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Neil Cocks

150,000kms in 3years through 50 countries ------- and one lousy puncture.

My first experience with Cooper tyres was when Terry Smith sponsored Ron Moon and myself in our travels around the World.  There were four parts to those journeys. The first one was to Africa in 2007 where we travelled from the most southern point of Africa, Cape Augulas, to London.  That trip took nearly 10 months to complete and covered around 40,000kms of all sorts of conditions with not a single puncture.  We were using STT's mainly because they were the only ones with the extra belt.  We had left our vehicles at the Cooper warehouse and the following year returned, picking up our vehicles fitted with a new set of STT's, mind you the old ones still had 10mm left on them, which makes them the best wearing tyre I've had on any 4WD. 

 

We travelled through the UK, Scandinavia, Russia, Kazakhstan and Mongolia to Vladivostoc back in Russia, where we shipped our vehicles back to Australia. We had been away 7 months on that trip and covered 30,000 plus kms. 

 

One of my most memorable tyre-related incidents had to be in Russia 60 kms from Vladivostoc and the end of a very long journey.  While having a cuppa by the side of the road my brother, who is a real stirrer, turned to me and said "I think you've got a puncture". He knew I was hoping to get through the entire trip without a single puncture so I said "Sure I have" thinking he was kidding, but when I looked, he wasn't kidding.  I was devastated but I wouldn't change the tyre as it was a slow puncture so I pumped it up and continued on.  Had to pump it up quite a few times before having to admit defeat and change it.  We were 20kms from Vladivostoc.  I actually called John Pheffer from Vladivostoc to tell him the sad story and he said "it's alright Neil one puncture is good, if you didn't have any no one would believe you". I felt better after that.

 

2009 and 2010 saw us back in Oz and our beloved Outback. 2011 saw us shipping our vehicles to South America, this time fitted with ST Maxx's. The reason we changed over to the Maxx's was they now had the extra belt and the tread pattern was quieter and more applicable to the sort of travelling we were doing and they lost nothing in the wearing stakes, in fact they have been the best wearing tyre I have used. 

 

I have used many brands over more than 45 years of 4WD touring and none of them have been as good wearing or puncture resistant as ST Maxx's and that’s a fact.  I am now running 315/75/16 tyres and even though my 2004 Ford F250 weighs in at 5 tonne I have carrying capacity up my sleeve which gives me confidence.

 

We drove south through South America as far as you can drive in the world and then worked our way back north through all the South American countries and then shipped around the Darian Gap to Panama and continued on through Central America into Mexico and onto the US where we again stored our vehicles, returning in 2012 to spend 6 months going through the Lower 48, Canada and Alaska including driving the Demster H'way in Canada and the Dalton H'way in Alaska, two iconic trips where we crossed the Arctic Circle and reached the Arctic Ocean on both those roads.  That trip covered 40,000 plus kms over a period of 10 months.  All up about 150,000kms in 3years through 50 countries ------- and one lousy puncture.

 

Even though I drive one of the best towing vehicles around, I don't like towing if I can help it because it does restrict where you can travel.  Over more than 45 years of travel has seen us spend nearly 17 years actually on the road in Australia and more than 3 years overseas.

 

My name is Neil Cocks and my wife Helen and myself have resided in Boronia, an outer suburb of Melboune, in the foothills of the Dandenong Ranges, for 54 years.  We have 5 children aged between 46 - 55 years old and 19 granchildren between 6 - 29, they have all travelled Outback.  I have written for quite a few 4WD publications since the late eighties until recently.  I will keep touring our wonderful country until I can no longer climb into my truck ----- I hope that is a few years away yet.