Former racing cyclist Dan Ellmore is not only steering a multi-pronged company which trades in both digital marketing and sportswear under the same umbrella, but he’s also this year climbing onto the saddle of one of the biggest names in British cycling event history.
The very recently married 42-year-old dad of two says that while he has always been zealous, his business career has been equally balanced with the pleasures of sporting and family life. Now the CEO of consultancy, technology and clothing enterprise Ellmore Group in Lincoln, Dan juggles the organisation of iconic British Cycling events and an ever-growing branding and marketing client base – while making his own mark in the road racing game.
After a childhood spent in the south of Lincoln, and a Saturday job working at Brian Spurr’s DIY shop in the city, Dan ventured off to De Montfort University in Leicester to study a degree in building surveying. “Leicester was so unlike Lincoln in so many different ways,” said Dan. “I knew before my final year in 1994 that I didn’t want to be a building surveyor. I was a pretty serious cyclist, and that played a big part in me changing my mind and coming back to Lincoln.”
This feature interview was first published in issue 38 of the Lincolnshire Business weekly magazine, now available to read at www.lincsbusiness.co. Subscribe to the email newsletter to receive the latest edition in your inbox this Friday.
While competitions were becoming more of a draw than his studies he decided to give some of today’s most iconic names a run for their money. “I ended up riding the Lincoln Grand Prix four times. I got to the point where, in road racing, I was riding the premier calendar series and I also got a bronze medal in the British Championships on the velodrome at Manchester.
“I rode in the Madison Championship and the winning pair were Bradley Wiggins and Rob Hayles, and Russell Downing was second with his partner (he’s won the Lincoln Grand Prix four times, Bradley Wiggins has won the Tour de France and Olympian Rob Hayles. They were all young and getting faster, but I think that’s about the point where I was going as quick as I could.”
Dan attributes his passion for cycling, and introduction to business, to his father Ronald, who founded sports clothing company Impsport in 1971 alongside neighbour Alan Wright (whose eldest son Ian eventually made it as a professional for Great Britain) and British Telecom colleague at the time, Ian Emmerson (OBE).
“Dad and Ian worked together at British Telecom on Broadgate in Lincoln,” he explained. “They both loved their cycling and saw a big gap in the market for race clothing, and that’s how Impsport was formed.”
The company, which grew to be the UK’s largest manufacturer of custom cycling and athletics clothing for a number of different professional sports, became a stepping stool for Dan after graduating university and facing a crossroads in his cycling career. “My dad was about three years from retirement and he said to me, ‘you’re already a cyclist racing up and down the country for a sponsored team and the next best thing to being a full time bike rider would be to talk about bike riding all day’. I’d got inside knowledge of the kinds of teams and professionals we’d be dealing with, and of course it didn’t seem like work when it’s your passion. So I was sold.”
The full cover interview with Dan Ellmore is available to read in full here. Look out for the next edition of Lincolnshire Business magazine, which is published every Friday.