Not for Profit

Downhill mountain bike racer Reed, 13, hopes to hit new heights with the help of £1,000 grant

By Andrew Diprose [email protected]

Published: June 18, 2024 | Updated: 17th June 2024

Downhill mountain bike racer Reed Darley is planning to take on the best in the world with the help of a grant from Dorset Community Foundation.

The 13-year-old is already in the UK’s top ten among his age group.

He’s set his sights on representing his country in world cup races around the globe in the hair-raising sport that involves hurtling down mountain sides at more than 40mph.

Reed, pictured left, who lives in Ferndown, has been awarded £1,000 from the foundation’s Lord Lieutenant’s Fund for Young and Talented, which is also supported by Wimborne engineering company Superior Seals.

The fund awards grants of up to £1,000 towards costs that might prevent youngsters from making the most of their natural ability.

This year it has awarded a total of more than £11,000 to 15 young sports people.

The Ferndown Middle School pupil and parents Louisa and Mark will use the grant to help towards a new specialist downhill racing bike, which will cost more than £2,000, as well as travel, entry fees, clothing and equipment.

Reed, who has been racing bikes since he was nine, has to travel all over England and Wales to take part in regional and national events.

He said: “You get a lot of adrenalin before the start and you’re so nervous at the top

“But once you get off the start gate, it’s kind of all right. I still talk to myself when I’m going down to help me concentrate but it’s good.”

Mum Louisa added: “He just loves it and he has always had a natural flair for racing bike.

“The courses are incredibly steep and although it takes them just three minutes to race down, it takes us an hour to walk it.

“It’s crazy, but it’s great.

“It’s what he loves and we support him a hundred per cent.”

The sport’s dangerous side was brought home to the family when Reed took a major tumble during a race in Wales recently.

He said: “My front wheel slipped on a bank and I went straight on to my head.

“I was annoyed when I found out I had been three seconds ahead at that point.”

Louisa added: “The medics brought him down so it wasn’t too good, he bashed his head and he had a sore neck but he passed the concussion tests.

“It’s the negative side of racing but he has all the protective gear and he is very confident at what he does, and of course there are risks with every sport.”

The family found out about the foundation’s fund through a magazine article. “We applied and were over the moon that Reed had been chosen,” said Louisa.

Reed added: “It’s amazing and it’ll make a lot of difference. It will help my mum and dad pay off the new downhill bike for me and also with getting more tyres and paying for my race entries.”

Grant Robson, Dorset Community Foundation Chief Executive, said: “Reed is one of the youngest beneficiaries of the fund but we recognised both his talent and his determination.

“The whole ethos of the fund is to allow young people to fulfil their potential when there are financial barriers in their way and this is a perfect example.

“We will watch his progress with interest.”

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