I won’t lie to you, spectating at a Motocross track with a disability can be shit. The mud, uneven terrain, ignorance of those around you is more stress to the brain than a lapped rider. In fact, that’s not a bad comparison note.. people stand in front of you without acknowledging you are there. Unaware you cant see above their ass/waist area, nor can you just take a step left or right to get around the issue – like a lapped rider cross rutting all over the shot, knowing full well they’ve ruined your day and an inner hatred you’ve never met appears from nowhere.
So how do you go about making the situation easier?
For starters, a regular wheelchair is an absolute nightmare to get about on. The front wheels dig into anything soft, or not level. You could sit inside a car all day but you’ll still get those ignorant lappers stand in the way of your viewing. Nor is it any good if you (like myself) enjoy socialising and being close to the bikes.
Now, i’ve broken down some equipment you could use, including what i use plus trials and errors i’ve encountered.
1. A large front wheel that connects to the front of your wheelchair. Or as an example, this;
It’ll get rid of the 2 small front wheels digging in and pushing you forward from those sudden shunts. But it wont stop the bumpy ride on your spine, or exhaustion pushing yourself around.
2. Moutain Trike.
One hell of a piece of kit created by Tim Morgan. Tim kindly let me try a ‘prototype’ back in 2011 when i attended my first MXGP since injury. Straight away the thing completely stopped any issues getting about. Like a mountain bike, there are no limits only yourself. Plus, the attention it got from the public and the worlds best riders in GP’s, it certainly played a good part of looking good. The 3 shocks support any rough sections you will face. Plus clean hands!
You can also attach your personal cushion from your wheelchair on the seating area.
Now, if you have slight restriction in your arms like myself. Pushing a chair is a massive struggle.
However, Mountain trike also have an electric version. They can also supply a pushing accessory for others to help you in sticky situations, a long uphill for example, a common occurrence on natural circuits.
3. Sterling Sapphire.
If you are unable to rent/purchase the exotic Mountain Trike, I advise a mobility scooter – the mighty Sterling Sapphire.
This is what I use, I’ve used a few different mobility scooters all different sizes, and these I’ve found the most robust, easy to use, cheap and incredibly good at getting around in. I’ve been through the deepest of mud and horrendous conditions. I once even had 3 guys pick me up whilst i’m sat on it and charioted over the slush until it wasn’t too extreme. There isn’t much of a swaying motion either over bumps, it’s just short shunt rather than that long swaying feeling like you’re on a boat.
You can get these cheap second hand, and you won’t have to worry much scratching or damaging it. You may also find one at your nearest British Red Cross store, you just make a donation for a great cause (but don’t be a tight sod).
4. A quad.
Some events allow disabled spectators to use a quad or a small off road vehicle to get around. This does not mean you can go fast and race the pit area like an idiot though!
Be sure to have your blue badge on show stuck somewhere easily visible for everyone to see and respect the public. It’s very easy to get stressed in a wheelchair, scooter when people step in front of you whilst you’re moving (I’ve ran over multiple people over the years) so be mature, and drive slow.
What about viewing?
Not all circuits and club events have a wheelchair accessible platform. You can get in contact with the organiser and they’ll happily let you park close to the circuit and help with any other help or assistance you may need.
So what can you do if you have no viewing platform for viewing?
Well in short.. Face the circuit at a 45 degree angle. Don’t face it face on because you’ll have ‘tunnel vision’ with spectators crowding either side or you. At 45 degrees you’ll have what’s in front and on the side to view a larger proportion of the racing. You do get the odd ignorant idiot who leans over or leans on your chair. But you certainly get a much more enjoyable day watching the greatest sport on the planet!