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Baja Oeste 2023: One month for the "most western race" in Portugal (and Europe)

The western region of Portugal will host another edition of the Baja Oeste de Portugal from October 6 to 8, organized by Escuderia de Castelo Branco and valid for the FIM Bajas World Cup, Baja European Championship, National Cross-Country Open Championship, and Yamaha YXZ100R Cup in the case of motorcycles and in the case of cars for the Portuguese Cross-Country Rallyes Championship.

The route will run through the municipalities of Torres Vedras, Bombarral, Cadaval, Azambuja, Alenquer, Óbidos and Sobral de Monte Agraço. The route will be kept secret until the start of the event. For the participants racing in the Moto competition, which includes the SSV teams racing in the national competition, only the SSVs will have a RoadBook for the selective sectors, while for the liaisons, the organizers will deliver a RoadBook to all participants.  The cars will have roadbooks for all sections as usual. The route will be marked using arrows, plastic tape, and some other signs.

For motorcycles, the race starts at around 3 p.m. on Friday, with the 6.50km prologue in Campelos, Cadaval. On Saturday, the motorcycle participants will have to race the special stage that will take them from Cadaval to Sobral de Monte Agraço, with a total length of 235.50km. On Sunday, the race program will be a little less extensive, as SS2, which will start in Sobrena (Cadaval) and finish in Casais de Britos (Azambuja), will be just 150 km long. In total, the participants will have to cover 501.57km, of which 385.5 will be in competition and the rest will be liaison sections.

The detailed program for the cars is not yet known, but if it remains the same as in previous years, it should work in the opposite way to the program for the motorcycles. In this case, the prologue will be held on Saturday morning, followed in the afternoon by the shortest special of just 150 kms, with the longest special of 235.5 kms taking place on Sunday.

Informations about 

Estrada Rally 2023: Countdown to the A Estrada Rally.


Between the upcoming 25th and 30th of this September, the fourth round of the FIM Rally TT European Championship, also counting towards the Spanish Rally TT Championship and the Adventure Galicia Championship, will take place in the Pontevedra town of A Estrada.
The physical preparation of the riders and the fine-tuning of the mechanics will be crucial to achieve the goal of a rally that promises adventure over hundreds of kilometers of intense navigation.

The Galician geography, and more specifically that of A Estrada, guarantee the toughness that every raid must have, while the extremely long navigation sections will delight roadbook enthusiasts.Transfers from the bivouac to the timed special stages have been minimized in this specialty, which is already accustomed to endless liaisons. The bivouac, located on the river beach of Río Liñares in the town of A Estrada, will have everything necessary for riders and support teams to carry out their daily tasks and also relax before facing another day of competition.

estrada 5 9 w 2

With less than a month to go before the Spanish rendezvous with European navigation, Javier Varela, Roadbook Manager of Adventure Galicia, gives us a sneak peek of what awaits the riders: "The routes are long, and I'm not talking about kilometers; I'm referring to navigation and challenging terrain. It's a rocky area. It won't be just about racing. Some days we'll be dealing with around 600 waypoints. The liaisons will be from the bivouac to the start of the special stage and from the end of it back to the bivouac, each one spanning between fifteen and twenty kilometers." "We will have neutralized zones for refueling, changing roadbooks, grabbing a bite, and leaving the neutralization when the Stella beacon, with its countdown, tells you that your neutralized time has ended. The control card will be handed out at the end of the special stage so that everyone can return to the bivouac without haste and with time to relax if they wish."

With limited spots set at 120 entrants by the organization and a deadline of the 15th of this month to complete the registration, everything is set for an unprecedented rally in one of the most spectacular regions of the Iberian Peninsula. The only thing missing is you.

Specific regulations: Registrations at: http://adventuregalicia.com/


Stage Distances: 

stage estrada 2023

Source: Pablo Pillado/Adventure Galicia.
Photos: Pablo Saa.

Defender Rally Series gets into gear with 2024 UK and European Championship season launch

  • Competition hero: Defender-based rally championship now accepting applications for its third season, delivered with off-road performance specialists Bowler
  • Designed to roam: UK Championship includes training and seven rounds of competition, with gravel and hill rallies throughout Scotland, England and Wales
  • Driver development: 2024 rally specification builds on the capability of the production Defender and supports progression to international events
  • Works package: Novice and experienced rally drivers compete in specially prepared Defender 90s with dedicated works-level race support from experienced Bowler crew
  • Close competition: Bowler takes care of all event logistics so competitors can arrive and drive, while one-make series ensures close racing – putting driver skill to the fore
  • Enter now: Entries now open for 2024 season with limited spaces available – visit bowlermotors.com for more details

Defender drivers can roam the land as motorsport heroes in the 2024 Defender Rally Series. Applications are now open for next season’s one-make off-road motorsport championship, bringing together experienced and novice race drivers for a series of unforgettable cross-country rallying tests. Defender delivers this sporting adventure by working alongside off-road performance specialists Bowler.

With seven varied rounds across the UK from March 2024, the third Defender Rally Series offers competitors the opportunity to test and develop their skills on a mixture of surfaces, ranging from gravel tracks to exhilarating hill rallies.

In addition to the UK Rally Series, participants also have the option to join specific international events throughout the year, a concept proven as part of the 2023 season. This global expansion opens doors to new landscapes, cultures, and challenges, allowing drivers to test their mettle against opponents from around the world.

Following two highly successful years, the Defender Rally Series has been uniquely developed to provide the perfect platform for teams to hone their skills, experience the thrill of competitive racing and prepare for the opportunities provided by the Defender 90 in the UK and internationally.

Calum McKechnie, General Manager, Bowler Motors, said: “The Defender Rally Series continues to surpass expectations across the rally world. The toughness and dynamic capability of Defender 90 is underpinned by Land Rover engineering. Combined with Bowler DNA, it delivers a world-class competition platform, capable of succeeding at top-level events. New for 2024, a range of international options expands horizons, introducing clients to motorsport adventures that will stay with them for a lifetime.”

The Bowler Defender is based on the production Defender 90 and uses the same proven powertrain as showroom models. Defender has enjoyed unprecedented sales success since its launch in 2019. To meet strong demand, earlier this year JLR introduced a third shift at its Nitra production facility in Slovakia, to increase production capacity.

Mark Cameron, Managing Director for Defender and Discovery, said: “The Defender Rally Series is the perfect demonstration of the capabilities that define both Defender and the expertise of Bowler. Our unstoppable 4x4 is available in 90, 110 and 130 body designs and with a range of power options, including an efficient plug-in electric hybrid. They all share the same Land Rover DNA and the Bowler Defender exploits the dynamic character of Defender 90 to create a rally-raid style vehicle that is as durable as it is fun to drive, ensuring close competition for both novice and experienced drivers.”

Tough competitor

Drivers can secure a vehicle and a place in the UK championship from £118,000+VAT. This fee includes a rally-prepared Defender based on the latest generation P300 SE production model. It delivers 221kW, 400Nm of torque and unstoppable off-road capability. Utilising Bowler’s extensive experience, each Defender 90 is specially prepared to tackle the most demanding terrain.

The sophisticated racing package is engineered to comply with exacting FIA and Motorsport UK regulations and the fully supported works package includes entry to seven highly competitive rounds of the UK Rally Series. Clients can rely on a dedicated race technician, senior race engineer and electrical specialists – all eager to ensure the driving team are in the best position to compete.

At each event, competitors enjoy a comprehensive support network including a dedicated parts department, mobile workshop and catering. Participants also benefit from training, technical support and mentoring, which ensures they are fully prepared for the challenge ahead.

Dave Marsh, Head of Motorsport, Bowler Motors, said: “The Defender Rally Series was designed to take drivers on a journey, providing foundational rally experience while building the strength and depth of knowledge required to compete at the highest level. Having undertaken a number of UK and European rounds, our drivers are demonstrating competitiveness under tough conditions. Now, we are raising the bar by moving into a third phase of development, introducing drivers to Rally Raid events and up to week-long endurance Rallies – the pinnacle of the sport.”

Being part of a team in this way develops and enhances the skills of both novice and experienced drivers, providing full works support with a variety of packages for clients that remove the stress of organising their attendance, covering off everything from delivering a vehicle that meets the regulations for each event to providing co-drivers.

For time-challenged customers, Bowler’s Full-Service option looks after every aspect of competition life. The vehicle is managed by Bowler for the duration of the championship and is professionally stored, cleaned, inspected, serviced and repaired, if required, between each round – and delivered to each event ready-to-race. Given the remote location of many events, this option is particularly attractive for clients who want to simply arrive and drive.

With all competitors using the same vehicle hardware, close competition is guaranteed with success determined by the individual abilities of each driver team. Spaces in the 2024 UK series are limited to 16 vehicles. With six places already sold, prospective teams should act quickly to secure a vehicle. To find out more or to arrange a demonstration of a Defender Rally Series vehicle, contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

bowler 4 9 w 2

New Defender

Defender Rally Series vehicles are based on the latest 90 production model, which provides rugged durability and unstoppable off-road capability. Bowler then adds body strengthening – including the addition of an FIA-approved roll cage – and safety features, while removing unrequired interior trim and replacing the glass side windows with lightweight polycarbonate. Enhancements to the lighting, suspension and cooling then equip Defender for the demands of competition.

Calum McKechnie, General Manager, Bowler Motors, said: “The Defender provides an unbelievably capable base to work from. At Bowler, we strip out the interiors and carry out a series of modifications to ensure they excel on rally stages, including everything from larger fuel tanks and uprated lighting to additional cooling and bracing, but 95 per cent of the body, and the drivetrain and brakes are largely untouched, which is a testament to the brilliance of the production Defender 90.”

It’s a natural progression for Bowler to evaluate offering some of its rally-derived features for all Defenders. The first such feature to come from its rally division is the new 20-inch Challenge Wheel which is now available online from Bowler.

Bowler and JLR

Founded in 1985, Bowler Motors is a pioneering automotive company based in Belper, Derbyshire, UK. With a rich history in engineering off-road competition vehicles, Bowler has achieved international acclaim for its dedication to producing successful high-performance models. Specialising in rally raid events, Bowler has participated in iconic competitions such as the Dakar Rally, British Cross Country Championship and French Baja, showcasing its exceptional Tomcat, Wildcat, and Nemesis models – all derived from the legendary Defender 90 and 110.

Bowler Motors goes beyond simply manufacturing vehicles – it provides clients with exclusive competition racing events. These events serve as a platform for participants to develop the essential driving skills and technical knowledge required to excel in international rally raid events. With Bowler’s guidance, enthusiasts can experience the thrill of off-road racing while honing their all-terrain driving skills.

Every customised rally car produced by Bowler is meticulously tailored to meet the unique requirements and desires of its clients, including bespoke engineering solutions. From enhanced performance to elevating driving dynamics, Bowler is dedicated to delivering exceptional off-road driving experiences.

Bowler Motors has fostered a close partnership with Land Rover since its inception, culminating in a formal brand partnership in 2012. This collaboration marked the beginning of the popular Defender Challenge Rally Series, which took place between 2014 to 2016. This joint effort showcased Bowler’s expertise and cemented its position as a leader in off-road competition.

In December 2019 Bowler Motors joined JLR, becoming a subsidiary of the company. The union provided Bowler with enhanced resources and opportunities for innovation, reinforcing its commitment to delivering unstoppable state-of-the-art off-road vehicles. Its products have navigated uncharted territory, incorporating Land Rover DNA to deliver customary capability and composure.

With a rich racing heritage and an exciting future, Bowler continues to captivate enthusiasts and thrill-seekers with its exceptionally tough competition vehicles. Its immersive off-road experiences are uniquely facilitated by the latest generation Defender, which provides extremely tough and highly capable foundations.

Bowler and Classic Defender

Bowler Motors has established a reputation for its expertise in converting and modifying Classic Defender models; underpinned by its involvement in the successful Defender Challenge racing series. The conversions and modifications offered by Bowler are delivered by a dedicated team at the Bowler production headquarters in Derbyshire. The primary aim of these conversions is to improve the breadth of performance of the core vehicle, including everything from power and handling to braking performance and driveability.

Bowler offers a comprehensive enhancement package specifically designed for Defender. This ‘Road Performance’ package encompasses a wide range of features and upgrades designed to transform the vehicle for road use without compromising off-road ability. Bowler also understands that each customer may have unique preferences and requirements.

In addition to the pre-defined conversion packages, Bowler can provide bespoke engineering solutions to create the ultimate Bowler-modified Defender. Customers can collaborate with Bowler’s engineering team to incorporate personalised modifications and features into their vehicle.

Bowler Parts and Service

Bowler takes great pride in providing exceptional parts and servicing options for Defender models. Its dedicated service team ensures each vehicle receives top-notch maintenance packages to enhance performance, preserve optimal condition and safeguard longevity.

When it comes to servicing vehicles, Bowler treats each car as if it was their own. Its meticulous service plan adheres to a comprehensive process, leaving no detail overlooked. The skilled Bowler service team takes its time to inspect and address every aspect of each vehicle, from its headlamps to door hinges, air-con to wheel trims, wiring to bearings.

Bowler’s commitment to providing exceptional service extends beyond a standard maintenance check. Its 100-plus point check involves examination of every part, inside and out. This comprehensive inspection guarantees that no aspect escapes its attention. Clients can rest assured their vehicle will undergo a thorough assessment, ensuring optimal performance and reliability when they hit the stages.

For more information, please visit bowlermotors.com


Source Bowler, via Motorpress

FIA-FIM World Championships: Rally Transibérico returns to the calendar

Iberian Peninsula will host the European Round of W2RC 2024
Race will take place both in Portugal and Spain

Far away goes the year 2009, the year in which the last race was competed in under the name of Rally Transibérico. In 2010, Transibérico gave way to the larger Estoril Marrakech Rally, which, after a few days of racing in Portugal, across the Alentejo and the Algarve regions, headed to the north of Africa for the last specials.

The 2011 edition of the race, which should have been called Rali TT Portugal 1000, would not go to the road, ending a long sequence of events initially organized by Clube Aventura with the various editions of the Baja 1000, which would later come to "grow" for the Rally Transibérico already by the hand of the ACP.

The return of the FIA Cross-Country Rally Championship to Portugal was scheduled for the year 2021, when the BP Ultimate Portugal Cross-Country Rally was scheduled, but then the pandemic showed up, and the race was, in a first phase, postponed and then definitively cancelled. This edition should have had specials in the Algarve, Alentejo, and Ribatejo, returning to very famous areas in the history of the Baja 1000 and Transiberian Rally.

In 2024, Portugal and Spain will again have a joint race in the FIA-FIM World Championships, after in the most recent editions of this competition only Spain hosted an event valid for these competitions, more specifically in Andalusia, where for two years the Rally Andalusia was held, but no new edition of the race is planned, probably due to the lack of the necessary conditions in the region to organize a race with the dimensions and characteristics required to integrate the World Championship.

The race now announced will be part of the FIM Rally-Raid World Championship (motos) and also the FIA Rally-Raid World Championship (cars), thus becoming part of the W2RC program designed by ASO - the promoter of the championship, bringing together motorcycles and cars in the same races. Thus, both the big names in motorcycles and cars are expected, both in teams and drivers, and it is expected to join a large caravan of European drivers who are familiar with the terrain and local conditions.

It is known that the organization is already working on the preparation of the race, but any details of it are unknown for the time being. The edition that was scheduled for 2021 was based in Grândola, so this city could be part of the plans of the organization once again; however, there are several other cities that can host the race from both the Portuguese and Spanish sides, such as Évora, Elvas, or Badajoz. The race will be held from April 2 to April 7, with predictably the first day being dedicated to the usual formalities, the second to the prologue, and the remaining special stages in Portugal and Spain.
If the organizers keep the plan that was prepared for 2021, the participants will travel through the Portuguese regions of Algarve, Alentejo, and Ribatejo, and once the race crosses the border, it is very likely that the Spanish region of Extremadura will also host some stages due to its proximity to Portugal. However,  only when the organization reveals the full program can we have certainty.


Rally-Raid Network
Photo: Imagensdesportivas.pt / Todoterreno.pt / Rally-Raid Network

Baja Poland 2023: South Racing Can-Am Team's De Sousa Batista extends FIA World Cup T4 lead with victory at Baja Poland

Sousa, Akeel and Alvarez finish second, third and fourth in FIA T3 category  

The South Racing Can-Am Team’s Cristiano de Sousa Batista, co-driven by Portuguese co-driver Fausto Moto, extended his lead in the T4 category of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas with a convincing victory at the Columna Medica Baja Poland.

The Can-Am Maverick XRS Turbo RR driver dominated the five-stage event, winning the Prologue and three of the demanding selective sections, to seal victory over closest title rival Jeremie Warnia by 8min 35.4sec. De Sousa Batista said: “The finish of this Baja and we win the race. We hope to do the same in Portalegre and validate (win) the World Championship.”

South Racing Can-Am crews also enjoyed success in the FIA T3 category for lightweight prototype cross-country vehicles with Brazilian racer Otavio Sousa, Saudi female Dania Akeel and Argentina-based Spaniard Fernando Alvarez finishing second, third and fourth behind category winner and series leader Meshari Al-Thefiri in his South Racing-built Can-Am. The three South Racing Can-Am drivers were partnered by João Ferreira, Taye Perry and Xavier Panseri, respectively.

South Racing Can-Am Team’s managing director Scott Abraham said: “A great Baja Poland for the South Racing Can-Am Team with a victory for Cristiano Batista and Fausto Moto to extend their lead in the T4 World Championship. In T3, it was another strong performance from the South Racing Can-Ams with the race won by a South Racing-built Can-Am. It was a good second place in T3 for Otavio Sousa after an accident and a roll on Saturday. Dania Akeel finished third and Fernando Alvarez was fourth after a mechanical issue on the first of the two stages today. Now we look forward to the next round of the FIA World Cup in Portugal in October. That will be a hard-fought event with a lot of local competitors. The South Racing Can-Am Team’s focus shifts to the Desafio Ruta 40, the next round of the W2RC, taking place this week in Argentina.”

Competitive action gets underway with a Prologue of 5.80km in Szczecin on Friday afternoon and this preceded two demanding selective sections of 156.94km apiece through the demanding military proving grounds at Drawsko Pomorskie on Saturday.

De Sousa Batista made a superb start and the third fastest time gave the Brazilian the advantage in T4 and a place in the top three after the Prologue. In T3, the stage win fell to Al-Thefiri, with Akeel, Alvarez and Sousa running in second, third and fourth positions in the group.

Both Al-Thefiri and De Sousa Batista extended their leads in T3 and T4 through the opening selective section on a sandy track where Sousa and Alvarez came home in second and third in T3 but Akeel dropped around half an hour and slipped to the foot of the rankings.

Akeel recovered strongly on the second pass through the military proving grounds to set the third quickest time in T3 behind Al-Thefiri and Sousa, with De Sousa Batista coming home in third in T4 but retaining the overall advantage after he stopped to offer assistance to his son Otavio Sousa who had damaged his Can-Am’s front suspension after an accident.

Competition reaches a conclusion with two passes through a shorter 26.27km between Pilchowo and Dobra on Sunday morning.

Fastest times on both runs earned De Sousa Batista the win in T4, while Sousa was quicker than Al-Thefiri in T3 on both passes, where Akeel and Alvarez had a third quickest time apiece and Akeel managed to pass the Spaniard after he suffered a technical issue on the first stage of the morning.

The South Racing Can-Am Team receives valuable support for the race programme from Method Wheels, Tensor Tires, Motul, Jjuan Brake Systems and Sparco.

The next round of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas is the 37th Baja Portalegre in Portugal on October 26th-28th.

Columna Medica Baja Poland – FIA T3 standings:

  1. Meshari Al-Thefiri (KWT)/Oriol Vidal (ESP) Can-Am Maverick X3      4hr 34min 23.6sec
  2. Otavio Sousa (BRA)/João Ferreira (PRT) South Racing Can-Am Maverick X3       4hr 45min 43.4sec
  3. Dania Akeel (SAU)/Taye Perry (DEU) South Racing Can-Am Maverick X3 5hr 13min 07.5sec
  4. Fernando Alvarez (ESP)/Xavier Panseri (FRA) South Racing Can-Am Maverick X3       5hr 23min 04.5sec
  5. Tomas Mickus (LTU)/Darius Leskauskas (LTU) Can-Am Maverick X3    8hr 11min 27.3sec

Column Medica Baja Poland – FIA T4 standings:

  1. Cristiano Batista (BRA)/Fausto Mota (PRT) South Racing Can-Am Maverick XRS Turbo RR   4hr 46min 52.1sec
  2.  Jeremie Warnia (FRA)/Loic Minaudier (FRA) Polaris RZR Pro R Sport    4hr 55min 27.5sec
  3.  Ricardo Ramilo Suarez (ESP)/Dmytro Tsyro (UKR) Can-Am Maverick XRS Turbo RR     5hr 03min 46.3sec
  4.  Francisco Rodriguez (ESP)/Luis Perez Curbelo (ESP) Yamaha YXZ 1000 R    6hr 05min 17.7sec
  5. Krzysztof Wicentowicz (POL)/Grzegorz Komar (POL) Can-Am Maverick XRS Turbo RR     10hr 06min 40.5sec
  6. 6. Patrycja Brochocka (POL)/Karolina Zysnarska (POL) Can-Am Maverick XRS Turbo RR    11hr 21min 49.1sec


Source South Racing

As a service to the sport we all love and follow, Rally-Raid Network posts numerous media releases from a wide variety of sources on our website. Due to the large number, and some times short time available, it is nearly impossible to review each public release. These articles are written by reporters or press officers who work for various organizers, teams, drivers, riders, and other parties, and they do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Rally-Raid Network.