• Tue. Jul 16th, 2024

North East Connected

Hopping Across The North East From Hub To Hub

Tuk Tuk challenge for Newcastle speedway stars

Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 21.04.21Two former Newcastle speedway stars are going on the ride of their lives to help a cause close to their hearts.

Along with their friend and ex-Diamonds mechanic Campbell Rodgerson, Adam McKinna and Jamie Robertson are travelling 1600 miles across India in a TukTuk – a motorised three-wheeled rickshaw.

They are one of 50 teams taking part in the Rickshaw Challenge. Their epic journey will take around two weeks and raise money for the Wings for Life foundation, which funds research into cures for spinal cord injuries.

Twenty-nine-year old Adam, who lives in Scotland, broke his neck racing for the Diamonds in 2010.  Despite his horrific accident, he says he is one of the fortunate ones.

“I’m the luckiest person I know who’s broken their neck.  There are no after effects and no real pain at the time.  It was just a bit of an inconvenience,” he said.

But they know plenty of people – and not just from the world of speedway – whose lives have been changed by neck and back injuries.

Jamie and Campbell grew up in Millfield in North Northumberland and went to school with mountain biker Tommy Wilkinson, who rode through Kielder Forest with Robson Green in his latest Tales from Northumberland television series.

Two years ago Tommy was seriously injured after crashing into a tree.  He fractured his skull and damaged his spinal cord but – with the aid of a robotic arm – is back on his bike.

Thirty-year-old Campbell, who runs his own marketing company in Newcastle, says his former brother-in-law fell from a roof when he was 18 and is paralysed from the waist down.

“We hope in the future injuries like this will be seen like a broken leg is now.  It’s not the end of the world.  Your life’s not changed forever,” said Adam. “That will become an option the more research they do.  But that costs money and that’s why we want to do this thing – so the answers come quicker.”

The Rickshaw Challenge starts in Jaisalmer, near the Pakistan border, and finishes in Shillong in eastern India.  “I was going to cycle around Cuba but thought it was a bit tame,” said Campbell.  There are three challenges a year.  April’s is called the Spicy One, runs at the hottest time of the year and takes the Tuk Tuks through a desert and – if a team chooses – via the Himalayas.

Adam, Campbell and Jamie are not sure which route they are going to ride, where they are going to sleep and what they will eat and drink. But they do know that they will be able to keep the Tuk Tuk running and reach the finish line to raise as much money as they can for Wings for Life.

“It doesn’t just help people get by in their suffering, it looks for ways to get them back on their feet,” said Adam.

“Anything that’s broken can be fixed. It’s just about working out how and that’s what Wings for Life does.”

The team will be providing daily updates on their progress through www.facebook.com/On-a-Tuking-Mission-869646976444833/ and donations can be made via http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/onatukingmission.

By admin