Dirt track revival pits rider against rider 

While cross country, downhill and freeride mountain biking are excellent ways to get into the woods, sometimes it’s nice to tear around a closed dirt track on a bike and hit a huge jump every few seconds, while DJs spin records and a crowd cheers you on. Old school meets new school at the base of Mount Currie.

At least that’s what Pemberton mountain bikers Lon Martin and Ryan Bowland are going for with the first annual Pemberton Track Revival Bike Jam and Fundraiser. Joined by over100 volunteers on their last dirt track maintenance days, Martin and Bowland have helped to restore the old BMX dirt track on Martin Gallant’s Clover Road property.

With the aid of a water pump, shovels and human power, they built the jumps back up, groomed the flats, and contoured the berms and the curves. There was no shortage of volunteers to test the track, either.

"Bowland and I came up with the idea when we were brainstorming one day," says Martin. "The track was already there, we just figured we should use it to its full potential."

On Saturday, June 9, the Revival is expected to draw between 70 and 100 competitors and hundreds more fans. They can race anything they want: "People are bringing 45 pound downhill bikes, 30 pound freeride bikes, BMX bikes, hardtail cross country bikes – each bike has its advantages in different sections."

Because it only takes most riders between 20 and 30 seconds to complete a circuit of the track, on any style of bike, the dual eliminator format will match different kinds of bikes in every round.

The fastest bike in each round will move on to the next round until the champion is crowned. There will also be a big air and style competition.

The list of competitors won’t be finalized until race day, but local freeriders Dean Collingridge and Richie Schley are expected, as is Canadian downhill champion Chad Onyschuk.

Live bands and DJs have also been booked for the event, and dozens of sponsors have kicked in about $12,000 in prizes, including Whistler Mountain Park Passes, sunglasses, and bike gear. The main sponsor is Evolution, and the list of prize sponsors includes Ride On, Mantra, Spy, Whistler Mountain Bike Park, Airwalk, Roach, Crash Pads Titec, Blue Balls, The Love Nest, Rebar, Brodie, 1664 BMX, Dakine and Axo.

Martin says he was surprised and gratified by the amount of support he received. "I thought it would be a lot harder, but it was pretty easy. It’s a unique event. A lot of people compete in local races, like the (WORCA) Looney Races, but we wanted to try something that’s a little different."

The cost is $10 to get in, and anyone can sign up for the races. A ticket also gets you in a prize draw that includes a bike park pass and various bike accessories. All riders have to be members of Cycling B.C., and onsite registration is available.

Racing will start at around 1 p.m. and festivities are expected to go on until the sun goes down. Camping is available and dogs are not allowed on the track site. The Revival is located at 7326 Clover Road.

Martin and Bowland are also looking for volunteers. All vollies will receive thank-you prizes. Call Bowland at (604) 894-3651 to sign up.

Proceeds from the event will go towards the purchase of a water pump and hookups to keep the track maintained in the future.

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