Strong finish for Bowler at Nicky Grist Rally, Wales
Posted on 13 July 2023
On the 8th July, Bowler took part in the one-day Nicky Grist Rally in Wales with a team of eight cars. This was a very popular event with 127 competitors taking on stages across the picturesque region of Powys, mid Wales. In contrast to the Scottish Summer Hill Rally, Nicky Grist Stages comprises mainly of gravel terrain which was very loose and tested the driver and co-drivers’ ability to control the car over multiple obstacles and tight turns. The rally also included jumps which really tested the Fox dampers on the cars not to mention make for some serious air-time. With several driver teams new to the Defender Rally Championship for this round, it promised to be an exciting event.
In typical Welsh style, the variable weather brought significant challenges throughout the day. There was sunshine to begin with which quickly turned to rain as the cars headed out for the morning stages. Further drizzle more out on the stages accentuated very slippery conditions. As cars returned for their 60-minute service, the heavens opened again. This really tested the tech teams who had significant work to do on the cars to get them ready to head back out for the afternoon’s stages. In usual form, the Bowler crew worked seamlessly to support their respective drivers.
Of the pairings from Scotland, four returned to the championship to compete. Dan Hutchings, Andrew Burgess’ co-driver in Scotland, returned as driver this time and was paired with experienced navigator from year 1 – Paul Chambers. The new pairing of Denis Ferry from Ireland and John Tomley arrived to take on the challenge and get valuable insight ahead of competing in 2024. Denis has previous tarmac rally experience but nothing like the Nicky Grist Stages so was paired with an experienced co-driver in John. Another new pairing came from overseas; both Kristjan Kajakas and Ari Tiukkanen have plenty of rally experience from time spent in a Fiesta R5 in the Finnish snow , but wanted to test their skills the Bowler Defender.
All drivers were looking forward to this round; Denis Ferry commented, “For this rally, the aim is to learn the car, set up a relationship with John the navigator and get into the Bowler way of thinking and to finish first, first you have to finish. So that is the aim of the game today.” Denis achieved his objective, got the seat time, moved up the table and brought the car home unscathed.
During the afternoon sessions, Kristjan and Ari adapted well to the conditions and drew upon previous rally experience – putting in some very quick times. Having spent time training with Bowler they were able to quickly dial into the car and terrain. Closely behind them it was all to play for, and by the end of four hours of driving, the top three were split by just under two minutes with only 1.9 seconds between 2nd and 3rd place.
Final results brought Kristjan Kajakas and Ari Tiukannen home first, Miles Williams and Andy Dennis second, and Richie Wynne-Williams and Matt Lowe in third place.
Everyone was in great spirits after a day out on the stages. All the cars came back to the pits unscathed having successfully tested their limits over jumps and across the gravel. The event was extremely well organised, and it was great to have been a part of the day in another successful day for Team Bowler. Congratulations to all our teams and thank you to the Bowler support crew, we look forward to returning for Round 5 in September where the team return to North Yorkshire for the Trackrod Rally. This round introduces the first night stage which seeks to deepen driver experience even further.
Final Results for Round 4 of the Defender Rally Series 2023:
|Team/Pairing/Driver Co-Driver||Total Time||Position|
|Kristjan Kajakas/Ari Tiukkanen||0.54:46.7||1st|
|Miles Williams/Andy Dennis||0.56:45.9||2nd|
|Richie Wynne-Williams/Matt Lowe||0.56:47.8||3rd|
|Paul White/Pete Wilson||0.57:18.1||4th|
|Dan Hutchings/Paul Chambers||0.57:40.5||5th|
|Vanessa Ruck/Chris Cuming||0.58:10.4||6th|
|Christina Dobloug/Dave Hooper||0.58:32.6||7th|
|Denis Ferry/John Tomley (new)||0.58:34.5||8th|
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