We are often asked to help organise events involving cars at Bowcliffe, be it new model launches on the lawns, corporate days, or a boisterous driving day/rally on the glorious roads that surround us. We decided it was about time to apply ourselves in the way we do with everything here at Bowcliffe and employ someone whose passion for cars (and unbelievable organisation skills) will make these sort of events better than ever, so here she is, our new Head of Motoring, Rosie Battye…
Name: Rosie Battye
Position: Head of Motoring
Tell us a little about your childhood, have you always loved cars?
Some of my happiest and earliest memories involve ‘playing’ in cars. My father’s passion for cars led him to start the Yorkshire Motor Museum in 1993. This meant the majority of my weekends were taken up with cars; being driven in them, washing them or listening/talking to people about them. As you can imagine, with all this going on it was hard NOT to develop a passion for all things motoring.
What was your first car?
After a succession of hand me down cars my first car was a Golf GTI – perhaps a little too fast for a girl with ambitions of being a racing driver!
Which car has been your absolute favourite to drive or own?
I am lucky enough to drive a 1926 Sunbeam Super Sport, a car which is just fabulous to drive; powerful, responsive, elegant and practical. Everyone that sees it or takes a ride in it loves it! Two examples of this model were entered for the 1925 Le Mans 24hr race, one of which achieved 3rd place. Some 280 cars were made with a 10% survival rate.
Do you have a dream car you’ve not yet driven? If so, what is it?
There are too many to list, but the next car I would like to own would be a 1970’s Porsche 911, preferably in gold!
What is it about cars do you think that makes so many people have such an intense passion for them?
Beauty, speed and precision, what’s not to love? They have the ability not just to get you from A to B, but also to fall in love along the way. The smell of petrol combined with old leather and oil, need I say more?
Best piece of advice you’ve ever been given about cars and motoring?
Be brave and be bold, indecision leads to accidents.
Other than cars, what are your hobbies and passions?
I love adventures and not knowing what is around the corner, so I spend a lot of time travelling which has allowed me to start a business importing beautiful furniture from around the world.
What is it you think makes Bowcliffe such a special place to hold a car event?
Yorkshire has everything; warm and friendly people, the most amazing scenery, a whole host of Michelin-starred restaurants, airfields and hill climbs, enough to keep any serious motorist entertained! There’s a reason we call it or God’s Own County.
More importantly, Bowcliffe is a seriously stunning venue to immerse yourself in all things motoring, the Drivers’ Club is a brilliant place to start any rally, the grounds make a great backdrop for photo shoots and the roads around Yorkshire are perfect for a whole host of driving requirements.
What are you hoping to achieve as Bowcliffe’s Head of Motoring?
I think Bowcliffe is the most fabulous place for anyone who appreciates beauty and detail. My dream is to share that with as many likeminded people as possible. I want to show people exactly what Yorkshire and Bowcliffe have to offer.
Of the places you’ve visited, which has the best roads and/or spectacular views?
Last year I was lucky enough to drive around the North Coast of Scotland, Northern Spain and Northern Thailand, all of which have great roads and spectacular views but none that rivalled Yorkshire in terms of scenery and variation.
Buttertubs Pass in the heart of the Dales is beautiful and fun in equal measure and is one of the UK’s greatest driving roads, as is the Pickering to Whitby road with straights, hairpin bends and big dips.
It’s also impossible to forget the twisting, undulating roads of the Moors and the Dales in a hurry!
Your favourite spot on the Bowcliffe Estate?
The second you drive through the front gate and see the Hall in all its magnificent splendour is remarkable. It instantly gives you the feeling that anything is possible.
We understand your passion is pre-war motoring – why this era specifically?
The variation of pre-war cars makes them incredibly interesting and special, before the Ford Model T and car production lines, an engine was built by a specific company and the body ‘coach’ was built by another, meaning each machine was different and each one developed its own character. In order to drive these cars well you must, therefore, spend time getting to know them, rather like a long-term relationship, the better you understand the car the better it runs.
You’ve now completed numerous London to Brighton car runs, what do you love so much about this event?
The London to Brighton is a real running museum. Cars that should be under a cosy blanket recovering from years of hard work are still out on the road doing what they do best. You witness a real celebration of the start of motoring with steam cars, coal powered cars and the very first electric vehicles driving alongside modern cars in modern traffic. The most fabulous part is the people who take part, people who want to celebrate motoring rather than consigning it to history.
What type of car events do you envisage Bowcliffe holding?
Bowcliffe is the perfect location to hold a whole host of different events, anything is possible from car meets, product launches, corporate driving days, rallies. The world is our Yorkshire oyster!
Tell us a little about the rallies you’ve organised…
I have organised rallies in Ireland, Scotland, France and Belgium, anything from three palls to 40. Ranging from slower Edwardian cars right the way through to speedy 1960’s and 70’s sports cars. The exciting part of organising any rally is making each trip bespoke and tailored to the cars, drivers and passengers. I get a real sense of satisfaction from everyone enjoying themselves, and most importantly being in and around the cars.
Three things we would never know or guess about you…
1.) I spent six months looking after baby koalas in Australia
2.) I cycled the Paris Roubaix and the Yorkshire Tour de France route, even though I don’t think I like cycling!
3.) Last year we converted our VW Transporter van into a temporary Camper and spent a month travelling around Northern Spain
If you would like to consider Bowcliffe for any event pertaining to motoring, please get in touch with Rosie on firstname.lastname@example.org.