After a storming start to the Defender Challenge at last month’s Mid-Wales Stages, which saw LRO’s off-road driving expert Edd Cobley take a convincing victory, seven rally-prepared 90s will do battle in the forests of the Brendon Hills near Minehead.
Three of those are new entrants, headed by the Race2Recovery team’s Tony Harris (car 118). Harris, who had to have his left leg amputated following a bomb blast while serving as an officer in the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers in Afghanistan, has tackled the gruelling Dakar rally twice but this will be his first outing in the Defender Challenge. He’ll be co-driven by fellow amputee and Race2Recovery supporter Stephanie Boddez from Belgium.
Other new entrants are experienced Defender racer Robert Harford, co-driven by his son Jonathan (car 75), and trayback Defender 90 winch challenge competitor Matt Mills, who will have Bowler’s brand director Jon Chester on the maps.
Bowler works driver Edd Cobley isn’t doing the Somerset event, so Mid-Wales runner-up – and Camel Trophy veteran – Damien Taft (car 114) will be looking to take best advantage in the battle for championship points.
Andrew Wicklow was third in Wales, but can’t make the Somerset event either, so his navigator Simon Armstrong will make his rally-driving debut at the wheel of number 116.
With a new front wing and repaired transmission on their 90 (car 113) after an off in Wales, Richard Hayward and Matt Lister will be hoping for a less dramatic time in Minehead.
Stephen Richards and Kevin Handley, who made their rallying debut in Wales, and are setting their sights on going all the way to Dakar in the future, are back for more too, in car 115.
With at least three other Land Rovers on the Somerset Stages entry list, including a pair of M-Sport Freelanders, there will be plenty of sideways Green Oval action to see at the designated spectator stage in Chargot Woods, off the B3224 south-east of Wheddon Cross.
For detailed spectator information see somersetstagesrally.com
You’ll also be able to catch the Defender Challenge by Bowler competitors in action here:
June 7: Dukeries Rally, Southwell, Nottinghamshire
July 19-20: Welsh Hill Rally, Walters Arena, Swansea
August 30: Woodpecker Stages, Ludlow, Shropshire
October 17-18: Rallye Sunseeker, Poole, Dorset
November 15-16: Borders Hill Rally, Dumfries, Scotland
Prizes will be awarded for 1st, 2nd and 3rd places at each event, as well as 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the overall championship. Prizes for best-prepared car, most improved driver and Spirit of the Championship will also be given.
See here for more details on the Defender Challenge.
Land Rover Owner International is proud to be the official media partner of the 2014 championship.