I have raced a Merc, flown a helicopter, and now I have driven a Jeep - all in the name of work I hope you understand.
The job of a journalist can be pretty stressful at times, but at the same time it can be a pretty amazing profession, with the opportunity to try out an endless number of activities, as just one the perks.
This weekend I was invited to the National Jeep Trials that have been taking place at a select few number of venues across the UK. And this weekend it was being held at Flitwick Manor, with the chance to drive a Jeep round an off-road course at Millbrook Proving Ground.
The aim of the event is to invite Jeep owners, potential customers and members of the public to try out driving a Jeep, archery and clay-pigeon shooting.
Competitors are then scored on their performance.
The highest scorer is then in with the chance of winning a weekend of glamorous camping, also known as glamping.
Communications manager at Jeep Naveen Dayal said: “It’s all just a bit of fun really to meet our customers and members of the public and get the name Jeep out there.
“It’s an event to promote the brand, not just the car, The Jeep brand is all about fun and that’s what we’re promoting here, There’s no hard sell, it’s all about coming along and having a go.
“This is the first time we have we have held the Jeep trials in four years, and this is out first event here at Flitwick. It’s a fantastic location and we hope to come back here next year.
“We have a glamping tent up, and next year we hope to expand give people the chance to glamp overnight so they can enjoy both days.”
When I got the invitation, calling on all adrenalin junkies, I jumped at the chance of having a go.
I arrived on Saturday lunchtime and brought my friend Cherry Mewis along for the ride.
There was a barbecue already getting going, a glamping tent, falconry, archery and clay pigeon shooting, to keep visitors amused while they waited for their Jeep trials.
When it was our turn we were taken to Milbrook Proving Ground where Cherry drove a Grand Cherokee and I drove a Wrangler, which is described as the more “fun” Jeep vehicle that is ideal for off-road driving.
My instructor Colin Billings took me round the course, which included driving through mud, sand and water, over a pile of logs, and down a hill that could be confused for the ‘Oblivion’ ride at Alton Towers.
Getting to the hill proved a little tricky, however, as I didn’t quite get the turning right and Colin had to put the car into reverse.
He joked: “This car isn’t actually supposed to go into reverse, but you’ve messed this up so we’re going to have to reverse back.”
Ooops. So we managed to get into the right position at the top of the hill and Colin then alarmingly says: “just let go of the pedals”.
Expecting the car to speedily go down the nearly vertical hill, the vehicle actually travelled down slowly, with the engine working as a brake.
We finish the drive all in one piece, but how did I do?
I scored a moderate score of 35.7 out of 50, and Colin said: “Well you did well, but I’ve never actually had to reverse on this course before. That’s a first.”
The drive certainly got my blood pumping, and then we headed back to Flitwick Manor for some burgers, and had a go at some archery and clay pigeon shooting.
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Weather for Bedford
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 5 C to 15 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 6 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 10 mph
Wind direction: North west