First sanctioned contest planned for October
The Green River Riding Club, keepers of the Pemberton Motocross track, is busy getting the track ready for another season, putting up fences around the site and grooming the course.
Rising insurance costs and obligations are the big story going into the season, according to GRRC president Chad Breitenstein, but there is some good news the track will host a fully sanctioned Canadian Motocross Association race on Oct. 3, as part of the provincial Golden Harvest Series. The track will also be open for motocross practice days on June 27, the same weekend as the Pemberton Stock Car Associations race, and Oct. 2.
"There have been a lot of changes, some that were expected and some that were not," said Breitenstein.
The most obvious change is the fact that membership costs will increase this year as a result of rising insurance premiums for the club and riders. It will now cost $200 for a single membership, and $150 for returning members. Family memberships are $250 and $200 for returning.
Last year it was $100 for riders and $150 for families.
The insurance also stipulated that fences had to be put up around the property, and to separate the spectator area from the dirt track. The cost is estimated to be $1,000 for materials says Breitenstein. Volunteers are expected to do all of the work.
The club will also require an employee to be at the track when its open to check memberships and sell one-day drop-in passes for $20. Breitenstein has applied for a government grant for hiring a student, and says a number of youth that use the track are interested in the position.
Finally, the club has had to scale back its days in order to afford the insurance. The track will now be open from Thursday to Sunday and on holiday Mondays.
The club had 137 members last year and Breitenstein says they will need at least 100 riders again for the budget to work out. If more memberships are sold and the government student employment grant comes through it may be possible to open the course additional days.
Breitenstein is optimistic.
"It took a lot of work to get this far, but the track is in pretty incredible shape, and its totally up to CMA standards. People know about it, we get people asking us about it from the Lower Mainland and the States. They want to come up here, to Whistler and Pemberton to ride," said Breitenstein.
"We dont want to shut the track down to certain days, but we cant afford more than that right now. Hopefully that will change."
The practice days and the motocross race will help to raise money for the club. The Golden Harvest race series, which is based in Agassiz, draws more than 200 racers and hundreds more spectators to most events.
A group of local riders already competes at that level, including several promising junior riders.
"Its been our goal for a while to be able to hold a contest here and now all the pieces are in place," said Breitenstein.
"Were hoping everyone in the Sea to Sky is going to come and watch this. If youve never seen a 24 rider motocross start and heard the engines as everyone pins it when the gate drops, its quite a spectacle."
The club is hoping to have a few more sponsors this year, with billboard space available along the side of the track and on the new start gate. Mountain Industrial Excavations has donated machinery to help build and maintain the course, and Extreme Enterprises is building the start gates for this season.
Memberships are available at the dirt track during the weekends while volunteers work on the course, and you can also sign up by contacting the Green River Riding Club through their Web site at www.grrc.ca. Sponsors can also get in touch with the club through the Web site.
The club is also recruiting volunteers. All volunteers will receive packages and an opportunity to win a weekend for two. Other draw prizes will also be available to volunteers that contribute eight days or more to the track.
The track opens to the public on April 17. The volunteer work has already started.
The Green River Riding Club has been running the motocross track since 2001, applying for tenure in order to keep the site open to riders. With money from memberships the club has been able to widen the course to a regulation 21 feet, truck in dirt for jumps and other features, and regrade the course to motocross standards. The club also grooms the course once a month, although they hope to be able to groom every two weeks in the future.