I’ve spent many a Saturday evening, glass-in-hand, considering which kind of club racing I’d dive into if the Lotto numbers came up.
I’ve never considered rallying, though, let alone rally raiding. I've driven rally cars on loose surfaces a few times, but not nearly as well as I’d have liked to. I’d need someone to take me along a bit to go down that route.
As it turns out, Bowler Motorsport would be the perfect people. I met Drew Bowler and a few members of his team last week, before driving the new Land Rover Defender Challenge rally raid car. A nicer, more down-to-earth, like-minded group of people you’ll simply never encounter – assuming you like messing about in fast cars, of course, and don’t mind getting properly stuck in.
The Defender Challenge came about, Drew says, as a direct result of one particular customer. This was a guy who’d just done a transatlantic boat race, and who’s next itch was to have a crack at the Dakar rally raid. He had no training or experience of rallying at all, but had the means and the commitment. He wanted a car, some support, and a sensible programme to get him ready.
He’s typical of the type of customer who’s come forward since, says Drew. “These guys aren’t 21-year-old adrenaline junkies. They own their own businesses, they’ve known a bit of fun and excitement in life, and they’re signing up as much for the adventure and the social side of what we’re doing as anything.”