Advanced Off-Road Driving Courses
Join us in 2018 for a series of off-road driving courses in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Led by an instructor with over 35 years of experience tactical driving and training – to include U.S. Special Forces and Service personnel – this series of single-day events start with the basics of advanced off-road driving and work up to highly technical driving and recovery techniques. The courses are intended for drivers wishing to learn about off-road driving and practice with their own equipment. Participants are welcome to join us for just the initial Advanced driving courses, or to stick with us through the whole series throughout the year. Courses are designed to be additive, building upon expertise taught in the earlier courses.
About the instructor:
Tom O’Neil has been working in off-road driving for over 35 years, both professionally and recreationally. He is the former President and Training Director at Back Country Driving School as well as at Mobility Solutions & Innovations, Inc. He instructed U.S. Government and Military personnel, including SOCOM and Military Trainers alike, understand how to use their equipment in some of the harshest terrain on the planet. He possesses a deep understanding of vehicle components and their utility He also is an expert in vehicle recovery and techniques for drivers and spotters alike.
Use Your Rig
Hit the trails in your truck, learning on your equipment and get no-kidding advice on safety and performance modifications suited for how you drive
Decipher the switches and icons in your rig, becoming confident and knowledgeable about what equipment to engage, and when
Learn From a Pro
Learn in both classroom and field environments from a seasoned instructor in a small-team environment
Hit the Trails
Learn in the morning, and practice in the afternoon. Hit a set of private trails to put your new knowledge and skills to the test.
You Built it. Now use it.
Learn and Practice
Advanced Off-Road Driving
Our Instructors. Private Trails.
Course #1: Advanced Off-Road Driving Course
Our Advanced course is designed to provide the driver with a fundamental understanding of general vehicle dynamics and capabilities. The single-day course starts in the shop where we’ll hoist a 4x4 up on the lift and talk through the components of the truck and fundamentals of off-road driving, explaining differentials, transfer cases, lockers, and more. The group then transitions to a private property where the rest of the morning is spent in the ‘sandbox’ practicing driver and spotter approaches and techniques. After lunch, the remainder of the day is spent out on the trails, applying what was learned throughout the morning. We can not guarantee no damage to your vehicle. However, this course has been designed to avoid vehicle damage if instructor guidance is properly followed.
- Identification and usage of vehicle componentry (differentials, transfer cases, lockers, winches, etc.)
- Benefits, trade-offs, and uses of vehicle modifications (lift kits, wheels, etc.)
- Chalkboard-exercises for fundamentals of advanced driving
- Equipment preservation, including techniques for mitigating obstacles without damaging equipment
- Personal safety on the trail, around terrain, equipment, and vehicles
- Touches on everything.
- Intro to advanced off-road driving.
- Proper methods for steep hill ascents and descents, and how to handle failed steep hill descents
- How to read and traverse side-slopes.
- Counterintuitive techniques to recover from imminent roll-over
- Correct procedures for crossing ditches, logs, and other obstacles
- Proper approach to crossing rock/moraine fields (rocky stream beds)
- Techniques for operating in sand and mud
- How to “pick a line” for mitigating trail obstacles
- Correct use of ground guides and standardized hand signals
7:00a - 8:00a: Arrival and Check-in at Commonwealth Classics (8382 W Main St. Marshall, VA. 20115)
8:00 - 10:30a: Classroom Component
- 10:30 - 11:00a: Transit to Field
- 11:00 - 12:30p: Sandbox
- 12:30p - 1:00p: Field Lunch
- 1:00p - 4:00p: Field Component
Cost: $300 per vehicle. Highly recommended for two-person teams as the course teaches both driving and spotting. Space limited to 4 vehicles. Cost includes meals for 2 people.
Insurance: Participants are using their own vehicles at their own risk. Advanced and Advanced+ courses are designed such that vehicles in well-maintained and operable conditions can navigate the courses without any damage to vehicle or body, provided instructor guidance is followed. That said, participants must demonstrate during check-in that their vehicle is actively covered by an insurance policy. Commonwealth Classics is not responsible for personal injury or damages during trail events. A signed waiver of liability will be required during check-in.
Personal Gear: You’re going into the woods. Get ready. Participants are advised to wear field-appropriate clothing, to include boots, shirts, long-pants, and bring work-gloves for moving terrain and handling equipment. Extra pairs of socks are encouraged, as are warm-weather oriented clothing, as trail conditions may vary. Please be sure to bring plenty of water for yourself and your passenger, as well as any food you’d like for between meals. Participants will get equal time driving and spotting, which involves walking trails and climbing terrain alongside vehicles. Plan to burn calories.
- Vehicle Preparation. Participants are responsible for ensuring a well-maintained vehicle is brought to the course. Tire tread life and the condition of bushings, suspension, and braking components should be examined by a mechanic prior to arrival at the course. Arriving with a full-tank of gas is important for keeping the day on schedule.