The Race2Recovery team, well-known for their previous record-breaking Dakar exploits, had been looking to make it three podium finishes in a row and were delighted to take second spot after battling hard against a superb drive from winner Cobley. The team is using the series to train up new recruits including civilians and people from the military who have suffered injury or illness and are looking for a way to focus their rehabilitation.
Reflecting on a solid performance, Race2Recovery driver Ben Gott said: “The last stage was epic. Sideways rain, sideways car and all the ditches had disappeared and become puddles. We had to back off a bit, I knew we weren’t going to catch Edd. It was just a case of bringing it home safely in one piece. It was a fantastic result. The car was faultless all weekend.”
Other notable incidents during the weekend’s racing included the retirement of two teams, with Damian Taft’s weekend finished after a crash mid-stage on Sunday, whilst driver Matt Mills dramatically rolled his vehicle on Stage 14.
After the accident, Mills said: “Everything was going well but there were a lot of rocks and we bounced off a rock which threw us into the air and sent us into a tumble. We’re both absolutely fine and it’s just cosmetic damage to the car.”
Drew Bowler, MD of Bowler Motorsport, said: “We’re absolutely delighted with the results from this weekend - the championship is developing really well, and the first hill rally provided exactly the sort of drama and excitement we expected and hoped for. It was a real test for the drivers in terms of variety of terrain, weather and duration - this was the first two day event in the championship.
“The conditions and duration also tested the service crew, and reminded us all of the long distances races that the Defender Challenge is building up to. It was inevitable that we’d encounter some damage to the cars - it’s all part of the learning curve of racing - but most importantly, no one was injured, the Defenders ran extremely well, and the organisation was superb.”
With three rounds still remaining, the teams are set to meet further challenges at rallies spread across 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.