rear suspension geometry is designed for mass management . In other words , it promises a grand towing experience .
While not a particularly heavy caravan , the Crusader ’ s singleaxle configuration meant it had the potential to turn more willingly than a dual-axle rig . This is often a challenge and a blessing all in one . Easier to turn in tight situations , potentially harder to control for the less experienced – especially when reversing .
And there ’ s the rub . This faithful correspondent loves the great outdoors , the comfort of a caravan , the adventure and fraternity of travelling the open road . Backing is my bugbear . Backing is my weakness . I feared for the safety of numerous orange cones .
FACING A WEAKNESS
The first of the practical lessons was about backing a caravan in a straight line and into a designated bay at 90 degrees to the direction of travel .
It ’ s sometimes said that every weakness contains within itself a strength . I have a weakness for a crisp pinot grigio and find within it the strength that is the satisfaction gained from a fine wine . Chocolate – dark , rich chocolate or a great coffee blend – is a similar weakness with an associated hidden strength . The trouble is , there is too much fine wine , chocolate , and great coffee in the world to ever motivate me to seek greater caravan backing skills . That is my shame . Now was the time for my redemption . And so , here I was , put to the test and those around me expected me to deliver .
Classic movie lovers will understand when I say that this was my High Noon moment and this driver needed to meet his nemesis – caravan backing with and without a spotter .
To paraphrase the words from that famous 1952 western , “ Do not forsake me , oh dear reader – I did not know what fate awaited me . I only knew I must be brave .”
My spotter for the straight-line backing , stunt driver Paul Goodwin , stood by my window , letting me know that backing was about small , careful movements taken early and with care . It also meant trusting and listening to my spotter and that meant trusting and listening to Paul .