CONGRATULATIONS TO THE Bailey Approach SE 745, which has been crowned overall winner in the Caravan Club’s prestigious Motor Caravan Design and Drive Awards for 2012.
Testing for the awards took place at the Newark Showground in the beginning of May, during which 50 motorhomes were put through their paces on the road and rigorously scrutinised for all aspects of habitation quality. Among the test team of four driving judges and six design judges was our own Rob Ganley and Gentleman Jack Bancroft.
In the final analysis, the judges fell for the four berth Approach’s winning combination of excellent build quality, high specification, great value for money, and a radical approach to improving passenger safety.
It’s a fabulous achievement, given that Bailey only launched its first motorhome in October 2011, but has been building touring caravans for more than 60 years. In recent years, a radical change in the way Bailey builds its caravans loaned itself perfectly to building motorhomes too.
Alu-Tech construction involves clamping together bonded panels such as the sidewall and roof with an aluminium extrusion, which is in turn held in place from the inside by a metal connecting bracket. The assembly is then locked together by a T-bolt fixing and a plastic cap covers the fittings so it all looks neat from the inside.
There is no wood used in the construction; instead the battens in the bonded walls are made from recycled plastic, which is stronger, lighter, better for the environment, and totally resistant to damage by water, in the case of a leak.
Also, in the run-up to launch, we were impressed by Bailey’s rigorous testing programme: not content with just strain testing the rear seat belts, it tested a fully fitted motorhome body to an impact of 20G, and fitted anti-submarining bars under the bench as a result.
The four-berth Approach SE 745 is based on the Peugeot Boxer / AL-KO chassis, and features a French bed at the rear, corner washroom, central L-kitchen and half-dinette up front, with a facing sofa. There are belted travel seats for four.
Below we’ve listed and pictured all category winners:
Van Conversions up to £40,000
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Van Conversions over £40,000
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Coachbuilts up to £45,000
Coachbuilts between £45,000 and £55,000
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Coachbuilts over £55,000
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Look out for our Rob Ganley and Gentleman Jack’s behind the scenes report in our upcoming Summer Special issue of the magazine. Also, Practical Motorhome is currently running the Bailey Approach SE 745 as a long-term test motorhome, and will report on the ’van in each issue of the magazine.