Having been very well looked after during the purchase of an Isuzu D-Max pick-up from the Crawfords depot at Charing last year, Charles Pomfret didn’t hesitate to consult the Kent-based team again this spring when an ATV and accessories were needed.
Charles divides his time between working at Pomfret Bros – a long-established butchers shop based in Tonbridge owned by his family for many years and managing shooting days at the Invicta ZZ Shooting Club, which operates on an estate at Tudeley nearby.
Versatile load carrier
Before buying the Isuzu, Charles had a 4wd car. “I needed a vehicle with greater carrying and towing capacity, and it had to have plenty of ground clearance for off-road use as I do a lot of game shooting during the winter,” explained Charles. I looked at other brands and had a few test drives, but the latest Isuzu D-Max appeared better thought out and had a quality finish, and it also came with features such as standard leather seats, which are easy to keep clean but comfortable.”
Charles consulted the Crawfords Isuzu specialist Nick Axford when choosing his pick-up. “He was very helpful. My only concern was that the D-Max had a 1.9-litre engine which was smaller than several competitors. Still, Nick assured me that it had plenty of power and encouraged me to try versions with both automatic and manual transmissions to see which I preferred. They were equally impressive, but I preferred the manual gearbox.”
The D-Max DL40 selected by Charles shares the same engine as other models in the line-up with 162hp and 360Nm of torque, and the double-cab body style carries up to 1,115kg in the rear load bed and will tow 3,500kg.
The right choice
Charles took delivery of his truck in September last year and travelled 17,000 miles in the first nine months. “I like it a lot and have no doubts I selected the right vehicle,” he continued. “It is used for short, local journeys, but I also travel quite extensively within the UK, and I drove it to Switzerland and back too. The ride quality is excellent, and although my average fuel consumption is 32–35mpg, on longer journeys, it achieves up to 38mpg. That’s good for this type of vehicle, especially when it’s towing for so much of the time.”
The truck’s off-road performance has also impressed Charles. “It’s very capable, and if the ground conditions turn slippery, then selecting 4wd is quick and easy. Low ratio 4wd can also be selected, but the engine has so much torque that I have only used it once – in an extremely muddy and rutted field.”
A triple-axle 16ft flat trailer moves larger loads between work areas, and Charles said that the Isuzu’s well-spaced gear ratios mean it is handled easily by the new D-Max. Lower gears with plenty of overlap make it easy to pull away uphill, and the engine’s high torque means that constant speeds are easily maintained on gradients without frequently changing gear.
“When it’s time to upgrade the vehicle, I will definitely purchase another Isuzu D-Max as competitor brands don’t come close in terms of finish and specification, and the standard 5-year, 125,000-mile warranty is reassuring,” stressed Charles. “I might opt for the top-specification V-Cross version next time – depending on the deal from Crawfords.”
Time-consuming ground maintenance
Most club shooting is at the weekends, but looking after the large grass area is time-consuming, so Charles spends a lot of time at the site. For several years he relied on a diesel ride-on mower, but this couldn’t cope with longer grass, struggled for traction on wet slopes and was too slow. Deciding that an ATV would offer greater versatility and save time, he sought the advice of Nick Axford at Crawfords again.
As well as cutting the grass, there are cartridge wads and broken plastic targets to pick up after each shoot, and this was an additional task that a suitable ATV could carry out. Nick suggested that a Can-Am Outlander XU+ with a 570cc, V-twin petrol engine would be an ideal model for Charles’ situation.
Various options for cutting the grass were discussed, and Nick recommended a Wessex AT-110 1.1m trailed rotary mower powered by an integral 12.5hp engine. A Wessex MTC-120E trailed sweeper collector with a 1,2m revolving brush, and a 5.5hp engine was also specified, along with a trailed roller.
The ATV and implements arrived this year in April, and Charles said they had revolutionised his ground care work. “The ATV is comfortable and quick, and it’s never short of traction, so even after rain, the work on slopes can continue,” he said. “The large flotation tyres travel over the soft ground without making ruts, and that’s important as we set ourselves high standards for the appearance of the shooting ground.”
Mowing and collecting
The choice of rotary mower has also proved successful. “It leaves a smart finish on the main, flatter areas, but it also copes easily with longer vegetation. High working speeds mean that considerable time savings are achieved compared to our previous ride-on mower.”
The sweeper-collector is used after each shooting event, and Charles said that it does a thorough job and is much quicker and easier than walking around for hours with a barrow collecting the debris.
“I would strongly recommend the Crawfords team,” concluded Charles. “They all have a huge amount of product knowledge, and each time I have asked for advice, they have ensured that they understood my requirements before recommending solutions, rather than just selling me whatever was in stock.
“The Isuzu continues to impress me, and the Can-Am is proving superb, and I’m confident that Crawfords will provide efficient back-up whenever needed.”
Kent-based Charles Pomfret was so impressed by the service from Crawfords Charing depot when he bought his Isuzu D-Max DL40 last year that he didn’t hesitate to consult the team again when he needed an ATV. He is pictured with the pick-up and his Can-Am Outlander XU+ 570 ATV, which is used for mobility and ground maintenance tasks on the shooting ground he manages at Tudeley.