For the love of dirt 

Pemberton Track Bike Jam returns

Back by popular demand, the Pemberton Bike Park Club is hosting its second annual Pemberton Track Bike Jam on June 8.

Last year’s dirt track revival event, a fund-raiser to purchase a water pump to maintain the track, surpassed the organizers’ wildest expectations as an estimated 550 people descended on the track to participate or watch the action.

This year there are three events on the schedule, including a short but intense cross country race through the woods on a new course adjoining the track; a dual eliminator on the biker cross course that pits heavy freeride bikes against hardtails and BMX’s; and a dirt jump competition featuring some of the top riders in the area.

Last year the event attracted some of the top names in the sport, including Bob Holiday, Chris Donahue, Gareth Dyer, Kelly Walters, Mar Abdel-Al, Gray Rodier, Chad Onyschuk, Cory Leclerk and Thomas Vanderham. The youngest competitor was four and the oldest 65.

Since registration is on race day, organizer Ryan Bowland doesn’t know who or what to expect at this year’s event.

"It’s kind of scary. Last year we expected 100, maybe 200 people and we got over 500. This year there are a few other events going on at the same time and some people are telling me it might not be as busy, while others are telling me to expect a thousand."

A number of top local photographers and videographers came out for the event, including Ambrose Weigart, Blake Jorgensen, Bonny Makarewicz, Dano, Waylon Edwards and Dagan. Once again the event will be wide open for photographers and videographers.

This year Bowland and his partners are using the Bike Jam to draw attention to the facility, the club, and the opportunities to take clinics at the site.

A number of sponsors have already signed on, including headline sponsor Evolution, and Balfa, Whistler Music, Core Rat, Whistler Taxi Ltd., Bikrams Neoalpine Yoga, Ride On, The Love Nest, Splitz Grill, and iparaglide.com. A few bike frames are among the prizes offered to competitors, and there will be draw prizes and swag for the kids who come out and watch.

Local DJ’s will once be on hand to get the crowd and the athletes going.

The cost is $20 for competitors, which is good for all three events, or $10 for spectators. The Pemberton Bike Park is located at 7326 Clover Road. It’s on private property and no dogs are allowed.

Competitor registration takes place between 10 a.m. and noon, and the cross country event will start soon afterwards.

"It should be a great event, I just hope it doesn’t rain this year," said Bowland. "There was a monsoon before last year’s event and we spent about six hours shovelling the mud off the course. The sun did come out that afternoon, though, and everybody had a good time."

During the summer the club is offering clinics and coaching for local bike groups. WORCA has already held a freeride clinic at the site, and a Whistler company is offering camps in the area.

A women’s freeride clinic is already in the works with coaches Klarko Buchar, Lisa Lefroy, Katrina Strand and Banessa Stark. The course covers the skills of trail riding, and will boost confidence on obstacles such as roots, bumps, jumps, steeps, logs and stunts.

For more information on the competition or the clinics, or to volunteer for the Bike Jam, contact Ryan Bowland at mrbowland@hotmail.com or call 604-907-0306. To get a better look at the course, visit www.bikepark.ca.

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