Taking assembly to new heights

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By Cornish Guardian | Friday, November 09, 2012, 08:00

A PROFESSIONAL mountain biker has performed for an assembly at his old school in North Cornwall.

"A few painful landings and broken bones are worth the hassle for the adrenalin rush of dirt track and slopestyle mountain biking," said Jack Gear, former-Budehaven student who visited the school last week.

Seven years after starting out in Morwenstow by messing around with his mates, Jack has turned professional. In May, he gave up his job at Bude Post Office to pursue a full-time career in the business of backflips and tailwhips.

At 15, Gear was believed to be the youngest rider in the UK to land a backflip on a mountain bike.

Now 22, and training every day, his repertoire of stunts is increasing all the time.

Dedication and daring are the keys to defying gravity.

"If you try a trick and land it first time, it's probably not that good anyway. A lot of the guys I have ridden with have crashed and given up just because it's not worth the damage.

"I have been pretty lucky, to be honest. I have broken my collarbone, my arm and fractured my spine but that's only three crashes. A lot of people have had 10 or 12 broken bones. You have to just get back on the bike before it haunts you."

Jack was first spotted at a dirt-track competition in Portreath three years ago and was offered sponsorship for a new bike. His big break came in a low-key event in Okehampton last year.

Among the impressed spectators was Andrei Burton, a cycling show promoter from Exeter, who invited him to join his team.

"Over the winter we built a ramp big enough to do some big tricks on but small enough to fit in the back of the van. In May, we started getting really busy, doing two or three shows a week – enough to leave my job."

Gear is working on new moves all the time, including the double backflip and frontflip.

The exhibition was part of a Year 7 and 8 Team Aspire programme, introduced last year as a means of developing student aspirations to achieve across all subjects.

The initiative was introduced by Mrs Denise May, MBE, and Mrs Tracey Reynolds, following a trip to Endicott College in Boston, USA, awarded in recognition of Budehaven's work in the wider community.

The students clearly enjoyed the assembly, there was a lot of cheering and gasps as Jack literally flew through the air on his bike.



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