Twisted Land Rover Defender on the Yorkshire 300 road trip
PUBLISHED: 00:00 07 August 2019
A rally with a difference brought Defender devotees to see the birthplace of their cult and quirky made-in-Yorkshire motors.
Testing Yorkshire terrain and the rugged Twisted Land Rover Defender: the two were made for each other, a match engineered in heaven - or at the very least, in God's own county.
In celebration of this, Defender enthusiasts and passionate Twisted owners - including extreme endurance adventurer Sean Conway in his very own Colonel Mustard - descended on the county from across Europe to participate in the second Yorkshire 300 road trip.
The Twisted team, who specialise in re-engineering the classic British vehicle, showed invited guests the very finest Yorkshire scenery and hospitality. Starting at Twisted HQ in Thirsk the route stretched 300 miles and four days across North and West Yorkshire.
Under ever-changing skies, a 15-strong Defender convoy took in the beauty of the North Yorkshire Moors. There was also an opportunity to drive the famous Buttertubs Pass between Hawes and Thwaite, described by Jeremy Clarkson as "England's only truly spectacular road".
Despite being less than six miles long, the winding pass provided a memorable drive, with steep climbs, rapid descents and tight corners. Those not in the driving seat could take in the dramatic moorland scenery.
An off-road drive to the pretty village of Coniston Cold from Lake Semerwater was another highlight. More frequently occupied by trout and the occasional canoeist, the lake shore provided the perfect backdrop for the Twisted convoy to stop for a well-earned Yorkshire themed lunch.
Other activities included a tour of Masham's Black Sheep Brewery and a chance to take in the spectacular views from the Cow and Calf rocks at Ilkley. There was also a chance to check out the premises of fellow Yorkshire motoring legend, Ginetta. And frankly who needs Tiffany's when you can have Breakfast at Bettys?
The event then finished at Bowcliffe Hall, a well-known destination for enthusiasts who are drawn to the venue's regular Sunday Meets, club days, driving events and rallies.
Owners travelled from across the UK and even the Netherlands to enjoy this 'sub-zero cool' invitation-only event. As one delighted owner admitted: 'The car is still a bit covered in deliciously fine Yorkshire mud and our border collie takes off to the car whenever she can to sniff and considers it a treat. The Yorkshire 300 has been engraved in my mind and application forms for permanent entry to Yorkshire have been submitted this morning!'
This all-consuming passion for everything Defender is not limited to owners. Twisted founder Charles Fawcett grew up surrounded by Land Rover vehicles. His father had been involved in their sale and repair since the 1970s and ran a 4×4 off-road driving centre.
Charles joined the family business in 1995 and in 2000 set up Twisted as a side operation, offering tuning and performance enhancements for the then range of Land Rover 200/300tdi Defender, Discovery and Range Rover.
However, it became clear that there was a gap in the market for expert advice and quality modification. In 2008, Twisted became a full-time operation, deciding a year later to focus purely on the Defender.
Today, Twisted Automotive is regarded as the global authority on the Land Rover Defender and as a specialist in redefining the vehicles to the exacting specifications of customers from around the world.
Every vehicle that leaves the Twisted workshop proudly carries a plaque featuring the signature of the engineer who built it and the words 'Yorkshire, England'.
Says Charles: 'The Yorkshire 300 is our own way of paying homage to our county and nothing beats sharing our love for it with great customers. The Twisted philosophy is 'anti-ordinary' and the Yorkshire 300 is just that - there's nothing ordinary whatsoever about a caravan of 15 Defender vehicles negotiating the best and most challenging terrain that Yorkshire has to offer. It's quite a sight when the convoy is in motion across the villages and dales of this wonderful county.'
And in true generous Yorkshire style, the event also raised £400 for Variety Yorkshire, the charity that provides mobility aid to local children, through photograph sales.