i-Team boss seizes moment to realise dream

Abbie Manley leads her Hargroves Ridley Montezuma's team-mate Amy Perryman through a corner at the Swanmore Motocross Track. Picture: Neil Marshall (171339-131)

Fareham Wheelers dream of national service

  • Watson grabs golden opportunity to launch team
  • Seven riders named in new junior race squad
  • Southsea Cycles and Moda Bikes on board
  • Support package worth nearly £25,000 for 2016 campaign
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Guy Watson has seized the moment and launched a new junior race team in Portsmouth.

The i-Team.cc founder revealed the opportunity was too good to miss as he named his seven-strong squad for the 2016 campaign.

With assistance from Moda Bikes, Southsea Cycles and a raft of generous patrons, a support package worth nearly £25,000 has been put together for the budding riders.

Second-year junior Joe Clark has been joined by six graduates from i-Team’s youth section – the Portsmouth School of Cycling Racing (PSoCR).

They are Harvey McNaughton, Jack Noble, Kyle Henderson, Nick Kimish and Victoria Lovett, all 16, and 15-year-old TJ Nel.

It is not often a club boasts so many first-year juniors and for Watson, it was the perfect chance to form the team he has dreamed about for some time.

Manager Guy Watson with the junior race squad and their support team. Picture: Sarah Standing (151998-6288)

Manager Guy Watson with the junior race squad and their support team. Picture: Sarah Standing (151998-6288)

The team manager said: ‘It is very exciting.

‘What has happened this year is a once-in-a-decade opportunity. We have six juniors all ready to race, plus Joe.

‘Normally you would start a team, get a sponsor and then begin looking around local clubs to recruit riders.

‘We have already got a well-knitted group.

What has happened this year is a once-in-a-decade opportunity

Guy Watson

‘We have seven riders, all bouncing off each other and providing motivation and support to one another.

‘This is not something that happens very often and it is going to be a very interesting project.’

The PSoCR has had a hand in the early careers of the likes of London 2012 Olympic gold medallist Dani King, European champion Jon Dibben and Team GB senior academy sprinter and multi junior national champion Joe Truman.

But this is the first time i-Team has launched a race squad, albeit one which is separately funded from the club.

Team manager Guy Watson. Picture: Sarah Standing (151998-390)

Team manager Guy Watson. Picture: Sarah Standing (151998-390)

Watson has high hopes for his venture but acknowledges it will take time to establish.

‘Not everyone wants to race, we understand that,’ he said.

‘But for those actually showing an aptitude and, most importantly, a willingness to work, we can now keep them going.

‘This team could stay around and mature into an under-23 race team.

‘They could then be knocking on the door of elite teams or feeding into the Moda pro team.

‘But it has to be pretty low-key at the moment. The big problem we are up against is the junior calendar is massively over-subscribed.

‘So we will start in March with some regional races.

‘We have to remember it is a massive transition from youth to junior, so we will be looking to do things right and get our tactics right.

‘Then we will just be waiting on performances.

‘As soon as they start getting some good results, it is going to help to get into the bigger races.’