Fraser Vaughan proved he was made of tough stuff at the world championships in July, pushing through excruciating pain, refusing to give up and giving his world title defence his best shot.
The 10-year-old Pine Rivers BMX Club rider from Arana Hills crashed during practice at the 2019 Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) BMX World Championship in Belgium.
At that point, it was determined he had soft tissue damage and he was cleared to ride, if he wanted to. Putting pressure on his foot caused excruciating pain and Fraser’s mum, Stacey, says he was given the option to pull out of the competition.
Fraser says he and his dad travelled a long way and knew he was a good chance of retaining his title, so he wanted to give it a shot. “I was basically racing on one leg,” he recalls.
Unfortunately, he uses his right foot to generate power as he comes out of the gate. He was last out, but made time up on the track and managed to get two firsts and one third in the motos heats. In the 16th, he came fifth but not enough to make it past that round.
At the beginning of this year, Fraser had three goals: to be the best in Queensland, Australia and the world.
Although the world championships did not go to plan, in March he had already earned two Australian titles - the 24 inch cruiser (8-10 years) and the 20 inch bike (10 years).
And he’s now back to full strength and preparing for the state titles in Sarina from September 23-29.
Fraser’s confident he’ll do well in the 24 inch cruiser (8-10 years) and 20 inch (10 years) categories, but will be keeping a close eye on his competition.
He’s then heading to the USA BMX Grands competition in Tulsa in November, before a well-earned rest at the end of what’s been a big year. Fraser received a Moreton Bay Regional Council 2019 Australia Day Award for Youth Sports in January and was one of five riders selected by a panel to be nominated for the Sam Willoughby Medal in May.
While he didn’t win, Fraser says it was an honour to be considered and to meet his hero, Sam Willoughby. “He’s funny and happy and even though he’s in a wheelchair, he’s still happy,” Fraser says. Willoughby is one of Fraser’s heroes not only because of his skill as a rider – he’s an Olympic silver medallist and two-time BMX World Champion – but how he’s inspired those in the BMX world since his crash in 2016.
His tenacity and outlook on life continues to inspire the next generation, including Fraser, who’s training hard to be the best he can be and would love to represent Australia at an Olympic Games.
“I’m working on gates a bit because I need that to be good,” he says. “I need to get more power out of the gate and go forward.”
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