MOTOR SPORT: STU WILSON is gearing up for the biggest challenge of his motorsport career.
The 24-year-old rider from Crewe is preparing for his first full season in the British Superstock Championships - the support event for the British Super-bike series.
Stu, a former European BMX champion and seven-times club karting title-holder, is competing in the championship after securing significant sponsorship from German power-tools manufacturer Metabo.
'I cannot say how much they are putting in but it means a significant chunk of the financial pressures are taken off me.
'Metabo have mapped out a three-year plan for me and if I impress them, there is a chance they will give me more backing and a possibility of racing in the British Superbikes or even in Europe.'
After developing a reputation for daring manoeuvres up and down the country, Stu is now helping promote the Metabo brand.
'They have my image rights for 2004 and I have done a photo shoot, which should see my picture in publications such as FHM and Motorcycle News as the company seeks greater exposure.'
Stu's dad Steve has helped finance his two new Suzuki GSXR 1000 bikes and he has spent recent weeks carrying out tests at Oulton Park and Silverstone, where the new campaign will get under starter's orders on March 28.
An extensive fitness regime has seen Stu lose three-quarters of a stone and he believes he is in the best physical condition of his life.
'The races are 18 to 25 laps each and last for anything between half-an-hour to 45 minutes, and they are always physically demanding. But I have worked hard on my fitness and feel in good shape.'
Although Stu has sampled success at club level, he admits his new challenge will be a big step.
'There are 60 riders entered into the competition and only 40 can race, so there's plenty of pressure just to qualify and, obviously, I don't want to let Metabo down. The other riders include an ex-World Superbikes rider, a former Grand Prix rider, three Australian riders and plenty of other club champions from last year.
'Although I am not fazed by any of the other riders' reputations, there is a big difference between this class and what I have been doing before.
'I have been to see a sports psychologist to try and give me an edge and my aim is to finish in the top 15. To do that, I need to finish each race. Points make prizes and if I don't finish a round, I'll have had a wasted weekend.'
Stu would like to thank his other sponsors and supporters, including local Metabo suppliers KMD in Nantwich, Motorex, Wilhall Engineering and his understanding wife Debbie. He is interested in hearing from any potential personal sponsors, who can contact him on 07974 302 882.
Look out for a Chronicle compet -ition in association with Stu and Metabo for the Oulton Park rounds of the British Superstock and Superbike Championships later in the summer.