think I was at all popular with either. Now that moment was a true 'buttock-clencher'.