Day two was all about the dunes. Because this was new terrain for everyone, and the L200, there was a degree of experimentation with everything the guys were doing in dunes. Paul, our guide, had to show Tom (and us, in the support L200) how to drive on the sand because it’s not like you can point your truck any old direction and gun it. It’s all about momentum, about reading the way the dunes flow and following their arcs and radii and, of course, bravery. You can be staring at a wall of sand one moment, then clear blue sky the next and all the time with the throttle mashed into the carpet. Get it slightly wrong and the wheels thump into the folds and creases in the dune and the sand – which takes on the consistence of concrete when you hit it hard – quickly reshapes the standard truck’s medium-duty under body protection. Brake in the wrong place and you could be rolling down a dune very quickly and out here there isn’t even a phone signal, let alone a recovery service you could call. It’s huge fun, surfing the dunes in a pickup, but it’s also tinged with trepidation. All it takes is one lapse in concentration and the trip could take on a very different complexion.
Desert Warrior, or Project Swarm as Tom calls it (so-called because the original idea was to have a swarm of drones follow it around when it drove along, however the technology isn’t quite there yet) is a crazy idea made real and then, almost immediately, tested in the most extreme environment imaginable.
Ramblings from Conor - General Manager of PR, Partnerships & Events