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Putting A Wildcat Among The Pigeons

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August 18, 2014
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Quite often insurance can seem a bit of a staid industry, one of caution, featuring products designed to keep you safe, secure and financially protected. It is something of a breath of fresh air then when we are able to take a look at the rougher side of motoring – and what could be further from the road-safe norm than a Flux-branded Bowler Wildcat storming through the British countryside?

The Bowler in question belongs to Andy Jones, a Director for Bankstone who works with our sister company Bikesure. Andy has only been racing since the start of the year, but has fallen instantly in love with the 4×4 scene. To get an idea of exactly what he gets up to out in the wilds of England, and for a look at his uniquely fearsome motor, we took the chance to get in touch.

Tearing Up The Countryside

The types of picnic-wrecking, wildlife-scaring race in question for Andy are comp safari events and hill rallies. Comp safaris are run over varied terrain tracks, usually through fields and woodland, where competitors complete multiple runs aiming to get the lowest possible time. The events last one or two days, combining a camping family experience with the ferocious realities of off-road rally driving.

Hill rallies, Andy’s favourite form of off-road racing, are run in much the same way as multi-venue, multi-stage rallies, just like the Wales Rally GB. The higher mileage and variety of terrain are the main draws to this type of race for Andy, as well as the increased involvement of his navigator and the importance of precise notes and clinical timing.Andy 4x4

So far Andy has completed four events this year, competing in the ongoing British Cross Country Championship and the Northern Off Road Club comp safari, with hopefully plenty more racing and success to follow.

Racing In A Bespoke Bowler

When asked about his motor, Andy modestly tells us that he can only afford the one car to compete in – but what a car he has picked. Tearing through the countryside in a tranquility-smashing bespoke Bowler Wildcat, it’s easy to understand why he has taken to racing in such a big way.

Chosen due to its inherent rally-adapted ruggedness and the (relatively) cheap availability of parts, the Wildcat has been customised by Andy from the ground up to provide him with an edge in competitions. Nearly every component purchased for the Bowler was produced as either as one-offs or are heavily modified low-volume parts, in fact the only original parts on the vehicle are the Landrover Defender windscreen and the lights.

Andy 4x4 no2

Despite an almost completely unique car, Andy is still on the lookout for new mods – pointing to a £11,000 sequential flatshift gearbox as a potential next target. If he happens to come across £155,000 in the meantime, a brand new Bowler EXR rally car might just do the trick instead.

Although cars and parts can undoubtedly run up a pretty hefty bill over time, Andy rightly points out that 4×4 off-road racing can be cheaper than other forms of amateur motorsport. Not only can the entry costs be lower, but also each event can net you a tidy prize sum – going some way to help recoup the cost of boutique Bowlers. Money aside, few other events provide such an opportunity to travel and race around some of the finest British countryside – reason enough to take up the sport.

Andy is back in action on August 23rd-24th at the NORC event in Driffield, and will continue to compete throughout the season in that championship and the BCCC, and hopefully will be racing long into the future. Everyone at Adrian Flux wishes him and his navigator well, and we look forward to hearing more good news in the future.

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