Fiona Patterson from Woodford, near Salisbury, won the chance to pit her family's off-road driving skills against the might of Bravo Two Zero author, Andy McNab, when she attended the author's book signing at Westover Land Rover in Salisbury in December last year. Having just completed an afternoon at Land Rover's Experience Centre in Honiton, Devon, Fiona felt the Patterson's were more than a match for the ex-SAS man!
The afternoon saw Fiona, along with her husband and son, join Andy McNab to tackle Land Rover's purpose-built off road course, which includes steep inclines, side slopes, water and much mud. After some familiarisation driving in Land Rover Discovery models, they progressed to the competitive element of the session.
The first timed challenge tested the accuracy of Andy McNab and Fiona's son, Louis. They both had to negotiate steep slopes and a water tank, using the vehicle's wing mirrors to nudge tennis balls which were suspended along the route. Louis gleefully pipped Andy to the post, recording a time of 6.13 minutes to Andy's 6.44 minutes. The challenge allowed the drivers to sample the Discovery's Terrain Response system, which allows the driver to reconfigure the engine, transmission, throttle and traction control settings according to the type of terrain the vehicle is travelling on.
It takes the pressure off the driver, leaving them free to concentrate on the twists, turns, hills and troughs ahead.
Next, practical and driving abilities came under scrutiny, with two contestants required to hitch up a trailer and manoeuvre around a series of obstacles. The drivers were helped during this challenge by the Discovery's Trailer Stability Assist function, which helps to stabilise both the vehicle and trailer through clever optimisation of the vehicle's DSC system (even with loads of up to 3,500kg).
The final challenge involved a pistol shooting challenge run by Gorgs Geikie, who represented Team GB in the 2012 Olympics. Both Andy and Gorgs offered the contestants expert coaching, with a close fought final ensuing.
“We had a truly wonderful afternoon," says Fiona. “The team were amazingly patient with us, especially when it came to reversing the trailer, and we've been talking about it non-stop ever since! Louis, our son, really got into reading because of Andy's books, so you've no idea how thrilled he was to meet his favourite author – especially in such a fantastic environment."Janine Giovanni, Marketing Director at Transworld Publishers, says: “Andy had a fantastic day and really enjoyed driving with Fiona and her family. Thanks to all at Westover Land Rover for their hard work in making the day happen. We at Transworld have really enjoyed working with the Westover team on Andy's brilliant book, 'For Valour'".
More than 200 people visited Westover Land Rover in December to see Andy McNab. The best-selling author signed more than 250 books for the showroom's guests and talked to the assembled crowd about his experiences working covertly for the British military.
McNab's latest book, 'For Valour', sees central character, Nick Stone, investigating two mysterious killings. Like all McNab's novels, it's a heart-stopping adventure that forces the reader to share the nightmares that go hand in hand with heroism. To find out more about Andy's books please visit andymcnab.co.uk.
The Land Rover Discovery was first launched 26 years ago and remains an iconic Land Rover vehicle, thanks to its outstanding capability and versatility on and off-road. It now comes loaded with technology and is more stylish than ever. It can seat six passengers comfortably.
For more information about the vehicles and services available from Westover Land Rover in Old Sarum, Salisbury, or in Christchurch, please contact the showrooms or browse the website.