When you get really stuck, who you gonna call? The Recovery Guy from Edge 24/7 has the gear to get you out.
Sometimes when you get stuck it only takes a little planning, a bit of knowledge and the right recovery gear to get yourself out of strife. But what if you get proper stuck? Say, 50m down a near-vertical drop off the side of a track, and wedged between trees and rocks?
Even if you’re in a convoy of well-equipped 4x4s, all with winches, straps, shackles and snatch blocks, sometimes it’s just too hard, or too far, to pull a 4×4 out of its stuck predicament. That’s when you need to get on the blower and call Ben Rogan.
Ben operates an earthmoving business called Edge 24/7, which also provides a vehicle recovery service throughout Victoria, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If you get really stuck, Ben has the equipment and the know-how to get you out.
That equipment consists a wide range of earthmoving machinery, kitted out with winches and super-long cables, and the know-how has been honed from years of off-road racing in extreme events including the Ateco Warn Winch Challenge, the Alpine 4×4 Challenge and the Calder Park 4×4 Super Trucks series.
“I used to race back in the day,” Ben Rogan explains. “That’s where the passion comes from, and I have been able to combine the two together, being earthmoving and four-wheel driving, and develop a side business to my day-to-day job.
“There’s not enough recovery work for it to be a full-time gig but I’m not a towie… as we all know, towies don’t go off the road. Basically, if a 4×4 is stuck somewhere off-road, they say you had better go and call someone else because we can’t help you,” Ben laughs.
That’s where Ben comes in, floating the right equipment as close to the job as possible and then tracking into the site. “I did a recent job at Woods Point with an eight-tonne excavator, and it was four hours each way from home,” Ben explains. “I floated the excavator up on one of my trucks… unloaded it at the closest main road and then I tracked the machine in.
“It was a 10-hour round trip; it was four hours there, four hours back and two hours onsite. The two hours onsite were literally the tracking in and the tracking out. It only took me five minutes to recover the vehicle.”
Although it only took Ben five minutes to get the vehicle out, it was properly stuck, wedged between some ferns and the side of a gully, and the driver’s mates had already spent six hours or so the night before trying to recover it, burning out three winches in the process. When they finally admitted defeat, they tethered the vehicle through the gearbox crossmember so it wouldn’t slide any further and then left it alone until Ben arrived onsite.
“Once there, it was literally a five-minute recovery using an eight-tonne digger,” Ben says, adding that accessing sites is never a problem, no matter how tough the conditions are. “It doesn’t matter how rutted-out it is, because all the machines I take to these sorts of jobs have got blades on them, and I always walk in with a bucket as well, so if I need to I can just dig my way in; the rut can be as high as the cab of the machine and I’ll just fill it and drive over it.”
“We normally come out on the same day. It just depends on where the vehicle is stuck, what the issues are, what recovery gear I need to bring depending on what the job is. In the worst cases, where they get really stuck and there are trees down or whatever, I’ll bring a dozer in there and push my way in… there’s no issue in how we’ll get them out.
“I’ve got specialised recovery winches for the machines as well, so I’ve got one winch that’s got a 120m cable on it, so we can pretty much drag from one side of the world to the other, or use excavators or body tracks…” Ben says.
“It’s the right gear for the job. At the end of the day, I say to people, you can stuff around and get your mates to try and help you and save some money, but when you really get in the s**t and you can’t get out, I’ll bring the right bit of gear.”
Ben asks a lot of questions before he heads out to a job to make sure he brings the “right bit of gear”. What has happened? Where did it happen? What is the location like? He also asks for photos to be supplied to help him make an informed decision. And if the stuck vehicle is in the sand somewhere, Ben says he usually opts to use a tracked machine, such as a Posi-Track with a winch on it or an excavator, rather than his 80 Series LandCruiser (see breakout ‘Daily Racer’).
“It just really depends on each different scenario and what needs to be done,” he says. Employing Ben’s services to recover a stuck vehicle doesn’t come cheap, as you’re paying for his time, the time of a labourer, the time for the truck and the time for the machine.
“Some guys will try to recover themselves, they’ll have an attempt at it with their mates or whatever else, and they break down and damage gear… and then when they figure out they actually can’t get out – it normally seems to be on a Sunday afternoon or Sunday night, and they go, ‘Oh no, I need my car for Monday for work’ – that’s when they call me and we give them pricing and then they figure out whether they can afford it. Obviously, this kind of thing is not cheap…” Ben says.
“There was a potential job the other day, his car had been stuck out in Wombat State Forest for seven weeks, and he’d been in contact with me on and off about it…” Ben says. “He’d been out there probably at least 15 times trying to get the car out – it was a HiLux with a seized engine – and I gave him pricing… and then the job got cancelled because the guy figured he actually couldn’t afford it; it was about three hours each way from where we are, so in transport alone we charge $200 an hour. You’re looking at around $1200 before you start and then recovery time on top of that… so I said, ‘Listen, I would budget on spending around $2500 to get you out by the time we muck around and everything else’… I gave him all the options and then he cancelled the job.”
“He sent me a message to say he and his mates managed to get it out on Sunday morning, but on Saturday night someone came through and they stole the wheels off his car, so it probably cost him the same amount in wheels and tyres and all of the rest of the stuff as if he had just come and got us to get him out seven weeks ago.”
While Ben often has a labourer helping him perform vehicle recoveries, he says he also does plenty of jobs by himself, which begs the question, what does he do when there are a bunch of ‘experts’ standing around offering recovery advice?
“I normally just override them all,” Ben says. “I’m not afraid to do that. I’ve been in construction for 26 years, since I was 14-years old, and I’m used to dealing with that kind of stuff. I say, ‘Listen mate, if I need your help I’ll ask for it, but at this point in time you’re better off just to stand by, and then if I need you to do something for me, I’ll be very specific in what I need, and I’ll ask you individually if you’re able to assist… I don’t mean to be rude or arrogant, however this is my gig, my insurance is covering this, so it’ll be done my way.”
“Generally, most people are pretty good, and they’ll go, ‘yeah, fair call’, and they just stand around taking photos for Facebook rather than getting involved.”
Ben says most of his 4×4 recovery work comes through referrals from mates, or through social media channels. “I help run a Facebook page called ‘Crazy 4×4’s Vic’… there are about 4500 members on that, and they all seem to tag me if a job comes up,” Ben says. “Sometimes they might be stuck and will need parts, so I’ll get them out and then if we’ve got parts available at the time we’ll bring those parts out (such as CVs, axles, batteries or alternators), but most of the time the cars are that knackered that they need to be towed home.”
The next time your four-wheel driving in Victoria, it just might be wise to make sure you’ve got Ben’s number on hand… in case you get really stuck.
How to contact The Recovery Guy:
Ben Rogan – Edge 24/7
P: 0447 333 877
Ben’s everyday 4×4 is an 80 Series LandCruiser that looks more comp-truck than daily driver… and that’s because it once was. Ben now uses the 80 Series for 4×4 recoveries when a tracked machine is not necessary for the job.
“I’ve still got the daily-driver race car, as they call it… it is pretty wicked and everyone who sees it loves it,” Ben says. “Driving it is about as close as I get to racing these days.”
The 80 Series has a comp winch up front and a low-mount winch at the rear, but Ben says the front winch is probably a bit over-specced for many recovery situations. “It goes a little too fast,” he laughs. “It’s running a Hurricane gear set and twin motors; it’s probably a little bit too fast for recovery, but when I’m out social wheeling in it, it’s awesome for that.”
Pics: Ben Rogan (Facebook)