Aaron “Wheelz” Fotheringham is to adrenalin-filled action sports what Oscar Pistorius is to sprinting. You may think it’s impossible for a wheelchair to jump a 50-foot BMX ramp, but Wheelz has proved his can, and he packed in crowds across Europe with the Nitro Circus.
In a moment that keeps spectators on the edge of their seats, Wheelz takes a 50-foot ramp that has a 40-foot gap to its landing zone. Not only does he accomplish this feat, but he also does a jaw-dropping double flip, all while seated in his wheelchair. The ramp is the biggest of the ramps in the show, and one that very few BMX riders will dare to tackle.
The Nitro Circus gathers the best of the best BMX, motocross, and skateboard riders in a traveling show full of jumps, tricks, and flips. They even have a madcap division where riders showcase their talents riding toy Barbie cars, shopping carts, and beer coolers. There really is something for everyone in these death-defying shows.
According to the show’s founder, Travis Pastrana, Wheelz is the “fulcrum” of the show. When he climbs the five-story ramp, known as Gigant-A, the crowd gets on its feet to cheer him on.
“Wheelz is a unicorn,” says Pastrana. “He’s one of a kind.”
Wheelz was diagnosed with spina bifida as an infant and, after many failed attempts to surgically align his hips, he was given a wheelchair. His older brother was the skateboard rider who took him to his first ramp.
“I never thought it would turn into this,” said Wheelz in a Vegas drawl, while warming up for the Nitro tour event in London earlier this year.
“My reality has been way better than my dreams,” he continued. “My dreams are trying to catch up with my reality.”
Wheelz is currently touring Australia, and the Nitro Circus will be coming to the US in January 2014, so look for them in your neck of the woods should they roll (or fly) your way!
And you can learn more about Aaron “Wheelz” Fotheringham by watching the videos here, visiting his website, or reading our other stories:
- World’s First Wheelchair Double Backflip by Aaron Fotheringham
- Aaron Fotheringham Knows Extreme Wheelchair Sports