Bury St Edmunds business backs Bentley for the 2018 British GT

Rick Parfitt Junior will defend his British GT Championship title this year, with a little help from Bury St Edmunds-based friends.

Orbital, a food machinery company based in the Suffolk town, have thrown their weight behind Team Parker Racing Bentley GT3 team for the 2018 competition.

The racing contest, which will travel to the Snetterton Cicuit on May 26/27, will see Ryan Ratcliffe join Parfitt as his team-mate after Seb Morris stepped away at the end of last year.

The two drivers know each other well and will reunite the partnership that won the British GT4 title in 2013.

Martin Satchwell, sales executive at Orbital, said: “We have sponsored a driver in the British GT for nine years.

“Marcus Hogarth, who we sponsored last year, is on sabbatical so we decided to get behind Rick and Ryan. It’s very exciting for everyone, and the local aspect is important to us.

“We want to highlight the great things about Bury.”

Parfitt said he was looking forward to a return to Snetterton in May.

“I like the track, it’s in a beautiful part of the country,” the part-time musician said.

“I played my first ever gig in Norfolk and there are a lot of good memories in the area — when I was talking to Orbital and they mentioned Bury, I was immediately interested, it just seemed the perfect fit.”

The son of the late Status Quo guitarist of the same name, said he was ‘delighted’ by the interest of Orbital, feeling their passion for racing matched his own.

He said: “I still get really excited about racing and my motivation is still high.

“Orbital came to me and we just got on really well, they are so enthusiastic about racing.

“Ryan and I are going to be up against it this year, it’s going to be incredibly tough, but I believe we are capable of winning.”

He explained that they were the only Silver and Bronze graded pairing this year in the competition, with most other crews made up of a Bronze amateur and either a Gold or Platinum professional.

Parfitt said: “But the pressure is off us in some ways and on the others. I’m reigning champion and I know the car well — I’ve been driving it for the past two years, I’m confident I can drive fast and I know how to win.”

The 2018 season begins at Oulton Park on March 31.