Marine Staff Sergeant Jack Pierce of San Antonio, Texas, is the winner of MobilityWorks “Nominate Your Hero” essay contest. Pierce, who was left paralyzed after serving in Afghanistan, won a $50,000 wheelchair-accessible trike called the Mobility Conquest.
Marine Staff Sergeant Jack Pierce being congratulated as he finds out he's the winner of the Conquest.
MobilityWorks is the parent company of Mobility Conquest, the only production motorcycle built specifically for paraplegic riders. The “Nominate Your Hero” competition was a monthlong essay contest inviting individuals to nominate paraplegic motorcycle and trike riders.
The Mobility Conquest, a purpose built three-wheeler for individuals who use a wheelchair.
Pierce was chosen from more than 50 applicants and announced as the winner during a special event at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in mid-August. A large crowd of bikers and supporters were on hand to witness the event and cheer for the three finalists.
“It was a very hard decision because there were so many deserving people doing really extraordinary things to help other people in wheelchairs. They were all heroes, and I wish we could have given 50 Conquests away,” said Bill Koeblitz, president and CEO of MobilityWorks.
Marine Staff Sergeant Jack Pierce (right) on a ride with a MobilityWorks trike the day before he found out he was the winner.
Pierce was injured in January 2010 while doing humanitarian work in the Helmand province of Afghanistan. His vehicle was hit by an estimated 200-pound IED. The bomb was command-detonated, meaning the Taliban had targeted his six-vehicle convoy. There were eight people in his vehicle, and two of them—BBC reporter Rupert J. Hamer and armory technician Mark A. Juarez—didn’t survive the blast. All six others were severely injured, including Pierce, who was permanently paralyzed from the rib cage down. "We know we found a real hero in Jack Pierce,” said Koeblitz.
The Conquest starts out as a new 1170cc BMW 1200 R with the back end cut off. The Conquest is a patented design that originated in England (known as the Martin Conquest there). MobilityWorks purchased the rights to build it in the U.S. and eventually bought the patent.
The Conquest is a production-made trike. MobilityWorks doesn’t sell or install any kits. The frame is welded aluminum that is built in MobilityWorks manufacturing facility in Akron, Ohio. The back half is designed after a formula one race car with a differential, 17-inch alloy wheels and disc brakes. It’s has 6 speeds, a conventional clutch with a semi-automatic Kliktronic thumb operated gear changer. It can go 0 to 60 mph in 7.6 seconds. All the company's handicap accessible trikes come with a reverse gear for ease of maneuverability and parking.
The wheelchair driver enters via a push-button automated ramp on the back end. The driver is secured in their wheelchair by a locking mechanism on the floor with a push-button release. A small fold-out seat on the inside of the wheelchair ramp accommodates a passenger.
According to a spokesperson for the company, there are about 20 Conquests in stock at a dozen dealers around the country and another 10 or so in production at their manufacturing facility. For more information, visit MobilityConquest.com.