Campaign to recognise Ripon's newest sporting hero Matt Stevenson

Matt Stevenson. Picture: Ean Proctor
Matt Stevenson. Picture: Ean Proctor
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Support is growing for a campaign to name a 36 bus after Ripon's newest sporting hero, Matt Stevenson.

Scores of residents have been calling for formal recognition of Matt's achievements, ever since he won the prestigious Senior Manx Grand Prix motorcycle race in the Isle of Man.

Ripon councillor Stuart Martin is working with Matt's supporters to set the wheels in motion - looking into the possibility of naming a 36 bus, or organising a celebratory civic reception.

Overwhelmed by the warmth and kindness shown by Ripon residents, Matt said: "I can't believe all the support I've had. Ripon's really got behind me, and I'm so grateful for that.

"After I won, I looked at my phone and I had a million Facebook notifications and messages from people who I'd never heard of before. It's just been amazing, and everyone's been really supportive.

"I'd like to thank all of my sponsors and everyone who has supported me along the way. And hopefully they will continue to support me."

Coun Martin said: "The fact that someone from Ripon has won this is amazing, and it is something that should be celebrated. It's a tremendous achievement, and Matt has obviously put in an awful lot of hard work to get this far.

"Ripon hopefully has a reputation of looking after their own, and Matt is one of our own."

Matt is passionate about inspiring young people to pursue their sporting dreams. He hopes his incredible victory will generate new interest in motorcycling races.

He said: "I've spent a good few years trying to get here, and this is definitely the biggest thing I have ever done. I didn't really expect it - I thought maybe the top 10 or top 20, but I didn't think I'd be anywhere near a podium.

"I'd just say to anyone who is thinking about pursuing this, to keep going and never give up it. It's always worth it in the end. I don't think it's really that popular, and not many people know about it, so it would be great to see more people interested."