Bowler Teams tackle gravel night stage in Trackrod Yorkshire Rally
Posted on 29 September 2023
Set against the backdrop of a breath-taking clifftop location with a beachfront starting and finishing line, the Trackrod Rally Yorkshire, held on September 22nd and 23rd, drew an impressive roster of participants. Among them was Bowler, which entered the event with a team of six cars. While their experience in gravel stage events was extensive, the real test awaited the teams in the form of the challenging night stage held on Friday evening.
All the Bowler duos participating in this event had previous UK rally experience. Miles Williams and Andy Dennis, Richie Wynne-Williams and Matt Lowe, Vanessa Ruck and Chris Cumings, Paul White and Pete Wilson, Denis Ferry and John Tomley, and Jorma Jokela and Janne Jokela made up the seasoned roster. These weren’t novices; they meticulously prepared for the night stage by researching the course and tapping into the knowledge of Bowler’s technical teams and driver trainers. In fact, some of the cars received upgrades in the form of laser lights and new tyres. Navigating high-speed straights and tight bends through a forest is a challenge in itself but doing so in pitch darkness demanded exceptional co-driver skills and precise navigation.
As the clock struck eight, the Bowler teams gathered at the Filey beach-front starting line. Earlier rain showers had left the stage both slippery and dark. Little did they know that, before they even crossed the start line, the third car on the track missed the first bend, careening spectacularly into the trees. Fortunately, everyone involved emerged unharmed, and the stage continued without interruption. Miles Williams and Andy Dennis delivered a strong performance, securing the first-place position in their class, closely trailed by Richard Wynne Williams. Regrettably, Paul White encountered trouble on 9.5 miles into a 12 mile stage due to the grooves left by the previous incident, temporarily veering off-track. Though no significant damage occurred, this required assistance to exit the ditch, resulting in an almost eight-minute delay compared to Miles’ first-place finish. Thankfully, all Bowlers completed the stage safely and undamaged, returning to the pits just before 11pm, where the technical team promptly undertook car cleaning and damage checks.
The following morning, as the sun graced the clifftop, the technical teams diligently inspected the cars one last time in preparation for Saturday’s stages. Meanwhile, the catering team prepared breakfast, fuelling the Bowler teams for the day ahead. At 10:30 am, the Bowler Teams embarked on the first of five Saturday stages, attracting a throng of spectators to the forest course. Following Stage 2, Miles and Richard maintained identical times, with Denis and Jorma close behind. By the conclusion of Stage 3, less than a second separated Miles in the lead from Richard in second place—setting the stage for a thrilling race.
Stage 4 witnessed a dramatic shift in positions, as Richard claimed the lead, and Paul mounted an impressive comeback to secure second place. However, the real race was on for the technical teams, who had a mere 25 minutes to service the cars and ready them for the final stages. These two longest stages led the driver teams through picturesque Yorkshire forests and moorland, with Miles challenging the new leader and ultimately regaining the second spot by the end of Stage 5. Stage 6 saw a mere ten seconds separating first and second place, with a razor-thin two-tenths of a second between third and fourth. The final results crowned Miles Williams and Andy Dennis as the winners, with Richie Wynne-Williams and Matt Lowe taking second place, and Jorma Jokela and Janne Jokela securing third. Congratulations to all the Bowler Teams, and we eagerly anticipate their return to North Wales for the Cambrian Rally on October 28th and 29th.
Final Results for Round 5 of the Defender Rally Series 2023:
|Team Pairing Driver/Co-Driver||Total Time||Position|
|Miles Williams/Andy Dennis||1:13:10.3||1st|
|Richie Wynne-Williams/Matt Lowe||1:13:41.8||2nd|
|Jorma Jokela/ Janne Jokela||1:14:17.2||3rd|
|Denis Ferry/John Tomley||1:15:16.1||4th|
|Vanessa Ruck/Chris Cuming||1:15:35.0||5th|
|Paul White/Pete Wilson||1:21:05.5||6th|
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