The final chapter in BMXA’s four-part series involves a teenager and his development with the Nerang club on the Gold Coast.

A little bit older than the other riders in the series, 13-year-old Joshua Hogg joined the Nerang BMX Club in 2017 and has loved every second of his time there. What some people might not know about Joshua is that he has autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ASD/ADHD).

Joshua struggles with social interactions and communication alongside the hyperactivity and impulsivity that comes with ADHD. Autism Spectrum Australia says that when both conditions occur together, the presence of each condition amplifies the symptoms of the other.

His mother Kylie said that they had tried a wide variety of sports for Josh. Starting off with karate, then to AFL, but soon realised that team sports weren’t the best for him.

“Josh always wanted to try BMX, but my husband wasn’t too keen for reasons such as travel and cost,” Kylie said.

“We finally decided to try BMX, buying him a second hand bike which he still rides today. Since 2017, we have been at Nerang and Josh has never looked back.

“Every morning he would get up and monitor the weather to make sure training was on. He gets really upset when it isn’t on. He just lives and breathes BMX racing now.”

While the racing has been Joshua’s newfound source of delight, Kylie has been more overwhelmed by the community spirit that comes with a BMX club.

“The BMX community is fantastic. Josh had a big crash at Ashmore recently and all the mums couldn’t have been more fantastic, helping to get him in the car and checking on him,” Kylie said.

“His coach Darren (Varley) has been with him since day dot and they have a really good rapport. He knows how to talk to him and how to communicate with him. If Josh is having a bad day, Darren would just call him and talk to him. It’s great to have another male influence in his life and we couldn’t have gotten that without starting BMX.”

Due to Joshua’s disorders, his connection with the other boys in his age is somewhat limited. But as time has progressed, Joshua is becoming more comfortable with his environment and his fellow riders understand him and welcome him without a moment’s hesitation.

“He doesn’t sit very well just yet with the boys in the age group. Josh only joined two years ago, and he has only just started sitting in and listening to the other boys conversation in his age group. They all make him feel welcome and they all know some of Josh’s struggles,” Kylie explained.

“My favourite moment at Nerang was at a normal race night. It was a clubby and Josh had to race up a level because there was no one in his age group. I knew he would be really upset with that, racing against all those really good riders.

“One of the members overheard me talking about it and when the gates dropped, one of the other riders sat back and rode with Josh to the finish line. He got a real kick out of it and the beautiful teamwork on the club’s behalf was really nice to see.

“The fact that this was done without me even knowing about it was really special. That rider took it upon himself to make Josh feel welcomed, instead of competing and going for that first place himself.”

Kylie was overcome with this act of friendship. Having someone for Joshua to ride with meant the world to him and hers and it has been the cherry on the top of what has been a massive change to her son’s life.

“Another great thing the club does is acknowledge all of their riders. There was an award ceremony at the end of the last year and I told Josh not to get his hopes up,” she said.

“Mother of the year award, right?

“But Josh ended up receiving three awards last year and he was grinning from ear to ear. It’s just all the little things that the club does to make sure that everyone is appreciated, and those little things have been some of Josh’s happiest moments.

“We just love it there and its riders.

So, there you have it…

After reading about four incredibly special stories and the wonderful community environment at one club, it’s obvious the positive affects the sport of BMX, its club and its members can have.

One thing to remember – this is only ONE club!

There are countless other stories out there from every other club, just waiting to be told and we want to tell them.

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