For the past twelve months, Andrew Gadd has been busy learning the ropes of recruitment consultancy at Driver Hire’s Manchester West office. At the same time he’s been training three days out of five to become a champion racing cyclist. It’s paid off; Andrew recently won the British Cycling’s Men’s Cycling Award for 2018/19.
What makes his achievement even more impressive is that just a couple of years ago he was told he’d never be able to ride a two wheeler racing bike.
“Andrew is one of twins,” says his mum, Monique Gadd, who along with partner Glenn Knight, is joint owner of Driver Hire Manchester West. “They were born at 26-weeks during my pregnancy and were barely formed. It’s a miracle they made it. As a result of the premature birth, Andrew has cerebral palsy. It’s not affected him intellectually, but has left him with gait problems.”
It clearly doesn’t affect him on the bike! Racing against able-bodied riders, Andrew was 3rd, 2nd and 1st in a series of circuit races and a time trial, averaging 20kph. With points on offer for each race, Andrew collected enough to be the overall victor.
Andrew comments: “I was born in South Africa where I raced on a trike. I’m naturally competitive and love the freedom of riding and racing on a bike. When I came to the UK there weren’t any similar opportunities to compete. Then I met a coach who assessed me; he told me he saw no reason why I shouldn’t be able to ride a two wheeler. It took me about eight months to master it. It’s incredible to be racing again.”
Held back by a few bouts of winter coughs and colds, Andrew is now working hard for the forthcoming summer racing season; his first event is in April. Longer-term, he’d love his results to come to the attention of the selectors for the GB Paralympian team. Representing Britain is his ultimate goal.