LRO Magazine kick up dust with Bowler at the BXCC

22 Oct 2019

Bowler once again supported the second round of the BXCC competing with two of our Defender Challenge cars, but this time with a twist as we welcomed Martin Domoney from LRO Magazine as the pilot in Car 25 and the sibling paring of Holly and Jack Wicklow in Car 9. This was a great opportunity for LRO to get up close and personal with the Bowler team and to see our capability to enable drivers to fulfil their ambitions, whether that be in national off road events or right through to international rally raid and Dakar. The Team Wicklow pairing were also keen to gain valuable experience in all terrains to further their skills when racing with their father in his rally raid Bowler Bulldog. The Defender Challenge Car provides the perfect basis to start in the sport, coupled with the experience of the Bowler team in both preparing and servicing the car throughout the event. We also provide expert navigator support and tuition so that our customers can really get the most from every event and progress to achieve their racing dreams. Forrest Estate, as always, presents some extreme off road challenges and after an initial pep talk for Martin he took to the course and the car really well. The torque from the Bowler tuned diesel engine really helped, especially on some of the climbs enabling Martin to progress up the National B leader board. Whilst Martin had had only limited race experience before, he quickly grew in confidence which was underpinned by the specially developed suspension package for the car; “The car was so stable at speed, it really helped me to understand how fast you can really make a Defender go.” In the Team Wicklow car, Holly piloted for the first day posting ever quicker times on the changing course.

At the close of day one martin had progressed into the top three of the National B event, showing what a great package the Defender Challenge car is. The evening saw the opportunity for Martin to witness the efforts of the highly experienced service crew, although clearly with his smooth driving style and the tough build of the car the team were able to have an early evening and enjoy some traditional Scottish fair!

Day two saw an unchanged five mile course and a target of a further five laps to achieve a finish. With the course now fully bedded in it was clear that stepping off the racing line could have serious consequences, which Martin experienced first hand when pulling the car a little too wide into a fast sweeping left hander and straying onto the loose surface, causing him to really put into practice the experience he had gained the day before. The pitfalls of getting it wrong were further underlined when sadly Jack Wicklow piloting for the second day strayed too far onto the loose gravel in a corner and rolled the car twice landing back on its wheels. This was a testament to the construction of the Defender Challenge car with the superb bespoke internal roll cage protecting both Jack and Holly from any serious harm. With Martin left to fly the Bowler flag he bought the number 25 Car home in a highly creditable fourth overall and first in class in the National B category. Look out for the full perspective from LRO in the September issue.

To find out about our Arrive & Drive services for British events this year, please click here or phone Dave on +44 (0) 7794 117913.

Bowler’s Safari Weekend

1 Jul 2019

Earlier this month Bowler hosted its first Safari Weekend in association with the Cornwall and Devon Land Rover Club and Dartmoor 4×4. Held in the foothills of Dartmoor, we ran three safaris during the weekend over the 400 acre farm estate. Racers from across the South West battled against our Bowler Team members for top honours. Friday evening saw the cars racing into the dusk and proved a real warm up for the following two days. Liam Griffin piloted the Bowler V6 110, coming home third overall. The crews had to combat dusty conditions to get to the finish and then to be rewarding back at Dartmoor 4×4 HQ with some great refreshments and a social evening.

Day two saw us running on a longer course with even more challenges. Run over eighteen laps, this really tested the drivers’ consistency and the vehicles’ reliability. All the drivers really enjoyed the course layout which encompassed both open fields and technical woodland driving. Sadly, course penalties cost Liam a podium finish, but a useful education in course rules and avoiding tape! The service crew looked after the car admirably with only a front diff change in the afternoon. After a hot day in the rolling Devon hills all the participants and marshals enjoyed a great social evening whilst crews prepared the cars again for the final days competition.

Day three saw a modified course run from the Saturday and everybody immediately on the pace vying for top honours. After the previous days course infringements, Liam and his co-pilot Rob were keen to make no errors and set the early pace for others to catch. The Bowler V6 110 performed impeccably even up against some big specialist built cars, as Liam proceeded to extend his lead throughout the day. Our very own staff members Jon Sprackling and George Grey had a great weekend in the Coles Automotive Bowler Defender Challenge Car, gaining valuable experience and more ideas for further exciting Bowler projects.

To top the weekend off Liam and Rob took over all honours on the final day showing a clean pair of heels to the rest of the field. This was a great opportunity to support UK Off Road Motorsport and show the wide range of events that the Bowler stable of cars are capable of competing in.

Thanks again to the Cornwall and Devon Land Rover Club and Dartmoor 4×4 for supporting such a successful weekend.

Dave Marsh, Head of Motorsport.

Dream. Dare. Live It. Dakar Tour

10 Jun 2019

Come and learn about the Dakar as it enters the third chapter of its life with the move to Saudi Arabia, at the picturesque Lake Vyrnwy Hotel in the heart of the stunning Berwyn Mountains. There will be presentations by Chris Evans (UK Dakar Liaison Officer), Sam Sunderland (2017 Dakar Winner) and Mick Extance (5 times Dakar Finisher) amongst others. There will be time afterwards to talk to the speakers and discover more about the Dakar and Rally Raid.

Bowler Motorsport will be there with a Desert Spec Rally Raid Bulldog and their Factory Support Truck, alongside a full spec rally raid bike ready to take on the Dakar in 2020. In the evening there is an opportunity to watch an Enduro Prologue organised by 4 times World Enduro Champion Paul Edmonson and former European Champion Tom Sagar, just a 5-minute drive away.

Live the Dream

26 May 2019

As we race through 2019, Bowler continues to offer its world class Defender Challenge vehicle to aspiring racers during the British Cross Country Championship (BXCC) and Hill Rally Championship.

The Bowler modified Defender 90s proved successful whilst competing between 2013 and 2016 in the Defender Challenge Series by Bowler Motorsport.

We can take you from 0-60 in one weekend… we’ll get you a licence, a works Defender Challenge Vehicle, an experienced navigator, training as you go and the full support of the Bowler team. All of this is available for just £2,999 (Inc. VAT).

Our Defender Challenge Vehicle is booked for Round 2 and Round 4 of the BXCC, however we still have availability for the following events:

BXCC Round 3. Sweet Lamb, Wales. 13/14 July 2019.

BXCC Round 5. Carno, Wales. 14/15 September 2019.

BXCC Round 6. Walters Arena, Wales. 26/27 October 2019.

Scottish Borders Hill Rally. 16/17 November 2019.

Are you interested? For further information please call the team on +44 (0)1773 824111 to discuss how you can take part in your own racing adventure with Bowler’s acclaimed factory team.

Our next British event is the second round of the BXCC at Forrest Estate, Scotland (DG7 3XS) on the 15th – 16th June. Come and see the vehicles in action, meet the team and join us for food and drinks. If you wish to attend this event or any other mentioned below please email [email protected] for more details.

BXCC Round 2. Forrest Estate, Scotland. 15/16 June.

BXCC Round 3. Sweet Lamb, Wales. 13/14 July.

BXCC Round 4. Bovington North, England. 10/11 August.

BXCC Round 5. Carno, Wales. 14/15 September.

BXCC Round 6. Walters Arena, Wales. 26/27 October.

Scottish Borders Hill Rally. 16/17 November.

Thunderous noise and lots of wheel spin at the BXCC

30 Apr 2019

Earlier this month Bowler’s Works Team attended the first round of the 2019 British Cross Country Championship at Walters Arena, South Wales.

This was the debut race for the brand new V8 Bulldog. The “straight out of the box” car represents Bowler’s recent return to British Racing; the very roots where Bowler began over thirty years ago. Driven by Richard Hayward and his co-driver John Tomley the car made an excellent first appearance, as it fought to achieve a sixth in class position in the top class; a sterling effort for a brand new vehicle still in development. Considering the car had never turned a wheel before, they did very well. And it’s safe to say it was the best sounding car in the service park! With further upgrades being made to the car by the expert team of engineers at Bowler, notably to the rear suspension, we are on our way to improved performance.

It was also the first outing of the V6 110 since it has been revised following its initial release in 2015. Driven by Dave Marsh, the vehicle fought gallantly and was competitive in class until the team was unfortunately forced to retire at the end of the first day. Since the event Bowler’s team have been working hard on further developments for the V6 110. Dave and his co-driver Ashley Cackett clocked up some very promising lap times during Day 1, so we’re looking forward to seeing what they can achieve in future rounds of the BXCC.

As always we’d like to take this opportunity to give thanks to the team who fought valiantly to keep the cars running throughout the duration of the event, but also to prepare the vehicles before the event whilst contemporaneously preparations were being made for the Morocco Desert Challenge.

You can watch highlights from the weekend including an interview with Richard here.

Our next British event is the Welsh Hill Rally at Walters Arena on the 17th – 19th May. Please come and see the vehicles in action, meet the team and join us for food and drinks. If you wish to attend please email [email protected] for more details.

Following the Welsh Hill Rally the Bowler Works Team will be present at the following British events:

BXCC Round 2: Forrest Estate, Scotland (15th – 16th June)

BXCC Round 3: Sweet Lamb, Wales (13th – 14th July)

BXCC Round 4: Bovington North, England (10th – 11th August)

BXCC Round 5: Carno, Wales (14th – 15th September)

BXCC Round 6: Walters Arena, Wales (26th – 27th October)

Scottish Borders Hill Rally (16th – 17th November)

We are also conducting a safari weekend on the 31st May – 2nd June. This will be an exclusive event where people can gain experience with the Bowler team. As an existing customer you can take part in your own car, or if you do not own a Bowler Arrive & Drive will be available.

If you are interested in this fantastic opportunity please call Charlie on +44 (0) 1773 824 111.

Fantastic event with a great result for Bowler at the MDC

28 Apr 2019

Bowler Motorsport proudly announces its success at the Morocco Desert Challenge. This is the second largest rally raid in the world and also one of the toughest. 2019 marked the eleventh edition of the MDC, promising to be longer and harder than ever before… it didn’t disappoint.

The Bowler Motorsport Team completed the MDC with three cars crossing the finish line with Alex Cole & Emma Osman in 21st, Liam Griffin & Rob Daniels in 29th and Greg MacLeod & Craig Bounds in 41st position out of ninety cars. A creditable result for such an arduous race consisting of 8 stages and over 2,700km.

Unfortunately, one of the Bulldogs driven by Andrew Wicklow with his co-driver (and daughter) Holly Wicklow was forced to retire on Stage 7, only a few hundred kilometres from the finish line. However, given their performance on previous stages they would have been on track for a top thirty position had they been able to finish.

Overall, we are pleased with the 75% success rate of the Bulldog, a car that is considerably cheaper than the majority of the vehicles we were competing against. A team of amateur drivers and navigators currently drive our cars, without a single professional driver in sight. Our vehicles show incredible value against the professional field that takes part in these events. The experience our drivers encounter is the same. They experience the same thrills and suffer the arduous event with courage and determination that warrants them the title of Bowler Works Driver. They do a truly magnificent job.

All of this of course, would not be possible without the round the clock effort from the team of mechanics and engineers, who support the Bowler vehicles. Countless late nights and early starts didn’t affect them or their attitude as they set about preparing the cars at the end of each stage for the following day. Not only were the team on hand to prepare our cars, they kindly offered their technical support to other contestants that were taking part in the rally in Bowler cars, but were supported by other teams. Bowler is proud to support all of its customers past and present.

Since arriving back in the UK, our expert team of engineers is making various improvements to the cars, notably to the air conditioning and oil cooler. The scorching heat of the desert proved to be a challenge throughout the race. However we were encouraged by the success of previous developments. The upgraded rear sub frame and suspension has proved itself once again.

Alex Cole commented, “As always, it’s a pleasure to be part of the Bowler team. As the mechanics and team of designers and engineers actually built and developed the Bulldog, they’re in a perfect position to quickly assess any issues with the car and use all the data to make the car even better for future racing. We’re pleased with the overall team positions and performance of the car against such a tough and competitive field of Dakar-standard teams. The rally was the perfect testing ground for the car, navigators and drivers. We feel confident that all the development will lead to the ultimate goal of a well-priced and accessible car which will perform reliably and comfortably for many drivers and help them to achieve their racing dreams. It’s great to be part of a British company flying the flag for great engineering, great teamwork and a professional, solid and reliable support structure which makes the race a truly special and enjoyable experience.”

Join the Race to Dakar

8 Apr 2019

After Bowler’s success at the Africa Eco Race last year, we are looking forward to entering the Bowler Works Team once again in 2020 for the 12th edition of the race. However, with the next edition comes a new opportunity for aspiring rally raid drivers.

Bowler would like to invite you to take part in the raid event, which runs alongside the race, in one of our Defender Challenge Vehicles. Whatever your experience you will be able to drive beside the competitors of the race, and even drive many of the stages of the rally through three African countries; Morocco, Mauritania and Senegal.

The Africa Eco Race Website says, “Driving at your own rhythm, with no notion of time, the purpose of the raid event is to allow everyone to make their own adventure.” It continues “You’ll also enjoy watching the competitors in the race at defined passage points, while enjoying the beautiful scenery that only Africa can offer.”

We’re so excited about this addition to the race and even more excited to invite those who are perhaps less experienced, yet still have the desire to race to Dakar, to join Bowler on this mighty adventure.

We will be releasing more information about the event in the coming weeks. Please phone us today on +44 (0)1773 824111 should you wish to express your interest.