Category: Mini News

At Bowker Motor Group we are closely monitoring the developments of COVID-19 and the impact this is having on our business, employees, customers and partners.

We are following the Government’s guidelines in that all UK citizens and businesses have a part to play in helping to combat this virus and to protect the NHS, and for this reason we have temporarily closed all Bowker Motor Group showrooms. 

Our telephones will not be manned throughout this period and we would ask you to submit any enquiries via email. We will do our best to answer them as soon as possible:


Service Enquiries
As per the Government’s guidelines, our Service department will remain open in order to provide breakdown support and essential repairs to support only key workers, the vulnerable and emergency service workers who are reliant on their vehicles.

Please be assured that we are working hard to keep mobile those who need to do so. We really appreciate all that you do to keep us safe.

If you are not a key worker and have a service, repair or MOT booked in the coming weeks at either our Blackburn or Preston Centres you will need to reschedule. You can contact us online at and we will come back to you when we are preparing to reopen.

For those requiring an MOT, please be advised of the recent communication from the Government which can be read here:

Sales Enquiries
Our Sales departments are still very much open for business through our online virtual showroom and of course via telephone so you are able to contact us from the comfort of your own home. Our showrooms are not open to people visiting our sales departments.

Here is how to contact us:

New & Used Car Sales Enquiries – Richard Cowell – Tel: 07717 411317
Alternatively, email or

If you have any concerns regarding the Finance Agreement on your MINI, regularly updated COVID-19 FAQs can be found on the Online Genius at:

When we are able to fully reopen, we will let you know. In the meantime, you can keep up to date with our status through our social media channels and this website.

We thank you again for your continued loyalty through these challenging times.

To keep the health and safety of our customers a priority, we are pleased to be providing a mail order service for MINI Genuine Parts.

You can make your purchase in four easy steps:

  1. Call our Parts Department (Preston 0800 1957957 | Blackburn 0800 919724)
  2. Choose your products
  3. We will take contactless card payment over the phone
  4. Your order will be posted via a trackable delivery service

We also have a local van delivery service. Please ask for details and availability.

By choosing Genuine MINI Parts, you’re making sure everything runs exactly as intended. Accuracy, a snug fit and durability can be guaranteed. That’s why we’re happy to give you a two year unlimited mileage warranty on every Genuine MINI Part.

A big Bowker thank you to everyone who took part in the Bowker MINI Halloween Drive Out this year.

On Sunday 27th October, more than 30 cars and 80 passengers in fancy-dress left Bowker MINI in Blackburn from 10am, before completing a spooky circuit of Pendle and the Ribble Valley.

The annual creepy car cavalcade wound its way to the final destination – Samlesbury Hall – for brews, bacon and prizes, before a Ghost Tour for hardy souls whose nerves can still take it.

Look out for more Bowker MINI events soon.

The Bowker MINI Centre on the docks in Preston has a new manager.

55-year old Peter Turner from Wigan is a familiar face at Bowker. He was originally an employee of Bowker Motor Group between 2002 and 2008. 

Most recently, he enjoyed successful sales management roles with motorcycle retailers Bowker Harley-Davidson from 2014 and then Bowker Motorrad – both also in Preston.

And, during a 27-year career in automotive retail, Peter also managed the Bowker MINI centre in Blackburn between 2007 and 2008.

Away from work, Pete is married to Vicky and has two sons, Adam and Liam. Peter is a keen rugby league player and fan. 

Peter said:

“It’s good to be back with MINI. The Centre in Preston has a close-knit group of loyal customers. We enjoy events and drive outs together. I’m looking forward to keeping up the good work with the kind of motoring retail experience our MINI customers deserve.”

Peter’s first events included the annual Halloween MINI Drive Out in October and a sneak peek at the new MINI electric in November.

The Bowker MINI showroom was opened in Preston in 2001 and extended in 2013. Three years later the centre became the first in Lancashire to complete refurbishment with a new open-plan layout; space for up to eight cars and complimentary coffee bar and refreshments. 

It’s great to get special treatment. Which is why we’re offering you and a guest the chance to feast your eyes on our first electric – way before it hits our showrooms in March 2020.

Get your first glimpse of the exciting new MINI Electric on 17 November. Our Preston MINI Centre will be hosting this exciting event for both Preston and Blackburn customers.

And, if you’re blown away, you’ be able to pre-order your very own MINI Electric there and then.

In fact, we’re so confident you’ll love it, we’ve made it the first car to come with a Feel Good Guarantee.

Ready to feel MINI Electric? Then register today by clicking HERE.

We look forward to seeing you!

Join us on Sunday 27th October 2019 at 10am for our ever anticipated annual Bowker MINI Halloween Drive Out! All MINI owners, family and friends are welcome.

We will be meeting at Bowker Blackburn MINI at 10am and the final destination will be Samlesbury Hall where breakfast sandwiches will be waiting for us from 11.30am with compliments of Bowker MINI. We will also be awarding prizes for the best Halloween fancy dress and best dressed car!

As a part of the Bowker MINI Drive Out, you will be able to participate in Samlesbury Hall’s very own GHOST TOUR free of charge, taking place at 2pm.

Our popular drive outs regularly attract over 50 MINIs. They are great fun so register your attendance today!

We very much hope you can come. Please RSVP via email: or by calling 01772 767335.

Live Magazines Paul Agnew was intrigued by the new PHEV MINI Countryman. We sent him out in our demonstrator model for a MINI PHEV Adventure. Here is how he got on.


The MINI is a motoring icon – loved by the world over with a panache, presence and personality all of its own. A car with a place in history guaranteed.

But this little beauty is not living in the past – far from it.

Say hello to the MINI Countryman Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) now available at Bowker.
That’s right, the not-so-little PHEV MINI Countryman that is already proving a massive hit with the discerning drivers of 2019 who want a little bit of everything when they get behind the wheel; not least some fun.

Powered by both a combustion engine and an electric motor, it offers “the spirit of an explorer with technology at its heart”, according to those whose job it is to market and sell.
And after test driving the MINI Countryman Cooper S E ALL4 (yes, four-wheel-drive) from Bowker on Preston Docklands, it’s hard to disagree.

The PHEV MINI Countryman is a friend from the moment you meet up. The bond is immediate.
Perhaps it’s the famous badge or the instantly recognisable round central dial – now surrounded by an LED light ring that responds to how you are driving and houses a 6.5” colour screen and displays all in-car infotainment.
Or maybe it’s just the way it looks and the ease in which you settle in … everything just seems very right.
And so quiet. Once the keyless ignition has been activated you’d be hard pushed to hear any engine noise at all. Steering is light, vision excellent and road handling safe and sound.

As for performance, the big-hearted PHEV MINI Countryman packs quite a punch, racing from 0-60 mph is 6.8 secs. That’s down to a combined 221 brake horsepower on offer when the 1.5-litre petrol engine and rear-mounted electric motor work together. Sending power to just the rear wheels, the electric motor also gives it four-wheel-drive status. And then there’s the renowned 6-speed BMW gearbox

Who says sustainable motoring can’t be exciting?

The high-tech lithium-ion battery provides an all-electric ‘range’ (mpg in old money) of up to 26 miles, enough to cover the daily commute of most drivers. Kept at its optimum temperature by an advanced cooling system, the battery excels in both output and service life.

With the PHEV MINI Countryman there is the extra advantage of reducing the official CO2 emissions figure to just 49g/km, making the car a much sought after option for company-car drivers keen to reduce their tax.
Economy, of course, is one of the big attractions.

In terms of fuel ‘consumption’; suffice to say that the ‘range’ is a very impressive 134.5mpg (average) and a full battery charge at home (roughly taking about two hours) will set you back less than 5p!

Whilst driving you can switch between electric and petrol power as you feel fit (there’s even a speedier sports option too) and the transition is smooth and fully automated with no interruptions.

The PHEV MINI Countryman is blessed with an array of helpful and entertaining features including Sat Nav, real time traffic information and hundreds of radio stations (DAB) and music options. What the manufacturers call ‘Connected Services’ include: a concierge phone-line service, online search, weather information, Apple CarPlay®, rear parking distance control, bluetooth connectivity, chargeable battery during driving … the list goes on.

So, who fits the driver profile?
Anyone and everyone.

There are clear advantages for the business user and an obvious appeal for those seeking a nippy, smart-looking, easy-to-park and great-around-town car, while it offers a practical solution for families too with ample room inside.

Safety levels are excellent. It achieved the full five-star score in Euro NCAP crash tests and from an array of available extras you can choose a reversing camera, adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition and lane-keep assist.

Eight airbags come as standard, in addition to the compulsory anti-lock brakes and stability control. Also standard are autonomous emergency braking and a bonnet that pops up slightly in a pedestrian collision to help cushion the impact.

It is crystal clear that the choice of hybrid cars is likely to increase in the coming years. Indeed, BMW Group plans for 25% of all its models sold by 2025 to be electrified in some way.

The PHEV MINI Countryman has got in early and made a big impact. In the weeks before and after launch, dealers across the land struggled to meet demand. It’s easy to see why. 

To book your 48 hour test drive in the MINI Countryman Cooper S E ALL4, please contact the team at Bowker MINI.

Content courtesy of Live Magazines –


MINI has today unveiled the new MINI Electric at the Oxford plant, the home of the brand where the very first Mini was built 60 years ago. After 15,000 potential customers already expressed an interest in the car, the official order books are opened today. Manufacturing will begin in late 2019, with first deliveries in the spring of 2020 and exports headed around the world. Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG responsible for Production – and previous plant director of Oxford – Oliver Zipse said, “We are entering an era in which electric cars will become a normal choice for our customers. The MINI Electric will kick off our new model offensive for fully electric vehicles. By 2023, two years ahead of schedule, we will have 25 electrified models on the market. More than half of them will be fully electric”.

The MINI Electric will be fully integrated into the production process at Oxford, running down the same lines as all the conventional models.

“This plant builds 1000 cars per day, with a new MINI coming off the line every 67 seconds, so the integration gives excellent production flexibility and allows supplies of the new model to be adjusted according to demand,” explained Plant

Oxford managing director, Peter Weber, “This is such a proud moment for every single one of our team.”

Instantly recognisable as a three-door MINI Hatch, the MINI Electric blends the timeless appeal of the design and go-kart handling with the latest in cutting-edge, zero-emissions powertrain technology and in-car connectivity. It drives just as a MINI should with performance close to that of the hot hatch MINI Cooper S, accelerating from zero to 62 mph in 7.3 seconds.

David George, director of MINI in the UK said, “Now our customers can have everything they love about MINI, but with all the advantages of an electric car – lower environmental impact and running costs and they never have to visit a petrol station again”.

Priced to be widely affordable, many customers are expected to lease the new car and rates will start below £300 per month. The on-the-road list price is from £24,400 after the government’s Plug-In Car Grant has been applied.

Research published today by What Car? magazine and supported by MINI showed that more than 1.5 million UK households which are perfectly suited to running an electric car, are not yet doing so. They have off street parking to allow easy at-home recharging and more than one car in the household, one of which never does more than 100 miles in a day. MINI’s own data shows that the average distance driven each day is 26 miles.

“We believe the new MINI Electric could be a tipping point for those who have been thinking about choosing an electric car, to take that step now,” added George. “We aim to introduce a whole new group of drivers in the UK to the fun and cost savings of electric driving, in a way only MINI can”.

Secretary of State for business, Greg Clark, welcomed the news, “Our automotive industry has long been a source of national pride, and the unique collaboration between Government and industry through our Industrial Strategy has helped put the UK at the forefront of the design and manufacture of zero emission vehicles with one in five electric cars in Europe now built in the UK.

“The production of the electric MINI in the UK will play a key role in accelerating the adoption of cleaner, greener vehicles and I am delighted this modern British icon will be manufactured in Oxford”.

The original Mini, designed by Sir Alec Issigonis, was born out of the Suez crisis oil shortage and the demand for affordable motoring. The first cars rolled off the line at Oxford in the summer of 1959 and so began a global success story which has spanned six decades. As the world faces new environmental, social and economic challenges, MINI has chosen the moment to launch its first fully electric model.

The MINI 60 Years Edition.

On 26 August 1959, British Motor Corporation (BMC) proudly revealed a car that captured the imagination of the world and revolutionised the compact car segment. Six decades later, in 2019 MINI marks the brand’s 60th birthday and the extraordinary story of a British innovation that went on to achieve iconic status. To kick-start this anniversary year, MINI is introducing a limited run of 500 very special vehicles for UK customers.

Built in the UK at MINI Plant Oxford, the MINI 60 Years Edition is the first of many celebrations planned for 2019 that will champion the brand’s rich heritage in Britain and its continuous dedication to innovation. Much like Alex Issigonis’ first car in 1959, MINI has continued to push the boundaries whilst keeping creative use of space, driving fun, style and individualisation at its core.

The MINI 3-door Hatch Cooper S 60 Years Edition (combined fuel consumption: 39.8 – 43.5 mpg; combined CO2 emissions: 129 – 127 g/km) will be offered exclusively with an automatic transmission in the UK, with acceleration from zero to 62 mph in just 6.7 seconds.

The exterior design features a new British Racing Green IV paint finish and piano black exterior trim, black roof and exterior mirror caps, special anniversary design bonnet stripes and model exclusive 17-inch light alloy wheels in 60 Years Spoke 2-tone. The 60 Years emblem completes the vehicle, uniquely placed on the left-hand bonnet stripe, side scuttles of the turn indicators and LED logo projection from the driver’s door. Further enhancing the exterior design and sporty character, every model in the UK will be sold with an additional set of MINI spot lamps fitted to the front radiator grille.

The limited edition vehicle has a distinctly designed interior with model specific finishes using the 60 Years emblem, including the steering wheel and front seats. The seats are finished with MINI Yours Leather Lounge in Dark Cacao with contrast seat stitching and piping matching the new exterior paintwork– an exclusive leather for this vehicle.

Navigation Plus pack is included, providing a larger 8.8” touch display with Satellite Navigation, Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth connectivity, concierge service and wireless charging. In addition, a rear view camera, folding exterior mirrors and front and rear Park Distance Control (PDC) can be found on the vehicle, courtesy of the Comfort Plus Pack.

As with all MINI Hatch models, this unique edition vehicle features a high level of standard equipment including LED front and rear lights, intelligent emergency call, ambient lighting, automatic headlights with rain sensor and much more.

A limited run of 500 MINI 60 Years Edition vehicles will be available in the UK from March 2019 at Bowker MINI Centres in Blackburn and Preston, priced at £29,990 OTR.

MINI mishap? Bumped BMW? It’s your call where you send your car to for repair and Bowker have it covered, as Matthew Parkinson explains.

Until it happens to you, you’ve likely never considered what happens next after an accident in your car.  I’d probably do the same as most people and call my insurance company. But what’s the alternative?

In the event of your BMW or MINI needing repair following an accident, the decision lies with you, and not your insurer, as to who takes care of it. By choosing a BMW or MINI Approved Bodyshop, your car will be returned to its original Euro NCAP safety rating,

By making Bowker your first call, their Accident Management team will handle everything with minimal fuss from start to finish, making sure you’re safe before liaising with your insurance company, organising the recovery of your car, arranging a like-for-like replacement car if the accident wasn’t your fault, and even providing medical and legal aid if you’re injured as a result. Your car will then be handed over to their Approved Bodyshop for an estimation of the damage before work begins.

Located a stone’s throw away from Bowker on the Preston Docklands is BMW & MINI Approved Bodyshop, HB Panelcraft. The family business is headed up by Paul Harwood, whose fastidious eye for detail helped forge a partnership with Bowker back in 1996. Paul guides us around cars at various stages of repair, from minor cosmetic jobs to ground-up rebuilds, drawing attention to a gleaming BMW 6 Series that’s nearing completion in the body shop’s paint booth. “You sometimes see cars like this starting to corrode in unusual places, because whoever did the original repair hasn’t used genuine, galvanised parts,” explains Paul. “Everything we do is approved by BMW and MINI Group.” All body repairs come with a lifetime guarantee for the duration of ownership and you are issued with a Guarantee Certificate giving you peace of mind that you and your vehicle are completely protected.

Having earned BMW and MINI national certification, HB Panelcraft are kitted out for all manner of repairs, boasting up to date diagnostic machinery and panels protected with the same galvanisation used on brand new vehicles – even the paint is sourced from BMW Group to ensure a perfect colour match. It’s because of this manufacturer backing that unlike many independent garages, your car’s bodywork warranty will remain intact, no matter how bad the damage was to begin with. If it can be repaired, it can be guaranteed.

The devil is in the detail for the team at HB Panelcraft, who inspect each stage of the vehicle repair process in the same way BMW and MINI technicians would inspect brand new cars on an assembly line. The phrase ‘that’ll do’ just doesn’t exist within these four walls, and for good reason. Like each car that passes through the workshop, Paul and his team are subject to their own set of quality control checks. Each year, they’re assessed by BMW and MINI to make sure that the workshop, its staff, their tools and their attitudes meet the brand’s exacting standards. It’s testament to their hard work that since the start of their partnership with Bowker 22 years ago, they’ve passed with flying colours each and every year.

The phrase ‘good as new’ is often banded around recklessly, but I can’t imagine a more honest description of the freshly repaired cars being readied for their respective owners. The partnership between Bowker and HB Panelcraft has created a one-stop-shop for repairs that BMW and MINI owners can trust from start to fuss-free finish.

There’s no escaping the fact that in an ideal world there wouldn’t be any accidents, and any decent human being would hope that this is a service you won’t need to use. If you’re going to call anyone when your day comes to a screeching halt however, make sure it’s Bowker.


Credit to Live Magazines – 

From September 2018, all cars must have been homologated under the new WLTP (Worldwide Hamonized Light Vehicles Test Procedure) test cycle which is designed to better replicate real life driving conditions.

BMW Group has now published revised fuel economy and emissions data for its entire range of vehicles in accordance with the new test procedure (WLTP). This means the full range of BMW and MINI vehicles sold in the UK is now fully compliant with the new test regime well ahead of the deadline.

The new testing procedure of WLTP is based on an approximation of the test conditions to real-world circumstances, which means that the values determined will also have a greater relevance to reality. Among the changes this involves are redefined, significantly stricter test conditions and higher speeds together with a substantially longer test duration (30 instead of 20 minutes). 

To obtain a more precise determination of CO2 emissions, the new test procedure includes not only standard equipment – as was previously the case – but also all optional equipment of a vehicle. This produces two values for each type of vehicle: the lowest and highest possible standard consumption value according to aerodynamics, weight and rolling resistance.

Thanks to WLTP, you will be able to better assess a vehicle’s consumption and CO2 emissions in the future. In the case of a specific vehicle configuration, the individual standard value will be indicated directly.

Despite the more stringent test requirements, the BMW range has increased on average by just 8g/km while the MINI average increase is just 5g/km.* BMW’s market-leading electric and plug-in hybrid range performed particularly well with the top-selling BMW 530e Saloon increasing by just 3 grams to 49g/km.

Customers can have confidence that the full range of BMW Group vehicles is compliant with the new testing requirements and offers a more compelling value proposition than ever. Buyers can also be sure that the figures supplied for all our vehicles are future-proof providing certainty in terms of future cost.

You can find out more about WLTP and the movement within each Series here.

*For Spartanburg production models (X3, X4, X5 and X6), technical changes are effective from 01 August 2018.

The management team at Bowker Motor Group has raised over £1,000 for Burnley FC in the Community at this year’s Asda Foundation Burnley 10K running race.

Despite eleventh hour injuries to two of the Bowker team, the remaining five – representing Bowker BMW, MINI and aftersales on the Blackburn – all completed the course.

Bowker Blackburn managing director Chris Eccles said: “We’ve all trained hard. And the last minute injuries to two of the team members made us even more determined to successfully complete the challenge.

“It’s the first time we’ve entered a running challenge as a group, and everyone in the management team mentioned what a great event it was. We supported each other and we’re all especially grateful for everyone who supported us and donated.”

The sixth annual Burnley 10K race took place on Sunday July 15th, beginning and finishing in Towneley Park, outside Towneley Hall in Burnley.

Bowker Motor Group enlisted the help of Jamie Kennedy at Burnley-based Fitness Experience with some assistance with training and nutrition. All the competitors were monitored using a digital smartphone app and offered tailored advice in the build up to the race.

Earlier this year Bowker Motor Group became official vehicle supplier of Burnley FC in the Community (BFCitC); sourcing a fleet of four vehicles. Bowker Motor Group also sponsored the charity’s annual fundraising dinner in April.

Bowker 10K fundraising page can be found at

July 2018


Soon we’ll be giving you the chance to book a test drive in the MINI 1499 GT. But you’ll have to act fast because there’s only 1,499 limited editions available. Don’t miss out on your chance to get behind the wheel of this exciting, sporty new MINI that’s set to be a future classic.

Act fast. Get on the list. Complete the enquiry form on this page & we will get back to you or alternatively you can call Bowker Preston MINI on 01772 761234 or Bowker Blackburn MINI on 01254 274333.

  • Flexible vehicle architecture to enable electrification of every model series
  • Fully electric MINI confirmed as MINI 3 door variant
  • Electric drivetrain Made in Germany, integrated into car in Oxford

Electrification is one of the central pillars of the BMW Group’s corporate strategy NUMBER ONE > NEXT and the company has announced that all brands and model series can be electrified, with a full-electric or plug-in hybrid drivetrain being offered in addition to the combustion engine option. Additional electrified models will be brought to market in the coming years and beyond 2020, the company’s next generation vehicle architecture will enable further fully-electric vehicles.

Today, the BMW Group announced that the new battery-electric MINI will be a variant of the brand’s core 3 door model. This fully electric car will go into production in 2019, increasing the choice of MINI powertrains to include petrol and diesel internal combustion engines, a plug-in hybrid and a battery electric vehicle. The electric MINI’s electric drivetrain will be built at the BMW Group’s e-mobility centre at Plants Dingolfing and Landshut in Bavaria before being integrated into the car at Plant Oxford, which is the main production location for the MINI 3 door model.

Oliver Zipse, BMW AG Management Board member for Production said, “BMW Group Plants Dingolfing and Landshut play a leading role within our global production network as the company’s global competence centre for electric mobility. Our adaptable production system is innovative and able to react rapidly to changing customer demand. If required, we can increase production of electric drivetrain motor components quickly and efficiently, in line with market developments.”

By 2025, the BMW Group expects electrified vehicles to account for between 15-25% of sales. However, factors such as regulation, incentives and charging infrastructure will play a major role in determining the scale of electrification from market to market. In order to react quickly and appropriately to customer demand, the BMW Group has developed a uniquely flexible system across its global production network. In the future, the BMW Group production system will create structures that enable our production facilities to build models with a combustion engine, plug-in hybrid or fully electric drive train at the same time.

The BMW Group currently produces electrified models at ten plants worldwide; since 2013, all the significant elements of the electric drivetrain for these vehicles come from the company’s plants in Dingolfing and Landshut. Dingolfing additionally builds the plug-in hybrid versions of the BMW 5 Series and the BMW 7 Series and from 2021, it will build the BMW i NEXT. The BMW Group has invested a total of more than 100 million euros in electro-mobility at the Dingolfing site to date, with investment continuing as the BMW Group’s range of electrified vehicles further expands.

Electrification of all brands and model series continues

The new, fully-electric MINI is one of a series of electrified models to be launched by the BMW and MINI brands in the coming years. In 2018, the BMW i8 Roadster will become the newest member of the BMW i family. The all-electric BMW X3 has been announced for 2020, and the BMW iNEXT is due in 2021.

Today, the BMW Group offers the widest range of electrified vehicles of any car manufacturer in the world, with nine models already on the market. These range from the full-electric BMW i3 to the company’s newest electrified model, the MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4*, a plug-in hybrid version of the MINI Countryman, which is produced by VDL Nedcar in the Netherlands. The company has committed to selling 100,000 electrified vehicles in 2017 and will have a total of 200,000 electrified vehicles on the roads by the end of the year.

The BMW Group has benefited from its early start on the road to electrification. Indeed, the company’s pioneering, large scale electric vehicle trial began world-wide in 2008 with the MINI E. Learnings from this project played a crucial role in the subsequent development of the BMW i3 and BMW i8, technology pioneers which themselves informed the company’s current range of plug-in hybrid vehicles.


*: Fuel consumption in the EU test cycle: 2.3 – 2.1 litres/100 km, CO2 emissions: 52 – 49 g/km

Bowker Blackburn MINI surprised the Little Mix star, Jade Thirlwall’s mother, on Christmas morning by delivering a brand new grey MINI Cooper Hatch! 

Little Mix’s tour manager got in touch with Dave Pope, our sales executive for Bowker Blackburn BMW and MINI, after Jade said she wanted to surprise her mother at Christmas with a new car.

Dave says, “I’ve been a friend of the Little Mix tour manager for a while. And he’s bought a car from me in the past. He called me to tell me that a member of the band wanted to surprise her mum at Christmas with a new car. So we started talking about the best way to go about it.

“Jade took an active interest. She knew exactly how she wanted the car to look as it was a special gift for her Mum.  She was very specific about the colour for example. So, it took a  few different cars to get exactly the right one.

“In the end Jade chose a MINI Cooper Hatch. It’s a great car and an automatic. We built the car using the MINI website to show Jade exactly how it would look. And we explained all the extras.

“The car she chose was off site. So we brought it to the dealership to take it through all the safety checks and prepare for delivery. Then we organised a transporter to a secret location for the grand reveal. We were sworn to secrecy. All our discussions were confidential.

“I think you can see from the reaction on the video on social media that Jade’s Mum had no idea about the surprise. She sounds delighted. I hope she loves the car. That’s what it’s all about.

“We try to treat all Bowker customers like global celebrities. So Jade got a great deal and service just like everyone does!”

Two Lancashire MINI centres have backed a North West cycling adventurer’s bid to become the first person in history to complete the Giro D’Italia on a ‘Fat Bike’.

38 year-old Dave Sims hit national news headlines in 2015 when he became the first person to complete the Tour de France route on a chopper bicycle.

And now, Bowker MINI in Blackburn and Preston will provide Dave’s principal support vehicle during his new Italian challenge in May later this year.

Bowker MINI celebrated the link up with Dave at the launch of the New MINI Countryman on Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th February. Dave was a VIP guest at the Bowker MINI event at Brockholes nature reserve in Preston.

For Bowker, group marketing manager, Amy Lancaster, said:

“Everyone knows about Dave’s incredible Tour de France challenge on a chopper a couple of years ago. It was an immense effort. But his latest challenge is even tougher – and 800 miles further. He’ll need all the support he can get.

“We’re proud to be backing him. We wanted to work alongside someone who represented the Countryman’s spirit of adventure. And Dave was the perfect fit. We’re especially delighted that Dave joined us for the launch of the new MINI Countryman.

The total distance of the Giro d’Italia – the 100th time the race has been contested – is 2400 miles over 21 stages. The route takes in both the Dolomite and Alpine mountain ranges.

Dave’s fat bike has been exclusively designed by Clitheroe-based Beacon Bikes. Fat bikes are recognisable by their 3.8 inch-wide tyres. The fat tyres are built to allow riding on soft unstable terrain. Dave’s Italian challenge will take in both road and off road segments.

Dave said,

“It’s another challenge that is going to push me to the limit. The bike is even more striking than the chopper. And it’ll need to be at its best for the wide variety of technical challenges I’ll face.

“‘I am very grateful for Bowker MINI’s support. I know I’ll need all the help I can get. It’s the toughest challenge of my life. I just hope I can repay the faith my sponsors and supporters have put in me!”

Dave’s last challenge raised £12,000 for Help the Heroes. This time he is hoping that The Italian Job will raise a further £10,000 for the same charity.

More information about Dave’s challenge is available on Twitter @MPCdave, Facebook @italianjob2017 or Instagram @italianjob2017