Off Road Rescue

This week's challenge is to rescue a one-tonne car from out of a pond, then drive it about a mile over muddy terrain.

The Rough Riders work on an offshore oil rig. They're Owen "Ozzie" Senior, Barry Eastow, Jason Lord, with expert Tim Drey, and they're playing in purple. The initial idea is to find a tractor, and drag a truck chassis behind with hydraulic rams to lift the car out of the mud. They're removing the front tractor wheels, to ensure they don't dig in. Everything pivots on the tractor - chassis joint, so that has to be very well articulated.

Motorcycle fans The Bakewell Puddings play in salmon pink. They're Nick "Captain" Marriott, Mark "Smell" Elliot, Andrew "Charlie" Charlesworth, with expert Steve "Recovery" Matthews - if Lisa says recovery is his middle name, who are we to argue? Their idea is to mount a flat bed on a small 4x4, with a motorbike engine powering a winch. The Puds come across the first problem - they find a small dumper, but first can't get the battery to start, then find it has no steering.

Simon Buck, the judge, reckons that the Riders are going to come into trouble if they have to go up any hills. Without a wheel at the front, their tractor-combo may just go nose first into the hill, and come to a grinding halt. They're having to make lots of modifications, building and welding and shaping, including making a complete steering pivot from scratch. Jason's building There's a steel casing containing a rotating pin to turn left and right; and a pin-in-tube contraption to move up and down, and perhaps a little fore-and-aft motion. Barry has the rest of the welding, Tim is making sure everything's spot on, and Ozzie's removing the mud.

The Puddings have taken the dumper off their dumper truck, and are replacing it with a flat bed. As usual on the Heap, the first thing you see is not the thing you need, and they have to go out again and find a piece of metal that's
stronger, larger, and generally more able to support a car. Just to prove this show is both educational and entertaining, Lisa points out the difference between a Bakwell Pudding and a Bakewell Tart; the Pudding is larger and wears tights, the Tart is smaller and wears stockings. If Lisa says it, who are we to argue?

Two thirds through the build, judge Simon is still concerned about the weight, and whether the hinge will work, but likes the way the Riders' machine is coming on. The Puddings are less well advanced, but have all the parts in place
- their question will be to finish in time. Steve works with his winch, while Nick and Charlie bash the slightly-curved bed into flat flatness.

The Riders are able to use their tractor's hydraulic system to power their lifting gear, and help with the steering. But disaster looms - they need a control valve, and have to scavenge further in the half light of evening. The Puddings have constructed their winch by hand, and it turns their 250cc motorbike engine into a 1000cc monster. The Riders' front axle comes off, and there's nary a wobble from the steering joint.

The judge reckons the Puddings have the better build, which will pass or fail at the moment of recovery; the Riders should recover their car, but might fall over on the extra mile across the mud.

The Bakewell Puddings are first away, going downhill towards the car in the water. They attach the car, start the winch, and it comes up the platform at a rate of knots. Then problems strike: the contraption is misbalanced by the
water in the car, and they have to open the doors and lift it the last few inches by hand. The whole contraption looks most unstable, and very cleverly take the shallow hill in reverse. They have to use the same trick for the second, steep hill, and head for home. The course is complete, and there are no penalties.

The Rough Riders need a quick run, or a clean run, or preferably both. Their tractor has the speed advantage on the dumper, and start by smashing in the windscreen. During the lift, they lose the front bumper, and secure the car into position with the front wheel just touching the back of the trailer. Coming back, they get stuck in the mud. Shallow hill proves no problem, but then the tractor breaks and pitches nose-down in the mud. They can't go on, but have the consolation that their welds were perfect - it was the tractor that let them down.

The Puddings win by a knockout.