GELT Gladiator owner Mike James says he is glad he chose not to sell up, following a successful 2019 event.

Now he hopes to take it to the next level, helping to boost its profile nationally and attract new competitors.

The well-known event director had put the event up for sale last year, saying the decision was for personal reasons.

It came after a tough few years, including a high-profile court case over health and safety breaches.

But Gelt Gladiator has continued to be well-supported, and Mr James hailed this year’s event a huge success.

He said he is now glad he had a change of heart.

“I did feel like not doing it and selling it on, but seeing the smiles on people’s faces made me want to carry on.

“That’s why I do it, for weekends like this. To look around and see people enjoying themselves,” he added.

“The next step is to try and attract more people from outside the area.

“Ninety per cent of people who do this are local. That’s fantastic, but if we can widen it out it will have a really great economic impact for the area. They’d use local hotels, pubs - that’s the next step.”

He thanked his entire team for their hard work and Dan Russell, who owns the site at Walton, between Carlisle and Brampton, for his support.