AFC Wimbledon are off to the Isle of Man
Leslie Carter and his wife Tina are the driving forces behind a new Isle of Man based motor racing team called AFC Motorsport, and the name is no coincidence.
Carter is a long-term AFC Wimbledon supporter and his racing team is sponsored by the vice president of the football club, Mike Richardson.
The sponsorship started in 2007 out of a friendship between Carter and Richardson and, after years of gaining the right licenses, the official AFC Motorsport launch took place at Kingsmeadow on Saturday.
“I try to go to Wimbledon a few times every year and get to the bigger games,” said Carter.
“Everybody loves Wimbledon because their story is just a fairy tale.
“There are quite a few supporters over in the Isle of Man from when they came over a few years ago and ran some coaching sessions with the kids.”
Carter’s JHS Racing Suzuki SV650 Super Twin TT spec bikes are painted in AFC Wimbledon colours and have the club’s logo on the side, having received permission from the club’s chief executive Erik Samuelson.
Despite being a small operation, AFC Motorsport are hopeful their maiden year in the Isle of Man TT will be a successful one with Ben Wylie, one of the favourites, on one of their bikes.
“When I say we are small, I mean it is me and my wife and then everyone who helps is a volunteer,” added Carter.
“But I got together with Mike and we tried to get a big name on a bike to ride for us so on one of our bikes we’ve got one of the favourites.
“I don’t want to push the boat out but Ben is good enough to get a podium.”
Carter himself races in the Manx GP, hailed as one of the most dangerous races, and will be hoping to beat his finish of 15th from last year.
However, his racing career did not get off to the most successful of starts.
“I crashed my first racing motorbike on my first meeting,” he said.
“I am not the fastest in the world but I just love the sport.
"Until you come to the Isle of Man and see a bike go past you at 200mph, well there is no other sport like it in the world.
“When you go out to race you don’t really think about the danger, it is at the back of your mind, when you start to race you just don’t think about it at all."