Will is 18. He lives in Exmouth Devon with his mum dad his 2 brothers and sister. On the face of it- he's just a normal teenager who wants to learn to drive and go to concerts and festivals. Will however has an extraordinary talent - he can cycle really fast! He started riding at the age of 8 months on his trundle car and by the age of 2 was executing 360 degree turns on his "bunnie-bike". He entered his first off road cycling comp when he was 3 and started riding Cycle Speedway at about 6 years old. By the time he was 8 he was National Champion at Speedway and at 14 years old he held the title 6 times.
In 2012 Will and family visited the Olympics where his dad was lifeguarding. He was inspired.
He moved on and went on his first road race in 2012/3 getting the race number 1066.
Following the purchase of his first carbon bike Will moved into regional and then national road racing supplementing his needs by borrowing kit.
The Westcountry is not know for its premium cycling, but Will was lucky enough to be spotted by ex-patriate Yorkshireman Brandon Ellis from Chard Wheelers. He helped Will by coaching him and lending him kit to compete in the Velodrome. The nearest Velodrome was 100 miles away in Newport. Will was taken there by his family, to train. In 2015 got selected for the School Games.
He was then "seen" by the coaches and was offered the GB apprenticeship scheme for athletes and obtained some funding support from Sports Aid.
He is now a mentor for Sports Aid.
In 2016 Will obtained a coveted place on the Elite GB Olympic Development Squad as a Junior rider.
Will also became National Points Champion and currently holds the trophy previously won by Bradley Wiggins in 1995.
In 2017 he was the only first year to be asked to compete in the European Track Champioships for Team GB.
He scored a 4th and a 3rd , but was later dis-qualified for "aggressive" riding.
Unfortunately- the margins between winning and loosing in cycling are often very small - yes there are 3 riders in this finish-shot. (piccy below).
Will has to train alone or compete against adults to gain experience and ability. The South-West does not have a huge cycling history, despite a great cycling environment. Most races, like the Velodromes, are nearer to Manchester or Yorkshire than Devon. In late 2017 he and his partner Ethan broke the U23 500m Track record in Gent Belgium and followed that with a Bronze in the National (Adult) Track Championships in December 2017.
In 2017 Will and his dad covered 32,000 miles attending cycling events. The cost of the diesel alone was circa £5000.
Will is in a team, who supply him with a road bike, but until a week ago he was still riding a £400 track bike bought off ebay. He was lucky enough to be given a wheel sponsorship by Craig & Chrissie Morgan for carbon wheels- which arrived just in time to use in European Champs in August 2017. These wheels will see plenty of action at the Junior Track World Championships in Aigle Switzerland.
Will was given a £500 grant from Exmouth Round Table which he put towards a Time Trial bike for 3 day Events. The first event is always a dedicated point to point speed race, but Will is at a point where not having the kit holds him back from performing at the best of his ability and winning the yellow (leading) jersey. His bike is currently written off and whilst away we are buying and building him a new one.
See the Video of the last part of the crash of Will with no rear wheel sliding at 50 kmh on Will's facebook page:
Will and his dad attend most events in their old VW van living in it "surf-style" they cook, make their own coffee, rest and carry bike-kit from place to place. "We do it on the cheap, because we have to ". The VW is now needing major work, so it has been replaced with a loan car provided by Ian Cudd of Autosave an old Citroen diesel estate.
The money Will's cycling consumes in entry fees, kit, clothing, bikes and fuel can easily top £16,000 per annum (even doing it on the cheap). Bikes cost upwards of £5000 and wheels £2000 a set. Each crash generally costs an estimated £3-500 and some lost skin!
Will wins Cicle Classic Road Race 2017( see piccy).
When talking to a professor friend about Aero- measuring he suggested to me that we should Crowd-fund Will. This does not sit that easy with his family BUT reluctantly we set about creating this Crowdfunder. We believe that he is worthy , has the potential to become a great cyclist, who could represent us in the 2024 Olympics in Paris.
SO if you want to help Will in any way by either sharing this or pledging funding to his Crowd-funder then you have our gratitude.
Thank you for helping Will realise his potential!
Will is at the Junior Track Worlds now SO - please give £5 or £10 with your wishes he hopes to bring back a World Championship Medal/s.
if you don't have any spare money ..... then join in by leaving him your best wishes on his facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/WillTidball1066/?ref=br_rs
Thank you for reading this- tids!