The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company will be title sponsor of two race categories at this year’s Conister Bank Longest Day Longest Ride event.

Established in 2010, the annual mountain bike challenge sees hundreds of riders tackling a challenging and diverse 5 kilometre course at Conrhenny Plantation for 24 hours.

There are eight prize categories and the Steam Packet Company will be title sponsor of the Solo Male and Solo Female competitions, where the winners are the riders who cover the most miles.

The prize for the winner in each category will be all expenses paid entry to a UK mountain bike competition over the summer, including free return travel for a car and two people contributed by the Steam Packet Company.

In addition, the Steam Packet Company has supported the Conister Bank LDLR by creating special travel and accommodation packages for visiting riders, to make it easier and even more affordable for off-Island mountain bikers to take part.

In its first year, the event attracted just 16 competitors but last year 278 riders took the start.

Almost 100 entries have already been received for this year’s running, on 1st and 2nd July, including riders from the UK, Ireland and even Denmark.

Each year the 24-hour challenge raises money for a nominated charity, with more than £29,000 collected since 2010. This year funds will support Organ Donation Isle of Man.

Founder Gary Cooper said: ‘The Conister Bank LDLR is a real test of physical fitness, stamina and mental toughness on a technical but achievable route, as well as an event firmly focused on enjoyment and fun for everyone involved.

‘That combination, plus the Isle of Man’s growing reputation as a mountain biking destination, has helped the event go from strength-to-strength and we are beginning to see more and more off-Island riders signing up. The support of the Steam Packet Company in offering special travel and accommodation packages for competitors will make it even easier for riders from other countries to take part, helping to make the Conister Bank LDLR a truly international contest.’

He added: ‘We’re delighted to welcome the Steam Packet Company on board as title sponsor of the Solo Male and Solo Female categories and would like to thank them for all their support.’

Steam Packet Company Chief Executive Mark Woodward added: ‘The Isle of Man is a great destination for mountain biking and events like the Longest Day Longest Ride help raise awareness and bring people to the Island.

‘We’re delighted to be supporting this year by contributing to the prize package for the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company Solo Male and Solo Female categories, as well as creating special travel and accommodation packages to help the event grow. We work with many event organisers to offer such packages, making it simpler for visitors to organise their trips, and I’m delighted to see the LDLR packages are already attracting entries from as far afield as Denmark.

‘We wish Gary and his team all the best and look forward to another thrilling event.’