Bowler dominates at the Rallye Terres du Gatinais France for round 2 of the 2023 Tata Elxsi Defender Rally Series by Bowler
Posted on 9 May 2023
Over the weekend of 29th and 30th April, the Tata Elxsi Defender Rally Series by Bowler participated in their first international Rally round. The Bowler teams showcased their exceptional driving skills and performance as they competed in the 17th Edition of Rallye Terres du Gatinais, France. Despite the challenging weather conditions and tough terrain – including pervasive mud, the Bowler cars proved their mettle with all 3 cars finishing strongly in the production category. This was the first time teams competed directly against non-Bowler competitors.
The French rally marked the second of the European rounds which comprises five rally events, taking Bowler teams to amazing locations to compete – including the French cross-country course, the plains of Spain and volcanic backdrop of Iceland. The international rounds enable clients to build on experience gained from the UK Defender Rally Series in 2022. With longer stages and more challenging terrain, the European stages provide an event atmosphere and competition unlike any experienced before.
The first day of the event saw the Bowler teams battle it out for the top spot, with Dan Beecroft and Barney Gilespie leading the T2 class field. Dave Beecroft and Fraser Parish followed closely behind, constantly challenging the leaders and posting exactly the same stage times on the final run of the day. However, Lee Caroline and Syd Phillimore had a minor incident earlier in the day, sliding into one of the notorious Gatinais ditches, worsened by the previous day’s heavy rainfall. Fortunately, the Bowler Defender’s amazing capability enabled them to drive out and continue racing, much to the awe of spectators.
As the stages started drying out on day 2, the Bowler crews pushed even harder to find the slightest margins and take the tightest lines with Dan Beecroft and Barney Gilespie holding onto their lead in the T2 class. Dave & Fraser came in second with Lee & Syd fourth when the teams stopped for service.
During the final stages, the Bowler teams faced tough competition from Herve de Londel and Laurent Biblocque in their modified production Jeep which ultimately succumbed to mechanical failure, and Bruno and Denis Bourland in their heavily modified production Shogun. Dave Beecroft and Fraser Parish fought hard and finished second overall in the class, only nine seconds behind the experienced French pairing, and despite Dan Beecroft and Barney Gilespie incurring a puncture on the final stage they finished in third place. Lee Caroline and Syd Phillimore finished in fourth place.
The event proved intensely competitive yet highly successful for the Defenders, as they finished strong and showcased their toughness and performance throughout the two-day event. Despite minor cosmetic damage induced by drivers, the Defenders incurred no mechanical issues all weekend, while 30% of the competitor field fell victim to the tough conditions.
The Bowler team is thrilled with their performance and looking forward to Round 3 in Spain with great enthusiasm. The event has proven that the Bowler cars are a force to reckon with and are here to dominate the rally world.
Calum McKechnie, general manager of Bowler, remarked; “This weekend has been an amazing second round to the European Tata Elxsi Defender Rally Series by Bowler. It was fantastic to see the Bowler Defenders outperforming many of the other vehicles and coping with the tricky conditions with such ease to finish at the top of their class. It’s clear to see what a great basis the Defender was for our competitors as they tackled the course with a new vigour and confidence built on the previous year’s training and experience. Congratulations to all our competitors but especially to Dave and Fraser for coming 2nd in class and first overall in our European Tata Elxsi Defender Rally Series by Bowler. I’d like to thank our sponsors Tata Elxsi for their support of this year’s championships, and we now look forward to round 3 in Spain on 26th – 27th May.”
For full results ACCUEIL | rallye (rallyegatinais.fr)
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