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Formula One racing boss behind angling firm’s relaunch

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Former Formula One racing boss, Ross Brawn, one of the men behind the relaunch of Rok Max.
↑ Duncan Goldsmith: One of a trio of men looking to relaunch the big game tackle company, Rok Max.
↑ Allan Shephard: "Our goal is build on the great Rok Max reputation and to provide sports fishermen with the best quality, best value equipment available."

One of the most successful figures in Formula One motor racing is behind the relaunch and expansion of big game tackle company, Rok Max Ltd.

Ross Brawn OBE, former technical director of Benetton and Ferrari and more recently team principal for Honda, Brawn GP and Mercedes, steered his teams to an amazing nine world constructors’ championships.

Now the Grand Prix legend has linked up with new Rok Max co-owners Allan Shephard and Duncan Goldsmith to drive the company into new product categories and grow the business into a global brand.

Brawn, who retired from Formula One a year ago, is a longtime angler with particular interests in fly fishing and lure fishing for saltwater bass. At Rok Max he will be involved in strategic direction, financial planning and capitalising the business.

“Ross is used to leading teams of up to a thousand employees and managing budgets of £200m, so he is not going to be intimidated by size,” said Shephard, who left his role as Marketing/Brands Manager of Sportfish in December.

“Since retiring from Formula One he has been looking for business opportunities that match his personal interests. We have been friends and fishing buddies for a long time so this is a good fit.

“Ross is having a big input into strategic planning and is challenging us on the how, why and when of things. His credentials speak for themselves.”

Together with Goldsmith, formerly an MD in the waste industry and a successful property developer, Shephard plans to add significantly to the company’s big game range by branching into saltwater fly fishing, popper fishing and jigging, clothing and accessories.

The company, which trades as Rok Max Sports Fishing, was founded 22 years ago by Paul and Pat Bowers, who built up a strong customer database before deciding to retire last year. The Rok Max range already includes Sage fly rods and reels from Avet and Van Staal. Other brands include Daiwa, Mustad and American Fishing Wire.

“It is currently the go-to website for big game fishermen in the UK, but we want to turn it into a global brand,” Shephard told Angling International. “Our goal is build on the great Rok Max reputation and to provide sports fishermen with the best quality, best value equipment available. We will back it with the finest possible after-sales service.”

“In the short time we have had the business we have been surprised by the demand for big game fishing tackle. People are travelling to fish in greater numbers than ever before and we already have strategic alliances with key fishing travel companies. Supporting the destination angler is one of our key objectives.”

Having relocated the company from Cornwall to Berkshire, the immediate focus for Shephard and Goldsmith is to bring the website in line with the latest e-commerce technology. The site will be populated with information, instruction, advice pages and blog posts. It is expected to go live later this month.

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