AN AUSTRIAN motorcyclist taking part in TheDakar Rally has found an unlikely sponsor in a Chester pub and restaurant.
Martin Johannes Rabenlehner, nicknamed ‘The Stig’ in tribute to his Top Gear ‘cousin’, is being backed by The Chester Fields, based at Bridge Trafford near Chester.
Martin, who rides a KTM on and off road bike, did brilliantly in winning the fifth stage of the race, now known as the Africa Eco Race, but due to a high fever was not allowed to start stage eight.
“He’s plastered in The Chester Fields branding and is one of the favourites to win,” said managing director Mark Jarvis. “The race has TV coverage in many different countries around the world and will clearly put Chester on the map if he does as well, as we think he will.”
Explaining his connection with The Chester Fields, rider Martin said: “During my world travels I have grown to love the UK and its friendly citizens. Cheshire in particular, due to the friends I have in Chester.
“I am very particular about the quality of food that I eat and I fell in love with The Chester Fields right from the start.
“Since my first visit when it opened in 2011, I got along with the managing director Mark Jarvis and the marketing director Izzy Grey, like fire!
“From a friendship came a professional relationship which will continue for many years to come.”
The original Paris to Dakar rally began in December 1978 and the extreme desert conditions have claimed the lives of 60 participants.
Since 2008 the original organisers switched the rally to South America due to terrorist threats.
A new sponsor picked up the flag and runs the Africa Eco Race tracing the route of the original rally.
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