The penultimate round of the one-make rally series is set over open moorland formerly owned by the M.O.D, giving this rally a sense of nostalgia as the 11 Land Rover Defender 90s take on 166.8 miles of rally and liaison stages.

As the competition edges ever closer to its climax, the teams are determined to achieve their best results this weekend to secure a strong ranking ahead of the Borders Hill Rally on 21st and 22nd of November, the final round of the Defender Challenge. Rivalry between the teams ahead of this weekend’s rally is rife, heightened by the anticipation of an unknown location, the battle for the top three positions is well and truly on.

Leading the pack of Bowler-modified Defenders is Sturgess Land Rover piloted by Land Rover Experience Instructor, and reining title holder, Edd Cobley and co-driver John Tomley, whilst Lookers Land Rover reside in second position with driver Gareth Carruthers and co-driver Wallace McKay.

Edd Cobley commented ahead of the rally. “I’ve never competed at Tempest but I’m really looking forward to its challenging, changeable conditions. So far we are doing well in the Defender Challenge, our Defender ‘Skippy’ has been strong and reliable all year and that has given us the scope to really push the car and ourselves as hard as possible. With Gareth getting better, smoother and faster at each round, I am very aware of how close he is to us. For this round, John and I are aiming to get a strong start with fast results in the first stages so that we can control a decent gap ahead of Lookers throughout the day.”

Newcomers Brian Palmer and Callum McPhail enter round five third in the table having amassed enough points to put them ahead of both Northern Ireland Racing and The Defenderists who are tied in fourth place, setting the tone for a battle for third position as the teams head into the final round later in the month.

The Defender Challenge is part of the ‘Tempest 4 Rally’ which is open to spectators on Saturday 7th November. For more information please visit

Defender Challenge 2015 – Championship Points by Team:

Team R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 Total Position
Sturgess 0 21 21 21 0 0 63 1
Lookers 0 16 16 16 0 0 48 2
Palmer 10 9 11 10 0 0 40 3
Northern Ireland Racing 11 6 10 9 0 0 36 4
Defenderists 7 10 8 11 0 0 36 4
L R Media 16 7 0 8 0 0 31 6
Femont 6 11 1 7 0 0 25 7
Richards 21 0 1 0 0 0 22 8
Hayward 5 8 9 0 0 0 22 8
Harford 9 0 0 0 0 0 9 10
Taft 8 1 0 0 0 0 9 10

More from 4x4 magazine online