The Otley cycle races are set for a brighter future after the announce- ment of a major sponsorship deal.
DM Keith Ltd Skoda are to back them for the next three years and want to help build the iconic event.
Their backing means that the organisers can now fund temporary floodlighting on the finishing straight for this year’s races on Wednesday, July 3.
The race director Giles Pidcock is thrilled with the deal as he continues to plan for the event’s 28th year. He said: “It is a huge boost and will help us to enhance the racing.
“There will be floodlighting for the first time this year along with the inaugural ladies race.
“Last year we had a record 14,000 crowd and I am hopeful we can better that with interest in cycling at an all-time high in this country.”
The event will now be known as the DM Keith Skoda Ltd Otley Cycle Races.
And the three-year agreement covers the 2014 race which will be staged on Wednesday, July 2 – one day before the Tour de France riders are introduced in Leeds at the start of the world’s most famous race.
The first stage will pass through Otley and that has clearly been an added attraction to the new sponsors who are proud of their Yorkshire roots.
Dougal Keith, director at DM Keith Ltd, said: “The Keith family has sold the Škoda range for over 30 years, developing genuine relationships with our customers. Our father, Duncan, started in a little place in Cross Green, Leeds and we are now the largest ŠKODA retailer in the UK with six sites across Yorkshire.
“We’re delighted to be involved with the legendary Otley Cycle Races and are looking forward to helping them build this iconic event.”
Pidcock is hoping to involve the sponsors in the reliability ride from Otley to Kettlewell on Sunday, February 17 which will cover much of the Tour de France Stage One route.
Ordinary cyclists are expected to be joined by triatletes Alistair and Jonny Brownlee and local professional riders,