Head groundsman Robert Massey and deputy head groundsman Richard Beech of Uttoxeter Racecourse are pictured with two of John Deere's HPX 4x4 Gator utility vehicles at The Adrenalin Jungle in Sherwood Forest.
The groundsmen won a competition prize in John Deere's Keep Green magazine, for a day's off-road training and driving experience with the award-winning HPX Gators. They were taken through all aspects of off-road driving, including steep ascents and descents, crossing ruts, general vehicle control and winching.
The Adrenalin Jungle (tel: 0800 952 4232, website: www.adrenalinjungle.com) provides all the 4x4 vehicle and quad biking experiences for the neighbouring Center Parcs holiday centre. It covers 150 acres of woodland and clearings, including a quad bike test track, a series of designated off-road tracks and varied woodland terrain, with plenty of wet and swampy sections to test both the machine and the driver's skills to the limit.
Uttoxeter Racecourse already runs two John Deere Gator 6x4 utility vehicles, supplied by local dealer Turners of Erdington, but this was the first time both men had driven the new HPX model.
"Our 6x4 Gators are very reliable workhorses, and ideal for jumping on and off," said Robert Massey. "We use them all the time for general transportation and for carrying divot mix. They are quieter and more efficient than a tractor and trailer combination or a 4WD vehicle, and better for the turf."
On the driving day itself, Richard Beech added: "You can tell straight away the difference in the ride between the two models, I wouldn't want to try and run a 6x4 round here! The HPX is a lot nippier and easier to manoeuvre in these conditions, which you'd expect. We've been all over the course and had a really enjoyable day, it's been a thoroughly good experience."