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North East Connected

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THERE’S always something happening in Stockton-on-Tees, and 2018 is shaping up to be no different.

Just weeks after announcing a major new Simplyhealth Great Tees 10k event is coming in September, the Council has confirmed a supercars show is on its way too.

Supercar Saturday, presented by JPC Specialist Motorsports Ltd, will bring all manner of flash motors to Stockton High Street on Saturday, May 5.

But there’s a fond farewell – for now at least – to Stockton River Rat Race, which has seen intrepid racers leap into the River Tees for seven fun-soaked years.

“We look to freshen up our events programme every year and while we’re sad to see Rat Race go, the new arrivals mean 2018 will actually be busier than ever,” said the Council’s Cabinet Member for Arts, Leisure and Culture, Councillor Norma Wilburn.

“Rat Race has had a great innings since it arrived in 2011, but the feeling from its organisers is that the market in this particular genre is now saturated, which makes it an ever more difficult challenge to grow the event as much as they’d like to.

“We’ve got a great relationship with them and tellingly, they have not ruled out a return! New for this year though, are the Simplyhealth Great Tees 10k and Supercar Saturday and we’re really excited to be bringing people something different.

“There’ll still be other sporting challenges in the shape of the Duathlon and Cycling Festival as well events to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War. Old favourites like SIRF and Preston Park’s Fire Engine and Vintage Vehicle Show will be returning too.

“We’re very proud of our ever changing events programme and in contrast with a lot of councils, we continue to invest in events because we recognise how much Tees Valley residents enjoy them and the far reaching economic benefits they bring.”

Rat Race Founder, Jim Mee, added: “Rat Race has been loved and well-attended for seven years and there is no doubt that it is much cherished by those who have done it on a regular basis.

“There is no issue with the event itself but the market is challenging and we have decided not to continue with it for now. I do say ‘for now’ because the commercial landscape may change or alternatively, we may return with a different concept.

“I would say this is not a goodbye, but perhaps a pause for thought. What I can say for sure is that it has been great operating in Stockton-on-Tees and a pleasure dealing with the Council, who have supported us through seven great years.”

To find out more about events taking place in Stockton-on-Tees throughout 2018 visit www.stockton.gov.uk/events

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