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Army personnel hone driving skills on Exercise ROADMASTER

Soldiers and civilian enthusiasts from across the country converged on the East Riding of Yorkshire to take part in the annual challenge.

The competition, hosted by Leconfield’s Defence School of Transport (DST), saw 13 sports utility vehicles (SUVs) and five motorbikes compete in a variety of races over the course of a day earlier this month.

Colonel Christopher Henson QGM, Commandant of the DST and Chairman of the British Army Motorsports Association (BAMA), said: “It’s been a good test of driving skills over the obstacles. I was out this morning, with a navigator, and we found ourselves looking at bits of Leconfield I’d never seen before! It’s been great fun.”

Military teams used service Land Rovers, the workhorse of the Armed Forces, while civilian participants brought their own vehicles.

Motorbikes made their first appearance on the exercise since 2010 and it is anticipated that participation in this field will grow in years to come.

Good navigation skills are key to the military driver Colonel Christopher Henson QGM

The event marked a stunning return to action for the BAMA, which is emerging from the effects of a schedule devastated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Races on the sunny Saturday included orienteering, which tested the off-road navigational abilities of co-drivers, and gymkhana, which involved quickly manoeuvring in and out of ‘garages’ simulated by cones.

Colonel Henson QGM said: “Good navigation skills are key to the military driver. Although, over the past few years, people have becoming increasingly reliant on Satnav devices, we know that in the future battlespace those will be denied and we will get back to good old maps and compasses.”

The winning team of the SUV contest was 154 (Scottish) Regiment Royal Logistic Corps (RLC), with 77th Brigade taking second place.

In the motorbike category, a soldier from 21 Engineer Regiment scooped first prize, followed by a serviceman from 25 Training Regiment RLC.

While the winners rightly took the plaudits, the true spirit of the day was all about teamwork and camaraderie, and none of it would have been possible without the support of marshals such as Neil Watterson and Brian Hartley.

More information on the BAMA is available via its website, which describes the multiple disciplines within its remit.