Mark Jennings-Bates, Canadian rally driver and adventurer is preparing for this weekends Cochrane Winter Rally in Cochrane, Alberta. Jennings-Bates has a busy year ahead with plans including an attempt in the Dakar Silk Way with UK team Bowler Offroad. The Silk Way is a 7 day rally raid racing from Moscow to Sochi in Russia. He will also be entering the Baja 1,000 on a motorbike with his Dakar co-driver, Mick Extance as well as working on his regular training regimen that includes half ironman races and mountain adventure races. “It will be a busy year for sure, but at the end of the day, my objective is to raise as much awareness as possible for the Rally4Life Foundation and the work they are doing to save lives around the world.”

The Cochrane Winter Rally is the season opener for the Western Canada Rally Championship and by all accounts it will be one of the most competitive opening events for a while. The front running team of Hardy Schmitke and John Hall is expected to be a force to be reckoned with while JC Bourgeois, fresh from his recent win in Kananaskis, is not going to back down. Onur Tezcan from BC is also expected to be very competitive in a new car. Jennings-Bates however is convinced he can turn on the heat this year also. “We were winning this event last year when we took a diversion off a 40′ drop after a bad note,” said Jennings-Bates, adding “the conditions look good for us this year and with some good fortune and hard work, we will be able to repeat last years pace without the detour before the finish.” Jennings-Bates’ co-driver for this event will be Kelowna resident Jennifer Daly, who has been busy helping organize another BC Rally event in May, the Targa Canada West in Nakusp.

The Rally4Life Foundation works with athlete and adventure athletes to promote their fundraising efforts to help build orphanages and safe water projects around the world. They are in the process of raising $4 million to save 200,000 lives with the provision of safe drinking water.

For information on the Cochrane Rally, visit

The Rally4Life Canadian team is based in Kelowna, British Columbia and competes in the Western Canada Rally Championship and select events in the Canadian Rally Championship which is broadcast in High Definition on TSN. Mark is also driver for the factory Bowler Offroad Team in the new Bowler EXR, a purpose built Dakar vehicle and will be challenging for a top position in Dakar rallies.

In Canada, the team is supported by HELIOS Global Tracking, Team Dynamics, XRoss Motorsports, Ksport USA, Aerius Engineering, BC Resort Homes, Big O Tires Westbank, AGAR Paint and Autobody, Wyatt Autoparts, Provision Data, Bell Racewear, Pinnacle Elite Athletes and Pinnacle Physiotherapy, and Apple Valley Massage.

Photo by Budd Stanley



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