The latest technology, combined with television coverage by Sky Sports, looks set to bring all the excitement and action from the 2005 FEI Open European Endurance Championships into the homes of endurance enthusiasts around the world.

Oxfordshire-based abtv Productions will be producing a one-hour long programme of the action from the Alfred’s Tower ride (5-7 August), which is set to attract entries from top international riders from up to 30 countries. Leading news documentary filmmaker and endurance competitor, Claire Barry, who has filmed at major endurance championships around the world, will be producing the programme.

Claire says: “TV coverage for any sport is crucial to its growth and development and securing Sky airtime is significant. With its spectacular settings, racing over challenging terrain, reliance on skilled crew back up and tension in the vet gates, endurance lends itself to exciting television. It is very similar to car rallying or the Tour de France, which are not easily accessible for spectators but which over several phases you can build into great programming.”

The use of technology at the championships will include “Smart Tags” and a global positioning system (GPS), which will enable organisers to pinpoint the position of riders around the course at all times. This will also allow the championship website to be automatically updated with the latest positions every five minutes.

Spectators at the event can look forward to enjoying interviews with riders, sponsors and other key individuals during the event, as well as pictures from inside the vet gate and on course, displayed on a large 16ft by 10ft screen in the spectator area. Supporters will also be able to follow their rider’s progress around the course with the route and the locations of the riders superimposed onto an Ordnance Survey map.

As well as being able to offer timely information to the public, the new technology will make life easier for the event organisers, who will be able to monitor the progress of the ride from the IT centre.

“The benefits of the technology go beyond providing information to members of the public,” explains event co-organiser John Hudson. “There are safety benefits for the riders as well.”

This prestigious event, which is expected to cost around £300,000 to stage, has gained title sponsorship from the Emirates International Endurance Racing, which organises major endurance events in the UAE, including the recent FEI World Championships.

Hudson says: “We are delighted to welcome our sponsors from Dubai on board. Their significant contribution will ensure the viability of the event.”

Organisers have also announced that Spinal Research will be the event’s official charity.

John Hudson, said: “Spinal Research is a charity that is dear to all in the equestrian community. We are grateful for the work supported by the charity, which has been invaluable in increasing the knowledge available to help those who have suffered spinal injuries. The European Championships will be a great opportunity for us to raise awareness for this very good cause.”

Carol Borwick, Head of Fundraising for Spinal Research says: “Spinal Research enjoys enormous support from the equestrian community. Many riders will have experienced accidents or know others that have had injuries to the neck, back and spine. Spinal Research is giving hope to thousands of people confined to life in a wheelchair. The money raised will go towards turning this hope into reality.”

For more information about the championships visit: www.endurancechampionships2005.co.uk