- Seven teams set for the start line as the Defender Challenge by Bowler series heads to North Wales for penultimate round.
Rally teams racing the iconic Land Rover Defender will descend on North Wales this weekend as Round Six of the Defender Challenge by Bowler series takes place at the Cambrian Rally.
Motorsport fans will see seven teams compete for top honours when the inaugural year of the Defender Challenge reaches its penultimate round as it visits North Wales for the first time.
Teams from across the country will gather on Friday for scrutineering at the Victoria Centre in Llandudno, where fans will have the chance to get up close to the vehicles and meet the teams ahead of the weekend’s race action.
On Saturday, the eight-stage course, beginning and ending in Llandudno, will test the teams and their Bowler-prepared Land Rover Defender 90 vehicles across 45 stage miles, including some of the best forest stages in the country. The route will see teams drive through Penmachno and Betws-y-Coed, before tackling the iconic Great Orme headland.
Edd Cobley, a Land Rover Experience instructor from Leicestershire, currently leads the Defender Challenge championship by 15 points, having won the last four rounds of the series.
He said: “With just two stages to go, it’s very exciting to be leading the championship. It’s been a fantastic debut series for the Defender Challenge and I’m look forward to going for a five-timer at the Cambrian Rally.
“Wet conditions made the last round in Ludlow very tricky, but this series is showing another element to the Defender. It’s been a brilliant event and all of the drivers can’t wait to get on the start line at Llandudno.”
The Race2Recovery team, spearheaded by driver Ben Gott, also head to Wales in good spirits as they push for a fifth consecutive podium finish. The team enables people with disabilities to participate in professional motorsport and have received backing from long-term partner Land Rover to enable them to compete in the series. One of the disabled members of the team, female co-driver Stephanie Boddez, has been winning plaudits for her efforts in the series so far. Belgian Boddez uses prosthetic limbs after losing both her legs to meningitis at the age of 17. She became involved with the Race2Recovery team when she contacted them after watching them on the Top Gear TV series. The team invited her to join them for a day in the co-driver’s seat and, after she showed a natural flair for navigating, they invited her to become a full member of the race team.
Ben Gott said: “We are continuing to grow as a team and are learning a lot from taking part in our first race series. Co-driver Stephanie Boddez is gaining more experience, and growing in confidence, and we are now fully up to speed with the Defender 90. To get five straight podium finishes is fantastic and we’re hoping to build on that achievement in the final two rounds of the series.
Rally fans can find out more about Stephanie Boddez’ story in a new short film released online by Land Rover.
2014 is the debut year of the Defender Challenge by Bowler race series, which features seven rounds, held across the UK. The series has been created to offer competitors a clear pathway to progress to further international rally raid competition such as the Africa Race and Dakar Rally.
Information for people wishing to attend the Cambrian Rally as spectators can be found at www.cambrianrally.co.uk
People wishing to find out more information about the Defender Challenge by Bowler should visit: www.bowlermotorsport.com or, to get a taste of the action, watch the highlights video from Round 5 at: http://www.landrover.co.uk/sponsorship-and-experiences/defender-challenge.