Event director Hugh Thomas confirmed this week that the grassroots championships at Badminton — currently called the Mitsubishi Motors Cup — will continue after Mitsubishi’s title sponsorship of the horse trials finishes this year.
“Come what may, that championship will continue here, I’m delighted to say, although it won’t be called the Mitsubishi Motors Cup,” he said.
The championship, which is run each year at BE90 and BE100 level after a series of fiercely fought regional finals around the country, has been hosted at Badminton since 2010. Initially called the Mitsubishi Motors Grassroots Championships, it was renamed in 2016 to the Mitsubishi Motors Cup. It is the ambition of numerous amateur riders around the country to take part in it.
Badminton announced in October last year that Mitsubishi was calling time on its title sponsorship of the spring classic.
Speaking this week about the end of the sponsorship, Mitsubishi’s UK managing director Rob Lindley said the 2019 event would be a poignant moment and that it had been “an honour and a privilege” to be the event’s headline sponsor for “28 fantastic years”.
He said the move away from Badminton reflected a change of direction in what consumers want and the company’s new focus on electric and hybrid cars.
“We definitely want to go out on a high this year,” he said.
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At the time of the announcement about the sponsorship ending, Hugh Thomas said: “It is always sad when a very successful partnership comes to an end, and especially when over the years event and sponsor have developed a genuine friendship.
“But when one door closes, another one opens and it will be exciting to see where that leads.”
Read Horse & Hound’s Badminton preview in 25 April issue, including cross-country course walk with world champion Ros Canter. Our full form guide is out the following week (2 May issue).