Pay and play certainly takes on a new meaning when Les Comes opens its gates to Land Rover owners for the Land Rover Party. With 60 km of tracks graded from the family trundle to the extreme challenge, this proves to be a very special event indeed.
The owner of Les Comes is Pep Vila, a Dakar truck participant from 1979 to 2009 and those 30 years of off road experience shine through with big smiles of contentment from his staff and visitors alike.
This weekend was the 9th Land Rover Party and the word ‘Party’ has never been better used, because once you’ve set up camp and got your free t-shirt it’s time to enjoy yourself. Nearly 500 Land Rovers from across the continents converged with one goal in mind, fun and mud, not once during the weekend did we hear those dreaded words ‘you can’t do that’, such a refreshing change for a 4×4 enthusiast. Saturday morning arrives and Land Rovers are seen heading out into the hills whilst families climb aboard the ex-military vehicles used as buses to tour the scenic estate, taking in panoramic views. People bustle around the historic house enjoying the various stands, the G4 Owners Club have brought a convoy of 13 original vehicles over for us to ogle and flashes of orange can be glimpsed amongst the hills as they take turns between work and pleasure.
A remote control truck obstacle course has been designed in miniature so once you’ve finished there you can wander over into the dell and watch 4×4 drivers take on the life size version or better still have a go yourself. A wooden cross axles obstacle leads you into muddy climbs and dips, there’s also a rock challenge and seesaw to test your metal, we couldn’t resist a go ourselves, all in the name of work and research, ‘honest’. We were surprised to see brand new Land Rovers taking on the challenge just as enthusiastically as the Defenders, Series Landies and Santana’s. Later in the afternoon, an extreme trial was organised with the biggest water filled whoops we’ve ever seen, Les Comes staff loiter amongst the crowds directing cars and brow beaten drivers to their best line of exit whilst a tractor stands in reserve waiting to drag out those that throw their hands up beaten. A catering tent offers good reasonably priced food, drink and the chance to stop an observe the surroundings, with so much going on its hard to take it all in, children with painted faces are playing on various attractions, electric Evokes, zip wire, bouncy castle to name a few, mothers are taking advantage of the kids supervision and slinking off to the beauty parlor with various treatments to be freely sampled and of course Land Rovers everywhere coming and going.
Saturday night comes, Land Rovers are parked with an array of mud splats identifying the dare devils from green laners and refreshed from their hot showers crowds gather around the stage for an evening of entertainment provided by an energetic band, everyone retires happily to bed ready for another day of fun on Sunday.
Sunday also saw the arrival of a convoy of classic Land Rovers including fire tenders, military spec vehicles, Santanas, lightweights, and early series trucks, all immaculate in turnout.
There is no language barrier here, we all speak Land Rover and happily joke with one another over tales and stories of our vehicles.
Jordi Grau, director of the Les Comes Land Rover Experience Center finished his 4×4 tutorial class and gave us an interview, as we stood amongst the new Land Rovers, all available to take out for a demo run. Off camera, with his vivid eyes twinkling Jordi comments ‘Land Rover drivers are so polite, it’s a great weekend’, we laughed, … “of course we’re all polite, Land Rovers are British.”
As 4×4 enthusiasts we salute you Les Comes, we’ve had a great weekend, judging by the toots and smiles as Land Rovers left we weren’t the only ones.
If you don’t own a Land Rover don’t worry, keep an eye out for the Les Comes 4×4 Festival held in spring, just as much fun, naturally bigger as the 4×4 world marques come together in their love of adventure,.
Or wait until the Land Rover Party 2016, this is promised to be bigger and better with some very big surprises to celebrate it’s 10th year.
Check out our footage from this years event of a run in a Dakar truck, now that’s an opportunity you don’t get everyday.
Les Comes is certainly one for the diary, we can’t recommend it enough. Hopefully see you there in 2016.
Land Rover Party Video footage is to follow shortly.
For more information on Les Comes, click here
Petronas Dakar Truck footage from this year’s Les Comes 4×4 Festival, click here
Coming soon, we spoke to the G4 Owners club to find out what is a G4 Land Rover.