If you want to explore the capabilities of your performance car, there are countless events and programs happening all over the country every weekend specifically for this purpose. High performance driving events like track days and autocrosses have become hugely popular ways for people to push the limits of their Porsches, Miatas, WRXs, and M3s and experience what they can really do. But what about someone who wants to experience the capabilities of their Jeep Wrangler, or Land Rover Discovery, or Toyota 4-Runner? There are very few places where owners like this can get their own vehicle off-road in a safe and controlled environment. Team O’Neil aims to change this with their new off-road program called TrailCraft.
TrailCraft is a new brand under the Team O’Neil umbrella focused on off-road driver training. The first course TrailCraft is offering is a lead follow trail drive. Over three hours, students will drive their own offroad vehicles through Team O’Neil’s diverse and extensive network offroad trail network at their 600 acre facility in Dalton, New Hampshire. Students are ground guided through obstacles and receive instruction through two way radios. TrailCraft is expected to grow into a more involved program but these half day trail drives are intended to kick start the TrailCraft brand.
One of the neat things about TrailCraft is that the classroom session begins before students arrive. When students book their trail drives, they are sent a video to watch before they arrive that goes over some offroad fundamentals. When they arrive on site, the course begins with a walk around of the student’s vehicles. The instructors go over each vehicle's specific four wheel drive system, traction control system, tires, ground clearance and recovery points. TrailCraft requires that vehicles have four wheel drive low range to participate in a trail drive. After assessing the driver’s and vehicle’s capabilities, the instructors lead the group around a short drive on gravel roads in four wheel drive low range to get those who are new to off-roading used to the way their vehicle responds in this configuration. Once students are comfortable, they move on to an easy trail drive to TrailCraft’s offroad park. The offroad park is primarily made up of “man made” obstacles including hill climbs, side tilts, and water crossings. The offroad park is the perfect place to safely introduce students to more advanced terrain because there are lots of different obstacles for different vehicles with varied capability levels and participants can do as many laps as they choose. This allows them to repeat the same obstacles and experiment with different techniques and vehicle systems and feel the effects.
From the offroad park, the group moves onto a short trail drive to the top of the mountain. The trail to the top is a steep winding trail with more mild terrain. Most rigs make short work of the climb and are rewarded with stunning views of the New Hampshire foliage at the summit. From here, the route is much more free from. There are lots of different routes to be made out of the advanced trails and intermediate trails and the instructors work with the students to match the route to their comfort level and vehicle capability.
This personalization is why TrailCraft is the perfect course for you and your 4X4. Every session is designed to best suit your skill level and the capabilities of your vehicle to ensure that you get the most enjoyment and knowledge out of your trail drive. So if the most demanding obstacle your rig has conquered is a speed bump, head on over to trailcraft.teamoneil.com and to book a trail drive and see what it can really do off-road! Trail drives are happening everyday in October and are a fantastic way to get your feet wet with offroad driving and spend some time in the gorgeous North East scenery.