REIGNING British Superbike champion Tommy Hill knows only too well how important it is for young and aspiring bikers to attract sponsorship when they are first starting out in the sport.
Spiralling costs of keeping machines on the track, equipment and travelling expenses mean that it is not a cheap pastime anymore even more so if you are looking to take up motorbike racing professionally.
And so Hill was delighted to go back to his roots and say “thank you” to the company that helped to put him on the road to success when he started out.
Legal firm Fletchers have moved into new offices in Southport and Hill was more than happy to go along to cut the ribbon and declare the company’s new home well and truly open – nearly ten years after they sponsored him when he was just settling into the saddle.
Hill said: “I have known Fletchers since the beginning of my career. This can be a difficult sport to get into. My little brother Jimmy is also starting out and I hope he too can find a firm like Fletchers to help him the way they supported me.”
Fletchers sponsored Hill for a number of years from 2003, at the beginning of his career, when he was just 18 and first starting out in British Superbikes.
The firm sponsored him mainly because of the rapport built up between their own Julia Eyton, a Fellow of the Institute of Legal Executives and a self-confessed ‘bike nut’, and Hill when they met.
Fletchers specialise in personal injuries and Eyton and her team have won over 13.5m in claims for people who have suffered catastrophic injuries.
Hill, now 27, knows only too well how important firms like Fletchers are as his early racing life included a near-fatal moto-cross accident in which he lost a kidney and his spleen.
Fletchers’ own chief executive officer, Ed Fletcher, is in a wheelchair himself because of a motorbike accident he suffered ten years ago which ruptured his spine.
Mr Fletcher said: “Biking has long been this firm’s passion and main area of work and we have been specialising in motorcycle claims for the last 25 years and have worked with a number of the largest motorcycle insurers in the UK.”
“We were delighted that Tommy agreed to come and open our new offices.”
Hill said: “Fletchers helped kick start my career into gear. Sometimes without sponsorship riders may not be able to afford the best and right kit. That can be the difference between first and second place. It is harder now for young riders trying to break into the sport because of the state of the economy. I couldn’t have done it without the nurturing and financial backing that Fletchers gave me back then. I will never forget the people who were there for me right at the beginning and never stop being grateful for their support. Sponsorship helps you to train, to rest and to be your best.”
And Mr Fletcher added: “Tommy is a great example of a grass roots rider and we are proud that we helped him get on in the sport. Biking is in this company’s DNA; we work with numerous biking charities and many of our staff are keen bikers.”