Leading the Dash

For many across the Northern hemisphere, June with its long days and warm temperatures is the perfect time to get some longer rides ticked off, spending a bit more time on the bike and perhaps giving your legs a greater test than they’re used to. For CHPT3’s Commercial Director, Peter Denton, even his usually high mileage is about to be pushed beyond the norm as he prepares to support the Duchenne Dash on a 1,500km ride from London to Paris and on to Biarritz in support of the charities work in the development of treatments and a cure for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. 

Having previously spent 5 years as Head of Maserati North Europe, a brand that connected the dots of common interests among cyclists, forming a new audience for the car brand, Peter initiated the relationship with David Millar as their brand’s ambassador for cycling. It was, at the time, a pioneering partnership for a luxury car brand, but one which ultimately saw great success and was based on a simple premise: “If style and cycling are connected then surely, style extends to the car that the cyclist chooses and what’s more stylish than a Maserati?”.

So how does this career path result in captaining a 20-strong group through the Pyrenees for charity? Back in 2016 during a ride, Peter met with Will Pearson, Co-owner of the UK’s oldest cycling shop, Pearson Cycles. Will, a supporter of Duchenne UK for a number of years, took it upon himself to introduce Peter to the charity, aware that they were looking for a car sponsor to help escort riders from London to Paris for their annual ride. After meeting the charity principal, Emily Crossley, who explained the value to the charity of having vehicle support, Maserati quickly became involved. Although no longer with Maserati, of course, Peter has continued to support Duchenne UK, guiding a group of the fund-raising riders to Paris and beyond.

The Duchenne Dash and the Max are two quite different events. One is a 24-hour push from London to Paris, where the ride captains help to control a large group and keep them safe, at times physically pushing the riders up the steeper hills, but mostly keeping them motivated to get to the finish and raise all the money possible for this very worthy charity.  For the Max the group size reduces drastically. Peter will help as one of the leaders in ensuring every rider gets through the 8-day ride, setting a comfortable pace – as comfortable a pace as possible up climbs such as the Col de Tourmalet, Hautacam and Col d’Aubisque. Keeping everyone safe and happy with a share of the load will be the priority, but the charity has to end somewhere and for Peter, that’s with his pot of chamois cream, “there’ll be no double dipping!”. 

Duchenne UK

Whilst the riding may be tough at times, it's entirely uncomparable to the difficulties that at least two families a week in the UK go through upon receiving the news that their sons have Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. A devastating muscle-wasting disease that mainly affects boys, there is currently no treatment or cure and the 2,500 boys affected by it in the UK will be totally paralysed by their teens and won’t live beyond their 20s. 

The charity co-founders, Alex Johnson and Emily Crossley, met after their sons were diagnosed and are committed to driving momentum to deliver treatments to help this generation of those with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. In 5 years, Duchenne UK has spent £6.5m and committed £3.5m to fund and accelerate research.

The Duchenne Dash and Max help enormously in the progression of this vital work, if you'd like to support, please do so by making a donation here.

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