In 1947, while using a Jeep on his farm in Anglesey, Rover’s Technical Director Maurice Wilks and his brother Spencer Wilks, Rover’s Managing Director, sketched the outline of a vehicle in the sand of a Welsh beach. The brothers had sketched the very first Land Rover.
Developed using a Jeep chassis with a Rover engine, the first model was made with simple light alloy body panels and a chassis fabricated from off-cuts avoiding the use of rationed steel and the need for complex and expensive press tools. Launched a year later at the Amsterdam Motor show, the Land Rover became an instant success and by the end of its first year of production, Land Rovers were exported to nearly 70 countries across the world.
75 years and many variants later, the Land Rover is still a much-loved vehicle. Not only has vehicle the been a mainstay for agricultural and commercial use, but it also has a strong following of enthusiasts who use their vehicles for competitive motorsport as well as pure enjoyment.
Let us introduce you to the Red Rose Land Rover Club
Located in Lancashire, which is known as the Red Rose County, the club which originally formed in 1982 now has around 700 members. The club is also a member of the ALRC, Association of Land Rover Clubs, and as such, members travel to events the length and breadth of the country. Our association with the Red Rose Land Rover Club is relatively new and we are excited to get to know the club more and assist its members in finding the right insurance policy and at the best price.
As the club turns 40 this year, we caught up with Dave Simm, Membership Secretary and Website Editor, to find out more…
Tell us a bit about the club?
The club has around 400 “social” members. That is, members who are part of our forum, part of an interest group linked with their vehicle ownership, turn up to social events, camping etc. But we also have around 300 “competitive” members. These are memberships that are purchased, registered with the ALRC (Association of Land Rover Clubs), and that correspond with an MSUK (Motorsport UK) competition license. This allows the holders to take part in licensed events like trials, comp safari races, or gymkhana style offroad events (like winch challenge competitions).
Describe the club in three words?
Muddy, family, fun!
How many people are there in the team who run the club?
We have a board of six directors who oversee most decisions, and a further seven committee members. The roles are Chairman, Vice Chairman, Junior Chairman, Treasurer, Secretary, Comp. Secretary, Scrutineer, Membership Secretary, Club Shop, Equipment Officer, Green Roads Officer, Website Editor, Internal & External Social Officer.
Each role has a different level of involvement that peaks and troughs throughout the year, but it is very rewarding watching the fruits of our hard work pay off. Seeing the club grow and getting positive feedback from our member community.
For those that might not know, tell us a bit about the vehicles that are covered by the club?
As the name would suggest, we welcome anything with a Land Rover badge, new or old.
Our members have the complete spectrum of Land Rover based vehicles. Predominantly older, Series 1, Series 2, Series 3, Range Rover Classic, Discovery 1 or 2, and (original) Defender based vehicles.
We also have several members running modified Land Rover based Bowler, Tomcat and Wildcats (off-road competition spec vehicles). And then everything else right up to the present day, Range Rovers, Discoveries, Freelander’s, Evoque’s, Velars etc.
Do members receive benefits for being part of the club?
We have a range of benefits and discounts available from sponsors and supporters of the club. In many circumstances, the owners of many of these businesses are also members themselves. The Land Rover bug spreads far and wide! These range from insurance discounts, parts and servicing discounts, trailers, camping and caravanning supplies, domestic building services, financial services, even swimming pool and hot tub services!
CL: Red Rose Land Rover Club members benefit from a 15% premium discount on their insurance with ClassicLine Insurance.
We also have a Facebook group and a WhatsApp group that is regularly pinged with requests for help and advice. We have a varied mix of trades and skills throughout the club, and the correct answer is never far away if help is needed.
How about you Dave, how long have you been involved?
I’ve been in the club for around 10 years. Firstly, as a spectator and navigator/passenger. I then bought a 1997 Defender 90, which I used to compete in TYRO and RTV trials. As the car has become more valuable over time, I’ve retired it from competition use, and it’s now my pride and joy undergoing gradual rolling restoration.
I have just purchased a dedicated competition vehicle, which is a Land Rover Tomcat. This is a highly modified example of a Land Rover. Essentially a roll cage sat on a shortened chassis, designed to take part in Comp Safari events.
Money no object?
I think I’m supposed to answer with a Land Rover based theme here…
But if money was truly no object. I would have to say something from the Ayrton Senna era of turbo F1 cars. Maybe the iconic Marlboro liveried McLaren MP4/4. I saw and heard this car at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, and it’s an amazing piece of automotive machinery, and history.
Tell us about your club meets…
We meet socially once a month at a local pub. The venue has a sizeable outdoor parking area, and it’s not uncommon to find a good line-up of retro Landies all parked up in the sunshine, bonnets propped open, and conversation flowing.
We meet on the first Tuesday of every month, at 7pm, at: The Ley Inn, Back Ln, Clayton-le-Woods, Chorley, PR6 7EU. Food, drinks, friendly atmosphere, and group mechanical problem solving is all available!
What about National events?
Our club’s main event is called “War of the Roses” and is aptly named because its inception was as a competition between our club, and neighbouring clubs in the Yorkshire (white rose) county.
The event has grown massively over the last 40 years and now sees teams from Scotland, Wales, Cumbria, Lancashire, Yorkshire, and the Peak District all come head-to-head. Our camping and caravanning base is in the picturesque village of Cartmel, in the Lake District, and we use land in the surrounding area to run our full suite of trials, as well as the “War” itself, which is a mix of trialling, winching and team-based skill challenges set in remote moorland. Teams score points based on the time taken to complete a task, incurring as few penalty points as possible.
This is a fabulous first event to attend, so if any readers are looking for a taste of the hobby, check out the event for 2023:
Do you attend other shows as a club?
Competition wise, we hold on average about 1 trial per month. A trial is an offroad competition course where members must drive through 12 sets (or gates) of canes that increase in difficulty and terrain. The idea is to score as few points as possible.
Trials fall into 1 of 3 classes:
- TYRO – “Try Your Rover Out” Which is aimed at road going show room cars. Completely non-damaging, and in which youngsters age 14+ can take part to get their first taste of our hobby. The terrain tends to be very forgiving grass, fields, light undulations.
- RTV – “Road Taxed Vehicle” Which is aimed at more off-road focused machines. The terrain is largely the same as the TYRO just with more aggressive angles of approach, usually plenty of mud, and increased chances of cross axle’ing or failing to proceed. Vehicles tend to have more aggressive all terrain or mud terrain tyres, increased suspension lift, and applicable vehicle protection, such as differential guards and rock sliders, to prevent damage should any contact with the ground occur.
- CCV – “Cross Country Vehicle” Which is aimed at dedicated off-road machines, fitted with roll cages, 4-point seatbelts, and usually heavily modified chassis, and body work with engines located as far back, and as low to the ground as possible. For when the going is serious!
We also arrange group Green Laning days, usually in Cumbria, Yorkshire, or North Wales. Where tried, tested, and most importantly, legal and safe routes can be driven in organised groups.
All of our social and competition events calendar can be found on our website or Facebook page here:
Any other must-attend events?
Obviously our own “War of the Roses” event isn’t to be missed… But further afield, my favourites are:
The Goodwood Festival of Speed. They have an offroad area where some of our (very lucky!) members get invited to show off their pride and joy, and some get to have a run up the famous hill as well.
Secondly, the Le Mans 24-hour event. There’s a healthy pilgrimage of cars of all shapes and sizes there every year, and when compared with other races that only last a few hours, it’s a great value for money experience too. I’ve visited a number of times and would recommend it to anyone.
Another memorable event is an open day event we partake in, at Myerscough college in Lancashire. The college is focused on a range of careers skills from agriculture, motorsport, equestrian, and everything else in between. We run an off- road arena where we take members of the public on laps around a course, showing them exactly what our vehicles are capable of. Monies raised are then used to fund our chosen charities and other good causes.
What makes you proud to be part of the Red Rose Land Rover Club?
I feel most proud of the heritage of the club. It was historically run by the parents of some current committee members, who are sadly no longer with us, and to know that we have kept alive and grown their passion is very rewarding. We’ve modernised the club a lot from its beginnings. The thought of a website, PayPal, Facebook page and WhatsApp group would have been terrifying to some of the founders, I think!
What tips would you give to young enthusiasts?
This is a very emotive subject! I’m a supporter of the adoption of EV vehicles to reduce climate change and protect our planet for future generations.
However, I’m also a huge advocate of self-maintaining and restoring historic vehicles to keep their history alive. I think over the next few years we will see more EV conversion kits entering the market so that vehicles such as older Land Rovers can be given new leases of life, and don’t have to face the crusher under more scrappage schemes.
My top tip for anyone getting involved would be to just give it a go. It’s really not as expensive as you would first think. Older 4×4’s can be had for very little now, and 90% of maintenance work can be carried out by a competent home mechanic with a Haynes manual. So, they’re cheaper to run than taking a new vehicle to a main dealer! Our club demographic is made up of young, old, families, friends, and everything in between. There’s really something for everyone to get involved in.
Does the club support a charity?
Our club supports the local Northwest Air Ambulance and Bolton Mountain Rescue charities. Both of these services receive no government funding, and due to the very nature of what we as a club partake in, we often find ourselves carrying out inherently dangerous activities in remote hard to reach areas.
I’m proud to say that we have never needed either of their services, but also humbled to know that should we ever need them, they are both well- equipped and highly skilful rescue resources thanks in part to our annual donations.
New members are always welcome, and they can join by visiting http://www.landroverclub.co.uk/
So, these are the people behind one of our favourite car clubs. Working hard behind the scenes to maintain a club that provides enjoyment and organising trials and activities for members to make the most of driving their cars. Red Rose Land Rover Club, thank you for being our club of the month.
ClassicLine Insurance offer a range of car club insurance schemes that can provide revenue for your club as well as benefits and discounts for your members. To find out more about this and our specialist club liability insurance, visit our car clubs page.