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Defender one-make rally: All teams to race with Bowler-modified Land Rover Defender 90 vehicles

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Whitley--February, 20, 2014: The inaugural round of the Defender Challenge by Bowler race series is set to place on Sunday 2 March as part of the Viking Motorsport/Links Electrical Mid Wales Stages rally event in Newtown, Wales.

The new rally series, managed by Bowler Motorsport and supported by Land Rover, is a UK-based Defender one make rally series comprising of seven thrilling rounds of racing held across the UK in 2014.

Competitors will face a demanding blend of hill rallies and stage rallies spread across Mid and South Wales, Somerset, Nottinghamshire, Shropshire and Dorset, before the final round takes place in Scotland in mid-November. Entrants will also have the option of competing in additional rallies in Europe and North Africa alongside the Bowler Works team.

The series caters for experienced competition drivers (both off road and circuit) and those with no prior competition experience. The ultimate aim of the series is to provide a route for teams to progress to top rally raid competitions such as the Dakar and the Africa Race, a pathway previously non-existent for drivers and teams aspiring to compete in the world’s toughest races.

All competitors will drive Bowler-prepared Land Rover Defender 90 vehicles that have been expertly modified for safety, performance and durability. The modifications to the competing Land Rover Defender 90 vehicles include a full MSA / FIA certified roll cage, fire extinguisher system, racing seats and harnesses, light-weight Bowler wheels, a full Bowler racing suspension system with bespoke springs and heavy duty racing dampers and an engine tune to 175hp that delivers 450Nm of torque.

A total of up to 15 cars will compete in this year’s series and each team must take part in a minimum of five of the seven rounds, with their top five placings counting towards the final standings. Competing in round one of the Defender Challenge by Bowler are drivers with experience of races such as the Dakar, the Dubai Desert Challenge, and drivers for whom this will be their first stage rally. For one driver, Damian Taft, this will be his first motorsport event since representing the UK in the 1994 Camel Trophy.

Drew Bowler, founder Bowler Motorsport, said: “We’re really excited to get the Championship underway and to begin the journey, which for some drivers, will lead towards Dakar. We’ve enjoyed developing the Defender, and are looking forward to racing at such a great venue with such a strong WRC history, and working with a great organisational team and motor club.”

The Defender Challenge will be a ‘class’ within existing rally events where total entries of all classes will be between 80 and 130 cars (including the Defender Challenge cars). These events vary in distance and duration, but all will give the team (driver, navigator, service crew) a great experience of national level motorsport. Completion of the series will gain the driver their National B rally license, and attendance at some of Bowlers overseas races will allow this to be converted into the International license required for events such as the Dakar.

The first round of the rally takes place in Newtown, Mid-Wales, as part of the Viking Motorsport/Links Electrical Mid Wales Stages rally event. As well as the Defender Challenge by Bowler series, a range of other cars will compete in different classes including the WWRS RAC Rally Championship, Pirelli MSA Welsh Stage Rally Championship and Mintex MSA British Historic Rally Championship. This year’s Mid Wales Stages racing will include a town centre start in Newtown, before racers progress over 55 miles incorporating Pikes Peak, Myherin, and Hafren before finishing back in Newtown’s Broad Street.

Prizes will be awarded for 1st, 2nd and 3rd at each Defender Challenge by Bowler 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 awarded.

People wishing to find out more information about the Defender Challenge by Bowler should visit: Bowler Motorsport. Updates during the race can be found on the @LandroverUKPR twitter feed.