Yorkshire motor group backs epic challenge

A YORKSHIRE-BASED motor group is backing a pair of amateur rowers’ bid to conquer the Atlantic and bring home a new world record for the county and the UK.

Alex Macdonald and Luke Grose, both 23 and from Giggleswick in North Yorkshire, have secured substantial  backing from Bradford-based car retailer JCT600 for a bold bid to challenge the current 40-day world record for the two-yearly trans-Atlantic rowing race.

The five-figure deal, which will cover the cost of duo’s race entry fees as well as travel and transport, has enabled the pair to realise their five-year dream of challenging the record in the name of Yorkshire.

JCT600 chief executive John Tordoff is confident the newly formed Team JCT600 has a great chance to win the epic race that starts on December 6 this year at the island of La Gomera, near Tenerife and ends in Antigua in the West Indies.

 “These lads have been training hard for over two years, and we wanted to help them bring this prestigious record home to Britain and especially here to Yorkshire,” he said.

Their boat – JCT600 Yorkshire Challenger – is a 23ft handmade wooden rowing boat built especially to compete in the race and will be one of 35 identical boats that are expected to line up at the start.

The pair will take two hour shifts rowing the boat while the other sleeps in the small cabin, and will face 50ft waves as well as the dangers of crossing tanker lanes, shark infested waters and being struck by curious whales.

“We are proud that an all-Yorkshire team will be taking on this awesome 3,000 mile test and with the preparation and planning that Alex and Luke have already undergone, we know they will be among the best prepared teams that have entered from across the world,” added Mr Tordoff.

The race has been completed by fewer people than have climbed Mount Everest and was publicised in a TV documentary in 2005 following the entry of TV presenter Ben Fogle and Olympic rower James Cracknell.

“We really want to crack the record of 40 days and five hours set by Kiwi team of Fitzgerald and Biggar in 2003. We needed to find partners to help us reach the starting line with the right preparation, support and equipment to make us competitive,” said Mr Macdonald of Team JCT600.

“With the support of Yorkshire business people we now have a great chance to show the world what we can do and we are upping the ante with training now carefully trying to ensure we peak at the end of the year,” added fellow rower Mr Grose.

“As part of the deal we will also have our own website – www.TeamJCT600.com  – where anyone can follow our progress before and during the race and see satellite tracking of our boat, images of the journey and regular updates on our race,” he added.

Team JCT600 will be touring the region between August and October, showing the boat to members of the public at the group’s showrooms, as well as running rowing challenges in Leeds, Bradford, Hull, York, Sheffield and Wakefield to raise money for MacMillan, the team’s charity partner.

Other businesses supporting the challenge include; Giggleswick School, JN Bentley, Booths Supermarkets, The Glenlivet, Oakley sunglasses, Nottingham University, Trinity Horne, Virgin Atlantic and Jack Links.