The UK’s top wheelchair motocross athlete Preston's Tomas Woods signs sponsorship deal with A-Plan Preston

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Preston's Tomas Woods has signed the deal with insurance brokerage A-Plan Preston.

The UK’s top wheelchair motocross athlete has signed a lucrative sponsorship deal enabling him to compete on the world stage amongst the sport’s greatest athletes.

Preston's Tomas Woods has signed the deal with insurance brokerage A-Plan Preston.

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Combining BMX and skateboarding tricks, WCMX sees competitors ride their wheelchairs across a skatepark, reaching speeds of 25mph, hurtling down ramps to land jumps and flips.

At just 14, Tomas has won podium positions across Europe, and placed 4 th in the World Championships in California last year. He has even been promoted from the junior to the men’s category based on his impressive skillset.

Preston's Tom Woods handplantPreston's Tom Woods handplant
Preston's Tom Woods handplant | nw

Now, with sponsorship worth £7,000 from A-Plan Insurance boosting Tomas’ competition plans, he is inspiring others to take up the sport and raising the profile of WCMX in the UK by getting more wheelchairs installed at skate parks across the country – the biggest barrier to entry.

Fresh off a first-place finish in Switzerland, Tomas said: “While WCMX is the biggest disability sport in parts of Europe and in America, there’s less awareness in the UK, and overall, it’s still developing as a sport.

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“I’d like to thank A-Plan, who have been an amazing sponsor and given me their full support, helping me to make a positive impact in the WCMX community and transform the perception of disability sports in the UK and across the globe.”

Tom Woods at A-Plan with his parents Joanna and Terry and Branch Manager Jaime HarperTom Woods at A-Plan with his parents Joanna and Terry and Branch Manager Jaime Harper
Tom Woods at A-Plan with his parents Joanna and Terry and Branch Manager Jaime Harper | nw

Tomas took to WCMX after receiving a diagnosis of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS), a connective tissue disorder that causes joint instability, chronic pain, fatigue, fragile skin. He also has issues with his internal organs, causing dizziness, heart palpitations and digestive disorders, and struggles with an upper body muscle weakness and hand tremor.

He began trying to learn how to do wheelies and other tricks in his NHS-issued chair, watching YouTube tutorials. Soon, he was racing up and down the bowl at Graystone Action Sports, landing tricks that had taken other people years to master. He’s now the first in the UK to land a full hand plant and has ambitions to set the record for the longest rail grind.

Tom Woods in competitionTom Woods in competition
Tom Woods in competition |

A-Plan Preston Branch Manager Jamie Harper said: “Tomas is an incredible young man; not only is he a leading athlete, but he is also paving the way for wheelchair motocross in the UK. It’s an underrepresented sport, and it will take determination to get WCMX the recognition it deserves – but from the way Tomas pushes boundaries with his tricks, we’ve no doubt he’s the man for the task! We’re proud to give our full support to Tomas and his family and can’t wait to see him go from strength to strength.”

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Since Tomas began competing, WCMX has become a family affair, with his parents Joanna and Terry accompanying him and helping to develop international connections, including wheelchair designer Tom Finch.

Together, through Tomas’ rigorous testing at the skatepark, they develop new parts and systems for wheelchair athletes.

With tyres costing around £70 each, and a replacement wheel priced at £400, WCMX can come with significant expenses. Gloves alone are £25 a pair and can last as little as two days due to intense wear and tear, while top-end chairs can reach £12,000.

Tom WoodsTom Woods
Tom Woods | NW

Joanna Woods, Tomas’ mum, said: “There are plenty of challenges, including the price of equipment, having to travel to Salford to reach an accessible skatepark for Tomas, and the cost of competing abroad. But it’s all worth it to see Tomas achieve so much, pursuing his goals as an athlete and as an entrepreneur.”

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Said Tomas: “I’m looking forward to competing at the World Championships again at the end of this year, in America, and it would be great to get as much coverage as possible, to drive WCMX to the same level as similar sports.

“If we can get even more people involved at a local level, improving wheelchair accessibility at skateparks in the UK, I’m confident that we can inspire a new generation of WCMX athletes and perhaps even form our own Team GB in due course!”

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