Oceanside, CA (November 10, 2008) –Ricky James, the 20-year old paraplegic from Murrieta, CA clinched the Hand-Cycle Class Championship on November 8th in the Foster Grant Ironman World Championship 70.3 Triathlon in Clearwater, Florida.
Coming off of his first-ever attempt and finish (12:44:42) of the Ford Ironman World Championship this past October 11, 2008 in Kailua-Kona, HI., Challenged Athletes Foundation's (CAF) James was determined to not only finish the race, but take the win in the Half-Ironman Championship. At the end, Ricky was less than 2 minutes off of the course record for the hand-cycle class.
Ricky will be one of the highlighted feature stories for both races, featured on NBC Sports in December and April respectively.
Ricky was well on his way to fulfilling a childhood dream of becoming a Supercross champion, when life took a drastic turn. Three years ago, at just 16 years old, he was injured in a Motocross accident on the track at one of the largest Amateur National races in the country. The blow to his T7 vertebrae left him paralyzed from his sternum down. Today at 20, he's deftly navigating the new terrain of his life.
Since the accident, James has not slowed down. Besides riding Motocross again, Ricky has competed in the Baja 500, was recently awarded a Silver Medal in the Summer X Games and has his sites focused on a 4-wheel racing career. In his first year of racing, Ricky has taken 9 out of 10 pole positions, won the Irwindale Speedway Championship and Rookie of the Year Award and closely trails the lead points within the overall West Coast Pro Truck series.
"The last month has been unbelievable…an opportunity to show young people that suffer from any form of disability that, with perseverance, anything is achievable", said James. "What a great way to finish off my Triathlon career!" Ricky half-joked. "I appreciate all the hard work everyone has put into this for me. I want to thank everyone including my parents, my trainer david Bailey, my Crew, SoCal SuperTrucks, Metal Mulisha Energy Drinks, Challenged Athletes Foundation, Oakley, Alpinestars, Shoei Helmets, Motul Lubricants, ZLT, Total Power Batteries, Certified Transmissions, PPG Paints, NBC Sports and Colours Wheelchairs.""