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Saturday, 01 November 2014

Matthew Wilson: My pride in driving for Cumbria

Cumbrian rally driver Matthew Wilson writes of his pride in competing in the GB rally in a car covered in brands promoting his home county.

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Flying: Matthew Wilson and Scott Martin in their new Ford Fiesta RS WRC

‘Proud to be Cumbrian’ – that was the tag line that donned my M-Sport prepared Ford Fiesta RS WRC on the tenth round of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) in Wales  earlier last weekend.

The event was immensely special for myself and co-driver Scott Martin. Not only did it mark our return to the championship after more than a seven month absence and see M-Sport dominate the timesheets, but – thanks to the support of a number of local businesses – it also allowed us to showcase the commercial prowess of our beloved county.

Based in Cockermouth on the outskirts of the Lake District national park, M-Sport has spear-headed Ford’s assault on the WRC since 1997 – a Cumbrian firm at the forefront of global motorsport.

Our driver, Jari-Matti Latvala, secured victory and the fact that six M-Sport prepared cars
occupied the top nine places was testament to all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes in Cumbria. All in all, M-Sport cars set 14 of the 19 fastest stage times!

It was fantastic to be back behind the wheel of a rally car and it was made all the more special by the fact that it was supported by a host of Cumbrian businesses – In Cumbria,  Invest in Cumbria, Britain’s Energy Coast Cumbria, New Balance, AST Signs, Stobart and Onix Bikes – and a big thanks goes to all of them, without whom our return would not have been possible.

The county has seen huge growth recently. Threlkeld near Keswick was the first place in the country to test out 4G and BT have just won a £40M bid to supply superfast broadband across Cumbria – an initiative which will see a range of exciting new services including the delivery of fibre broadband to those in more rural areas.

Britain’s Energy Coast Cumbria has launched a brand new “Investing in Business” programme which could help create and safeguard more than 1,000 jobs and unlock £31m of private sector nvestment in West Cumbria.

And perhaps even more exciting, Walkers Crisps used the county in a new marketing campaign when Gary Lineker tackled a giant crisp climbing wall to promote the brand!

Needless to say, Cumbria is on the up and hopefully we will be able to spread the word with the help of further businesses should we contest the WRC season finale in Spain in November.

This article was written by Matthew Wilson when he guest edited the in-cumbria business newsletter this week. It goes to 1,400 businesses every week and you sign up at www.inc-umbria.com/newsletter

By Matthew Wilson
Published: September 21, 2012

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