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25 years of off-road vehicle friends in the Bavarian Forest: mud fun!

Torsten Seibt
Geneva Auto Salon 2020
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G There are quite a few off-road vehicle clubs in Germany. Brand clubs, loose interest groups, also associations directly supported and sponsored by manufacturers. However, it often happens that over the years the regular members give up their hobby for personal or family reasons or internal quarrels give the club the coup de grace. You part and remember the good old days.

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Large family with four-wheel drive

It looks pretty different in the contemplative Bad Kötzting at the northernmost tip of the Bavarian Forest. The Geländewagenfreunde Bayerischer Wald as an association are as unique in the German off-road scene as the members yourself. Fluctuation: unknown. The board of directors: for the most part still the same as when the association was founded. You have grown up in the club, children have grown up and now have the same hobby as their parents, who founded the club 25 years ago. A real family whose members extend far beyond the catchment area of ​​Upper Palatinate and Lower Bavaria.

The founders of the association, veterans of the German off-road scene such as Heinz Plötz or 'Luck' Zach, are still in charge of off-road vehicle enthusiasts. In the meantime, long-forgotten as well as current competitions were contested together and not infrequently won - the rally Munich-Marrakech, which Heinz Plötz won many years ago, gave the starting signal for the foundation of the club. It was not until this winter that the “Bayerwaldlers” received the award as a club with the most participants in the “Raduno internazionale 4x4 citta 'di gradisca”. For everyone who doesn't know what that is: this off-road vehicle rally in northern Italy has long since been awarded the seal as the largest with 15,710 vehicles taking partOff-road vehicle event in Europe.

Today's Europe-wide trophy scene with its tough, selective competitions was also brought to life by the 'Bayerwaldlers'. Be it by participating in the “mother of all trophies”, the Transsylvania, or the event series “Wolpertinger Trophy”, later founded by the off-road vehicle enthusiasts, to which the best pilots of the German competition scene once gathered in the Czech Republic.

And there it went again for the anniversary: ​​to a former “Wolpertinger Trophy” site near Janovice. The rating for the main competition is easy to explain: it went through a circuit in the field for a limited time, interrupted by funny interludes in nasty tricky sections with a trophy character. In short: trench warfare at its finest. According to the typical Bayerwaldler tender ('The event will take place in any weather - even when the sun is shining'), the weather was also supportive and soaked the area properly.

Honda, do you want to live forever?

The clinging Czech topsoil gave the field of participants a deep brown patina, whose class division was simple: with or without a winch. The cars 'without' were allowed to drive around the meanest ditches. While in the winch class, as expected, the prototypes were ahead of the game, in the front-without class a Japanese made for a special amusement: Christian Heigl and Günther Mühlbauer competed with an aged Honda CR-V, with a calculated total loss. But the aged compact SUV tied tirelessly around the circuit. With almost nonexistent traction, but the proverbial Honda reliability, the CR-V steadfastly refused to die a heroic death. And they weren't even the last ...

In the final Mudrace - self-explanatory name - it was again 'everyone against everyone', but here too the large-capacity V8 protos were unbeatable. Club boss Heinz Plötz intervened again with his Polaris RZR, but with fourth place he was only able to see the podium from the outside.

Of course, that didn't stop the off-road vehicle enthusiasts after the competition having a pretty solid party. You were also in training - the birthday party for the 25th anniversary had been going on for three days.

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