Freedom on two wheels
PUBLISHED: 12:00 14 September 2015
Laura Bocking, a student at Easton and Otley College, doesn't let anything stop her living life to the full, as John Nice reports.
Seventeen-year-old Laura Bocking, from Sprowston, was born with hearing difficulties but has not let this affect the way she leads her life. In fact it’s the exact opposite. She currently studies at Easton and Otley College on a vocational studies course and eventually aims to work with children. She also has an unusual hobby, as she explains:
“College has been good for me. It’s helped me gain in confidence and I’ve improved my basic skills in English and maths.
I’ve enjoyed it here and made some new friends. I’m interested in public services so I’ve been involved in crime scene forensics sessions and a mock terrorist attack to get a sense of the kind of situations I may find myself in if I was to pursue a career in this field.
But my passion is for motorbikes. I first had a go on a bike at the age of 11. My dad Glen used to be into speedway and this is where my passion for Motocross came from.
Since starting out, I’ve competed at tournaments all over the UK - travelling as far north as Yorkshire. My dream would be to compete abroad - the problem is that it’s so expensive.
So far, I’ve won 32 trophies and I currently ride a bike with a 250cc engine. The top speed is up to 45mph and I love it. It’s such a great sport. You compete against about seven or eight riders at any one time and I’m mostly up against boys. I love to beat boys, although the main thing is just to win.
My little sister Leane is 12 and she got a quad bike for Christmas - so the interest is in all of our family. It can be dangerous, of course, and I’ve had a few crashes - no broken bones thankfully, but I’ve hurt my leg and hip before. It comes with the territory though and it’s part of the sport.
My hero is Ashley Fiolek. She grew up in a tough area of the USA, taught herself all there is to know about engines and then became a world champion in Motocross. She has had some nasty injuries so she has retired now, but she goes around helping young people from deprived backgrounds get interested in the sport. I’d love to be able to do something like Ashley.
Away from the track, I just love sport. I play, cricket, football and I’ve tried flowboarding, snowboarding and Zumba. I’m not a tomboy though - I like do girl things with my friends like shopping and I’m into my make-up. My friends are really supportive - they don’t think I’m mad, they are happy because I am happy.
When I’m riding I just feel free. I can’t hear anything at all. It’s pretty much silent apart from the vibrations. Because I can’t hear anything it just makes me want to go faster - I take it as a positive.”
Laura received a prize at this year’s annual student celebration event for being the top student in her class. Gill Mansbridge is Laura’s “communicator” and works with her every day. She says: “Laura is a dream student. She works hard and has come on in leaps and bounds this year. She helps others in class and this has helped reinforce her learning. Through her work ethic and sporting prowess, she is also an inspiration to others.”