A SUFFOLK businessman has faced the Dragon’s Den and won – securing a £50,000 investment on the hit BBC show.
Andy Bates, 44, owner of AB performance, impressed petrolhead Dragon Peter Jones in the Den, securing an investment for 35 per cent of his motorsport business.
Andy, from Walsham-le-Willows, was the only entrepreneur to secure an investment on Sunday’s show and even turned down another offer made by Duncan Bannatyne.
Andy said it was an exhausting experience going head to head with the Dragons.
He said: “It was an extremely long session, I was in there for over two hours, but I suppose anyone who goes on to the show is up for a right grilling.
“I was given the choice of two offers in the Den but went for Peter Jones.
“Although I went in there not having a firm favourite dragon I was aware that Peter was a petrolhead and that an offer may come from him.”
From 1989 Andy worked as a firefighter in Thetford but his career was ended when he was involved in a high speed super sidecar crash in 2002.
He broke his spine but through rehabilitation managed to get on his feet again.
But due to a serious knee injury, Andy couldn’t return to being a firefighter so had to decide what to do with his life.
He said: “After the accident I had the benefit of having an awful lot of time to think about what to do next so I decided to stick with what I know – and that’s motor racing.
“We started work on the Sabre project about two and a half years ago, we wanted to make a stripped down race car for the track.
“We got two wins at Silverstone at the weekend and both were 20 seconds up on the second place driver so the car is performing well.”
Andy said his appearance on Dragon’s Den had sparked huge interest in his business.
He said: “It was ridiculous the day after the show, the phones didn’t stop ringing.
“Our website is only used to getting 500 hits a day, on Monday it crashed because we had more than 150,000.”