A testimonial from his club president has earned a Cambridge 17-year-old a gleaming trophy.
Stephen Wallace has been riding at the BMX track in Cambridge for 10 years.
“This rider helps remind us that BMX is for people of all walks of life. Where you finish in a race isn’t important at the end of the day; life is for having fun,” wrote Alan Hunt.
He said Stephen would merrily find his way around the track, lifting his front wheel and jumping – and finishing at the tail of the field.
But such was the generosity of his competitors, it was quite normal for him to win one race during a meet.
Stephen, a student at Cambridge High School, has Down Syndrome, and last month he was awarded the Paul Fisher Trophy for sportsmanship.
The trophy, presented in the memory of a young rider, attracts nominations from throughout the district. It was awarded to Stephen at the recent Waikato regional championships.
“Stephen started riding at seven years old and we didn’t think he’d be able to compete racing with other riders, but over the years he has proven us wrong, his love for the sport and the comradery has inspired others,” proud mum Christine, a learning assistant at Cambridge East school said.
“The club has been so welcoming and encompassing – they are like a second family,”
In nominating a member for the award, applicants are asked to avoid identifying age and gender – so the decision on who should receive the award is not influenced.
“This rider has stayed close to home, with the Waikato Region Champs being a favourite event,” Alan Hunt wrote.
“One trip further afield was to the Aims Games when they were at intermediate school. That experience provided one of the highlights of their career as they were awarded the sportsmanship award for the BMX event, got to do a lap with some New Zealand’s elite riders and their school won the teams racing.
“This person loves animals and regularly rides horses. Their other favourite sport is basketball because they love the comradery of a group, just like hanging out between races with their mates and being cheeky in staging.”