University student on a roll promoting wheelchair sport

Published 18 September 2018
Timothy Lachlan OT student OT student and WCMX athlete Timothy Lachlan

He was the first Australian to land a wheelchair backflip, and now Southern Cross University student Timothy Lachlan is inspiring others to embrace the action sport of Wheelchair Motocross (WCMX).

Aged just 21, Timothy has travelled the world showcasing his wheelchair skating skills, inspiring others to take up the adrenaline-pumping sport.

Now, alongside his second-year Occupational Therapy studies at Southern Cross University Gold Coast campus, Timothy is stoked to be ‘rolling out’ his own not-for-profit organisation, WCMX and Adaptive Skate Australia.

This week he will travel to the NSW Central Coast to present and raise the profile of WCMX at Sportfest 2018 in Bateau Bay. Timothy has already competed in the US at a Venice Beach adaptive skate comp and hosted workshops around Australia from Perth to Sydney.

“I started going to the skate park early on in high school and I loved being able to clear my head and cruise with the flow of the skate bowl,” he said.

“My first major stack was in a clunky hospital wheelchair I was using, when I attempted a 12-foot drop-in and ended up snapping the chair – I’m just lucky it was the chair and not me! Since then I’ve been using a custom-built WCMX chair with suspension, cross-bracing and carbon fibre wheels which suits the sport way better. And of course, like any extreme sport, it takes a lot of safety gear and a lot of practice.

“When I was younger I met Wheelz (Aaron Fotheringham) from Nitro Circus and was starstruck, I thought it was so cool what he could do. He told me that practice is key and to get out there and have fun with it, and now I am the one saying that to other people.

“The skills WCMX has taught me have helped me greatly in everyday mobility, I can get up and down curbs, stairs and steep ramps. The main reason I host workshops and meet ups is to teach others these transferable skills.”

Timothy has used crutches and a wheelchair since the age of 14 as a result of a combination of low muscle tone and joint hypermobility from the waist down.

During high school, Timothy was told he wasn’t the right fit for university and not to bother aiming for a university entry score in grade 12. He proved the naysayers wrong following a lightbulb moment during a careers information session when a Southern Cross University representative explained the award-winning Preparing for Success Program as an alternative university pathway.

Timothy had seen firsthand the lack of support his parents received in assisting his younger sister with nonverbal autism and decided to pursue a career in Occupational Therapy to help others in similar circumstances. He is currently completing his Vocational Readiness placement with the Careers and Employability team at Southern Cross University’s Gold Coast Campus and is expected to graduate in 2020.

Timothy’s other sporting endeavours this year include representing Southern Cross University in the Byron Ocean Swim and in the 5.7km event at the Gold Coast Marathon in his wheelchair. He also volunteered as part of the University Sports Crew during Orientation for new students.

Media contact: Jessica Nelson or 0417288794