DARLINGTON-BASED engineering firm, Ardmore Craig, are hoping things will go downhill fast this winter – because they have teamed up with Britain’s number one bobsleigh driver, Mica McNeill.

The engineering and design consultancy business have teamed up with McNeill, who launched a crowd-funding appeal to enable her to compete at the Winter Olympics earlier this year after her funding was withdrawn by British bobsleigh’s governing body.

Ardmore Craig’s managing director, Andy Stevenson, listened to McNeill discussing her career at an entrepreneurial conference in May, and spotted an opportunity for his firm to help.

Ardmore Craig have taken over the design and manufacture of the runners for McNeill’s bobsleigh, and are hoping their relationship with the Consett-based Winter Olympian will lead to further opportunities in the future.

Mr Stevenson said: “Our background as a business is really in the oil and gas sector, and offshore renewables, but when we spoke to Mica, we realised we had areas of expertise that might help.

“We thought we could do something with the runners, and thanks to our supply chain, at the very least we can manufacture a replica of the current runners at a much cheaper price.

“Hopefully, then, we’ll be able to make a few tweaks and changes that will improve the product and enable Mica to improve her times.

“Hopefully, it will help Mica, and it will enable us to branch out in some different directions.

“Most of the jobs we’re involved in are pretty big in terms of scale, so it’s an interesting opportunity to work with something much smaller. And once we get to the stage of manufacturing, the plan is to work with other companies based here in the North-East.”

Having been established in 2010, Ardmore Craig was initially based in Newton Aycliffe before relocating to Lingfield Point in Darlington last September.

The firm has enjoyed considerable success in the offshore sector, and Mr Stevenson sees the link-up with McNeill as an exciting initiative.

He said: “Speaking with Mica, it’s obvious she’s absolutely determined to compete at the next Winter Olympics in 2022. It would be great if we could help that to happen.

“My business outlook has always been to try to look for new opportunities and branch off in new directions, and it’ll be interesting to see what directions this might take us in as things grown and evolve.

“We’ll be working closely with Mica, but further down the line, there might be an opportunity to create a product that we can adapt and sell elsewhere.”