4WD: Wheels turning already

Ray Cully
The W4 Challenge is the ultimate test for all Land Rover enthusiasts.

After the hectic pace of Christmas and new year, it's time to start planning this year's adventures and pack up the camper, ready to get behind the wheel and into the great Aussie backyard.

Here are some top events to get along to over the next 12 months to enjoy the outdoors.

BEYOND HOTHAM, MARCH 13-23

This great exploration of the Victorian High Country was cancelled last year because of the impact of bushfires in the area. It's back bigger and better than ever this year, with plenty of day and overnight trips to choose from - tagging along with an experienced local guide making things easier and more interesting. If you register before January 31 at www.beyondhotham.com.au you'll go in the draw to win a set of Mickey Thompson tyres.

ROCKS AND RUTS RACING, MAY 3-4

Perth Offroad Promotions is well under way planning its second year of tough competition, with round one kicking off at Arcadia Farms in Jurien Bay in May and the final round in September/ October. Each weekend will be a tough test of vehicles and drivers tackling mud, rocks, dams and winch hills with adrenaline- pumping racing. Check out perthoffroadpromotions.com.au for entry forms from early next month.

VARIETY 4WD CHALLENGE, MAY 24-31

For a perfect combination of well- planned four-wheel-drive touring to beautiful destinations, great company and fabulous food from a first-class chef you have to join the WA Variety 4WD Challenge. The high number of repeat participants in this event is the best testimony. This year sees the challenge touring the best of the North West in a circuit starting and ending in Broome. Register at variety.org.au.

TEAM W4 CHALLENGE SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER

If you're a keen Land Rover fan, keep an eye on teamw4.com for details of its fourth annual all-Land Rover competition. The event just keeps on growing and is the perfect opportunity to see up to 65 years of Land Rover history competing in a neatly handicapped event that flattens the playground between current techno machines and historic mechanical beasts.

AUSTRALASIAN SAFARI, SEPTEMBER 19-27

If you fancy getting involved or going to watch Australia's toughest off-road endurance rally then you can check out australasiansafari.com.au. Full course details have yet to be released but the event will be exploring further north in WA this year and organisers promise 85 per cent of course content will be new. There will be earlybird discounting on race entry fees until March 10.

KICKSTARTERS GASCOYNE DASH, OCTOBER/NOVEMBER
If you like fast-paced action and racing through the red dirt, keep an eye on gasdash.com for the 2014 Gascoyne Dash. Winning tourism awards in 2012 (gold) and 2013 (bronze), this event is well run and worth checking out, for the adrenaline buzz of competing or as a spectator. Also, make sure you check out your local 4WD club calendar. Clubs such as the Toyota LandCruiser Club of WA are already planning plenty of weekenders and extended trips to fabulous destinations in WA and across the country. If you have any great events that you'd like to share with the WA 4WD community, we would love to hear about them.