Ambitious team sets sights high
Kent could have a team riding in the Tour of Britain by 2023.
That’s the hope of Paul Morton, co-founder of the PMR@Toachim House team launched in 2011 to bring the county’s elite riders together.
The Tour has seen its profile rocket in recent years and Bradley Wiggins will ride this year’s race in September.
Several British UCI Continental teams are hoping to join the line-up but so far, Kent is not represented in the peloton.
However, Morton wants to change that. Alongside his father Tom, he used to ride for the National Escort Group, the motorcyclists who help with safety at cycling events, including the Tour de France, Olympic Games and Tour of Britain.
He said: “We saw there wasn’t a South East-based team. Clubs (across Kent) had individual good riders but they didn’t have a team to ride with. Myself and my father took it upon ourselves to put together a team.”
The team – which includes riders from Ashford, Herne Bay, Sittingbourne and Thanet – was launched as PM R@cing, with national junior road race champion Pete Johnson and mountain biker Billy Whenman also among their ranks.
Whenman has since been picked up by the professional Zannata Cycling Team in Belgium, a sign of the quality PMR are bringing through. Morton said: “We like to think of ourselves as a development team, bringing people on to bigger and better things.”
The success stories keep coming. Thanet’s Chris Fennell was the secondfastest junior at the national time trial championships for PMR@Toachim House last month.
Te am bosses are determined to break into the upper echelons of the sport, however, rather than continually putting local riders in the shop window.
Morton said: “Within 10 years, we want to get the team into the Tour of Britain.
“That requires riders and financial backing but if we get that, if we get the right structure, we have the knowledge and the knowhow to build a team for that level.”