Taking his off-road exploits to yet more extreme heights, 4×4 adventurer and photographer Ant Collins @black_knight_offroad/ has shared his team’s latest Cape York off-roader to the ultra-remote Frenchman’s Track.
Travelling with 4WD mates Sam and Mitch, the trio put their vehicles (two V8 Landcruisers fitted with ultra-resilient Maxxis Trepadors) to the ultimate test!
Ready for the final leg of what Ant describes as “an amazing three-week adventure”, the team set off on the 76km track (travelling east to west), as well prepared as possible, but realising they could be up for some tricky challenges.
Starting the journey at 3pm, they knew they’d be camping on the track for at least one night, with two main river crossings (the Wenlock and Pascoe River), both with reputations for being quite deep. They had been warned that the Pascoe was higher than normal and was causing issues for those trying to cross, but the Black Knight team was confident they were well prepared and having two vehicles was a major advantage.
Other than a few nasty corrugations, Ant describes the first few kms as being pretty sedate, saying that Frenchman’s Track between Telegraph Rd and Wenlock River is straight and easy to navigate. He admits, however, you definitely need to keep your wits about you, with a few sections of muddy bogholes encountered.
The entrance to Wenlock was very steep and knobbly, so they had a good look before proceeding and with the motto “slow and steady wins the race”, successfully made it across while also keeping their eyes peeled for crocs!
After camping overnight on the dry section of the riverbed, the team set off again, this time with the testing Pascoe River Crossing in their sights.
The journey from Wenlock included a mixture of washouts, off cambers, and some great sections. Arriving at the Pascoe, things turned a little more treacherous beginning with the descent!
“These were some of the most dangerous conditions we’d seen the entire journey including anything on the Old Coach Road,” Ant said.
He explains that once you’d committed to the track, there was no reversing back, and the river was very deep. If you committed to one, you committed to them both!
The river was flowing, but the team walked through and were confident it wouldn’t move the vehicles, although there were some big boulders so needed to find a good line to navigate through.
After much planning, they got both vehicles across. Ant says that having the rigs safely parked up on the other side of the Pascoe was a momentous occasion: the team had completed one of the most difficult obstacles Cape York had to offer without incident!
Ant admits that the Pascoe was the most demanding part of the track, involving lots of spotting, lots of line checking, and lots of getting out of the vehicle to take a closer look. Having now done it himself, he recommends that the river crossing is only done by two vehicles with recovery equipment and experienced 4WD’ers only!
“It was an amazing journey none of us will ever forget, pushing our vehicles and ourselves to the limit to reach all the milestones we set before starting out.”
And a final word on the exhilarating trip — would they do it again?
Check out the full story including all the amazing footage of the Black Knight and Maxxis Treps in action!