MOTORSPORT enthusiast Phil Burgan insists Tetbury’s Danny Kent ‘has the potential to be the best British motorcycle racer of all time’.
And the Leeds-based multi-millionaire is backing the 18-year-old with hard cash.
Burgan was last week revealed as the title sponsor for the French-based Tech3 team which will steer Kent’s attempt at the Moto2 world championship season in 2013.
Burgan is no stranger to motorsport having raced cars himself, notably in the Ferrari 355 Challenge at Imola, while he was also personal sponsor to dual World Superbike champion James Toseland who, incidentally, is now guiding Kent’s intensive new fitness regime.
Burgan built his personal fortune on the back of selling his 38-strong chain of Medimart pharmacies in 1995 and the following year founded the Maria Mallaband Care Group (MMCG) named in honour of his grandmother.
The group now has 29 care homes under the MMCG banner and is one of Britain’s fastest growing private companies.
Burgan said: “Caring about the future of British motorsport is something that I’m very passionate about and the opportunity for MMCG to be marketed alongside the success of Tech3 is an opportunity we couldn’t turn down.
“I believe that Danny Kent has the potential to be the best British motorcycle racer of all time.”
Kent travelled to the South of France last week for the unveiling of his new Mistral 610 bike at the Tech3 headquarters. He will be the lead rider of a team which also boasts talented young Frenchman Louis Rossi.
Kent, 19, established his world title credentials when winning two of the last four Grand Prix in the Moto3 series last year in Japan and Spain, finishing fourth overall.
He returns to the scene of his last win in Valencia next week for three days of official testing.
Kent said: “The support of someone like Phil, who is not only a successful entrepreneur but a keen motorsport enthusiast, is a real confidence boost for me.”
Though currently cloaked in its black carbon fairings, Kent’s new bike will boast the Tech3 livery of blue, yellow and black on racedays.
“I will be keeping my No.52 and in the same font,” said Kent, who also explained that he is feeling fitter than ever after his sessions at the London home of Toseland.
“James is training for another tilt at the London Marathon this year so he is not just barking orders but joining in the sessions, which makes it better for me.
“He’s pretty fit for an oldie!”
Kent has been keeping his eye in by riding Mini Motos at the track in Hullavington where his journey began, but admits it has been a long winter waiting to get on his new bike.
“I can’t wait for testing next week in Valencia and also in Jerez the following week,” he said.
“This is a really important time especially with me moving into a new category. It is so important to get a good feeling from the new bike.”
The 17-race Moto2 Grand Prix series begins in Qatar in April and finishes in Spain next November.