Watson, Beatty, Buchar win bikercross 

Three year wait for Joyride Productions pays off

The Joyride Bikercross 2001 delivered everything promised – thrills, chills and spills. It also delivered an enthusiastic crowd that swelled to some 2,000 spectators during the final races Tuesday.

When the dust finally cleared – and there were times that the course was obscured by it – 12 finalists were left standing.

In the Junior race, STORMBC rider Jeff Beatty won by a considerable margin after shaking off Mason Mashon, the second place finisher from Penticton, at the last turn. Cory Derpak, one of the top cross country racers in the province and a member of the Glacier Shop team, finished third, and Aaron Kempf of Brackendale, an accomplished downhill and dual slalom racer, was fourth.

In the women’s race, Whistler’s Claire Buchar won the $100 first prize by a large margin. The weekend before she finished fifth in her first B.C. Cup downhill while racing at the Pro Elite level.

Vanessa Stark finished second, Lisanne Horlor was third and Annie Bisson was fourth.

The men’s final was somewhat closer, but the day went to World Cup downhiller Dave Watson. He held nothing back all afternoon, which is even more impressive when you consider that he had to stay in one piece for the World Cup triple at Grouse Mountain this weekend.

"It was good racing," said Watson, who hails from Coquitlam. "It was really marble-y, and everyone was drifting around a lot, especially around the corners, but it was fun to ride."

While the World Cup was on his mind and he was concerned about injuries, Watson says the experience he gained was worth the risk.

"If we (Canadian downhillers) want to race at the World Cup level, we have to get out and race hard every chance we get to stay sharp and to build consistency.

"It’s amazing how good the competition here was, the local riders just rip. It’s always good to compete against fast guys."

Watson won $1,000 for his efforts.

Second place and $300 went to American downhiller Chris O’Driscoll, a star of the Kranked movie series. Third and $200 went to Penticton rider Al Box. Fourth place and $100 went to Whistler’s Jeff Heslop.

Guys and girls and mountain bikes weren’t the only winners at the Joyride Bikercross.

After three frustrating years spent trying to hold a freeride mountain bike event in Whistler, Chris Winter and Paddy Kaye of Joyride Productions can at last sit back, smile and enjoy being right all along.

"It was perfect," says Winter. "The turnout was just awesome, and with this style of the event I think we’re really hitting the nail on the head in terms of what the spectators want in eye candy, and in terms of what the riders can do.

"Part of the reason we wanted to host this event was to show off what freeriders can do, and I think we’ve accomplished that."

Joyride is already working on next year’s event, says Winter, he acknowledged that there is room for improvement in some areas.

"It was basicaly a two-person show, and Paddy and I were wearing about six hats each," says Winter. "There were people who wanted to volunteer and help, but because we knew the whole event ourselves, it was difficult to know where to put people, or how to get them into it. We’ll have a better idea how to use the volunteers next year."

In addition, there was almost an hour of turnaround time between the qualifier and the race that Winter wants to get rid of. "We could definitely be a lot tighter," he says.

Joyride is also looking into the possibility of televising the event in the future.

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