JCB Groundcare has struck a deal to become the official tractor and utility vehicle supplier to one of the UK's leading equestrian venues and has already proved its worth - helping to save the first event of the year from horrendous weather conditions.
The agreement - which will run for the next five years - means JCB Groundcare will provide 13 of its Groundhog utility vehicles and eight 335HST compact tractors for each event at The All England Jumping Course, Hickstead.
JCB Groundcare director Jo Bamford said: "We are delighted to announce the Hickstead sponsorship programme which will give great exposure to the growing JCB Groundcare brand. The major events on the Hickstead calendar are broadcast to highly relevant national and international audiences on both satellite and terrestrial television, including over one million viewers last year for the DFS Derby on BBC. In addition, vast numbers of visitors will see our products performing within the arena itself.
"There is also great synergy between the two brands as both are long established, family-run British businesses delivering a world renowned product to their customers. The first event was a truly great advert for the partnership. By working together we were able to deliver a fantastic event against all the odds."
The JCB Groundcare models made their debut at Hickstead's first major event of the season - the British Jumping Derby Meeting - where they proved invaluable in the face of the adverse weather experienced across Britain this summer.
Hickstead Ltd sponsorship director, Daisy Bunn said: "For the first time in 47 years the weather genuinely put this year's DFS British Jumping Derby in jeopardy. It required a massive effort from our team and the outstanding performance of our new JCB tractor and utility fleet really was directly responsible for enabling the event to go ahead. We are now in the middle of an equally wet Longines Royal International Horse Show, and again we would be doomed without them! I cannot recommend the Groundhogs and compact tractors highly enough!
"The Groundhog utility vehicles not only exceeded the performance of our existing golf buggies, they took it to another level. Living up to their excellent reputation they were able to tow caravans and even a 7.5 tonne truck which was stuck in the mud.
"The compact tractors also proved indispensable - allowing us to construct the course late on - transporting fences and equipment into the arena without making a single mark on the pristine turf despite the sodden ground conditions."
Founded in 1961 by Douglas Bunn, Hickstead is synonymous with showjumping. It hosts the British Grand Prix and the only Samsung Super League with FEI Competition in the British Isles. However, in recent years it has diversified and as it approaches its 50th birthday has become equally renowned for polo, showing, dressage, driving and eventing. Hickstead can also now provide a unique function venue for weddings, conferences, parties and events.
JCB's 6x4 Groundhog utility vehicle - ideal for transporting people across rough and delicate ground - boasts a series of new features and options to further improve versatility, performance and operator comfort. The machine is proving extremely popular in a wide range of markets including: country estates, agriculture, specialist hire companies, sports venues, utility companies, quarries, golf courses and grounds maintenance contractors. The machine delivers class-leading performance with a max travel speed of 18 mph (29 km/h), max payload of 500kg and a towing capacity of 500kg.
The JCB 335HST is one of a range of six robust compact tractors - which span from 23 to 59 horsepower. The flagship products in JCB Groundcare's tailor-made range of specialist equipment for the grounds maintenance sector - they are ideal for use by grounds maintenance contractors, landscapers and green-keepers around golf courses, parks, sports and amenity grounds, smallholdings and equestrian centres. They power numerous attachments enabling operators to perform many grounds maintenance tasks in addition to their primary role of grass cutting.