The action takes place at Woodpecker Rally, an all-gravel rally course that will subject the Bowler-prepared Defender 90s to 43 stage miles, including some of the best forest stages in the country.
Team Harford’s car currently leads the championship, followed closely by Land Rover-sponsored Race2Recovery. With Dakar veteran Ben Gott at the wheel, the Race2Recovery team will be hoping to secure their fourth consecutive podium finish. ‘It’s great to see co-driver Stephanie Boddez gaining more experience and confidence with every round,’ said Ben. ‘We’re looking forward to the challenge of securing another podium finish in Ludlow.’
They’ll have their sights set firmly on Edd Cobley, this time piloting Richard Hayward’s Stage 2-tuned machine. Edd achieved his third victory of the season in the previous round at the Welsh Hillrally, spurred on by a desire ‘to beat Race2Recovery so I can wind up Ben on Twitter,’ he told us.
‘Weather conditions made the previous round incredibly tough,’ he adds ‘but the Defender handled everything that was thrown its way and we were delighted to top the podium. I’m expecting another tough test at the Woodpecker Stages, but come rain or shine we will be ready to race and looking to top the podium again.’
Matt Lister is back in the action, after a minor injury in a crash in the last round. He’ll be co-driver to Drew Bowler himself, Managing Director of Bowler Motorsport, who’ll be making his Defender Challenge driving debut.
2014 is the inaugural year of the Defender Challenge by Bowler championship, 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.
For LRO’s verdict on these epic 90s (and some awesome pictures) turn to the nine-page feature in our April 2014 issue.
Spectators welcome! Head to the Haye Park car park. More details can be found at the Woodpecker Stages Rally website.
LRO magazine is proud to be the official media partner of the 2014 Defender Challenge by Bowler.