IN THE BEGINNING
Ardent Off Road was originally founded as Yorkshire 4x4 Specialists in 2011 by Russ Dykes. Russ had worked around Land Rovers all his life, having been the dealer principle for several Land Rover dealerships before starting his own 4x4 specialist garage.
The following year, Russ and his daughter Libby, who was working in a 9-5 job at the time, yearned for a more adventurous life. They decided to set up a 4x4 adventure tour business together, so Libby quit her job and Yorkshire 4x4 Treks was born.
Yorkshire 4x4 Treks started by taking clients on trips around Yorkshire’s green lanes before expanding its adventure offerings to club weekends, other trips in the UK, and then to more exotic locations across Europe and North Africa, with camping, hotel and luxury accommodation options to suit all tastes and budgets.
REBRANDING AND EXPANSION
As the international adventures started to become a much bigger focus and the business expanded to include professional training, driving experiences, and the hosting of launch events for vehicle manufacturers, it was obvious that the name Yorkshire 4x4 Treks no longer reflected what the business had become.
So in 2017, Russ and Libby joined forces with two superfan clients, Andrew Robinson and Jon Morris Smith, and Ardent Off Road was born.
Since joining Ardent Off Road, Andrew and Jon have invested money, time and enthusiasm into the business, helping Ardent realise the big dream. Thanks to Andrew and Jon, and the ever-accommodating owners of Carlton Towers in Yorkshire, in 2018, Ardent Off Road was able to create a bespoke off road 4x4 course and training centre set in 40 acres of woods and parkland. Ardent now also have four vehicles in their fleet, making them the only 4x4 adventure company to offer vehicle hire for their training, weekends and overseas trips.
In 2018, Ardent Off Road started to offer bespoke adventure options alongside scheduled adventure tours and also became Land Rover Monthly’s preferred tour operator. On the training side of the business, Ardent Off Road became the training provider for Mountain Rescue England and Wales and added personal 4x4 training courses to its portfolio, giving 4x4 owners the chance to increase their driving confidence and get the most out of their 4x4.
In mid 2019, Russ decided to move on to new ventures and is greatly missed. However, the Ardent team continues to grow as the business expands and we have welcomed on board Hattie Merchant-Turpin, our ace administrator who keeps the wheels of the business turning. Neil Spencer has also joined the team and we are pleased to welcome back Tony Kipling who worked with Yorkshire 4x4 Treks. Tony and Neil are both highly skilled instructors and tour guides and are a great asset to Ardent!
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
At Ardent Off Road, we’re always very excited about what’s round the corner. We are continuing to develop our training, experience and corporate facility at Carlton Towers to keep it exciting and relevant for both professional and private clients. Alongside this we continue to add new and exciting adventure destinations to our portfolio of tours, the latest being Tunisia.
Also new for 2019 is our partnership with GPS Globe navigation devices - Ardent Off Road have become the official UK distributor for this fantastic brand, so watch out for more information on our website and show stands!