As preparations for the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials get underway for the 2012 Event, the organisers have an extra reason to start the year with optimism. Continuing what is one of the longest sponsorships in sport (starting in 1992) Mitsubishi Motors in the UK has extended their support for three more years, up to and including 2015.
Said Event Director Hugh Thomas,
“This welcome renewal will take Mitsubishi’s involvement to twenty four years of a very happy relationship with Badminton and we look forward to a secure future in these challenging economic times.”
In response, Lance Bradley, Mitsubishi Motors in the UK’s Managing Director, replied,
“Even in difficult times for the UK motor industry and the world economy, our commitment to equestrianism and especially three-day eventing at all levels is as strong as ever. We are proud to pledge our ongoing support to all those who take part in the sport, whether riders, support staff, friends or families. This new agreement underlines our commitment to every level of the sport by including the Mitsubishi Motors Grassroots Championship as well as the main Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials itself.”
Badminton 2012 will be significant as a last chance for many international team managers to see their riders perform at a top 4 star event before heading to the London 2012 Olympics at Greenwich in the summer. It is also a reminder that it was at the last London Olympics in 1948 that the 10th Duke of Beaufort, after watching a lacklustre performance by the British Three day Event team, offered Badminton Park as a venue for an annual Olympic format Event. In 1949 the first ever Badminton was run.
This year the International Trials run from Friday 4th – Monday 7th May, with the Cross Country again taking place on the Sunday and the climax on Bank Holiday Monday for a record first prize of £65,000, a fitting reward for the world’s premier Three Day Event. Riders will also be conscious that Badminton is part of both the Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing and the HSBC FEI Classics Series, the two combinations of top events that unite the sport throughout the year. William Fox-Pitt as the current Burghley Champion is the man to watch for the Rolex Grand Slam, while Mary King will be keen to win the Classics Series again and was indeed the leading rider in the HSBC Rider Rankings at the end of the 2011 season.
Reflecting the excitement of a home Olympics, Badminton has decided to make its official ‘cause’ for 2012 Equestrian Team GBR, raising money for all the British teams taking part in Olympic, World and European Championships over the next four years.
Running just before the International event (Wednesday & Thursday 2nd/3rd May) will be the very popular Mitsubishi Motors Grassroots Championships, where qualified leisure riders get their chance to compete on the hallowed turf. Once again enthusiasm for this part of Badminton is huge, riders having qualified in autumn 2011 and now preparing for the most important days of their sporting life. In addition, for the first time for many years, Badminton will host on Thursday 3rd May the first 2012 qualifying round for the Dubarry Burghley Young Event Horse Championships, which is sure to bring many breeders and followers to see the potential stars of the future.
As ever the Badminton weekend promises top sport, over 500 trade exhibitors and a great family day out. Wednesday 2nd May which is Grassroots Dressage (only) day is free of charge but tickets for the rest of the great event go on sale now through the Badminton Box Office, which opened to previous customers on its Mailing List on 4th January and will be available to everyone online from 11th January at www.badminton-horse.co.uk.