Race a family affair for ex-football star

Steve and Kyle Gardner (father and son)'Doncaster, South Yorkshire'Taking part in round the world yacht race
Steve and Kyle Gardner (father and son)'Doncaster, South Yorkshire'Taking part in round the world yacht race
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A FORMER football star is taking time out of his job in charge of a Doncaster business to take his son on a round-the-world yacht race.

Tickhill property business manager Steve Gardner has signed up along with son Kyle to crew the clipper Welcome to Yorkshire - England’s only entrant - in the Clipper 2011-12 Round-the-World Yacht race.

Steve, aged 53, and 23-year-old property developer Kyle, who was born in Sweden, will be aboard for three stages of the race.

They will log 12,500 miles on their stretch of the course. Their legs will see them race from Cape Town to Australia before continuing on to New Zealand before returning for the final leg of the race.

Steve said: “I’ve not got much experience of sailing, but I love a challenge. Kyle did a lot of sailing at school. We saw the race advertised and I said, ‘Shall we do it, son?’.

“They have put us through quite a bit of training, and we’re ready for the off in September.

“I think I’m most looking forward to sailing across the southern ocean from Cape Town in South Africa to Australia.

“It is a month at sea without seeing land. People who have been over there on container ships have told me I must be mad!”

Kyle added: “The Clipper Race is the experience of a lifetime.”

The 68ft yacht, Welcome to Yorkshire, is described as being on a global marketing mission to raise the profile of the county on its eight-leg, 40,000 mile world tour.

The project will build on the impact of its predecessor Hull and Humber which took part in the last two Clipper races.

Yorkshire’s involvement was unveiled at Whitby. A total off 11 members of crew, including Steve and Kyle, joined Welcome to Yorkshire on board the replica of Cook’s boat the Bark Endeavour for the launch.

The race starts from Southampton on Sunday, July 31, with the first leg taking the crew to Rio de Janeiro via Madeira.

Steve is a former professional footballer who started his career as a trainee at Ipswich Town under Bobby Robson, and went on to play all over the world as a professional footballer in the 1970s and 1980s.

Travelling was never a problem for him in his playing days - his clubs included Oldham, IFK Göteborg in Sweden, and the Dallas Sidekicks in America.

He played in the UEFA Cup for Göteborg in the season they won the competition, but left to play in America before the quarter final, because the pay was better.