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Joyride brings bikercross to Whistler



After two years of disappointments, persistence pays off

If you’ve never heard a pair of eight-inch shocks bottoming out, or watched two riders bump pedals on a banked turn, then prepare yourself – with some of the best freeriders in Whistler, Canada and arguably the world already signed on, the Joyride Bikercross 2001 on July 3 could get ugly.

"The bikercross format is a no-brainer, honestly the most spectator-friendly mountain bike event you could possibly imagine," says Chris Winter of Joyride Productions. "You have four riders coming down at once, and you’re standing just feet away from the course and watching them fly 40 feet through the air. Less than a minute later, there are four more riders. It’s exciting, and it’s unbelievably fast."

Brian Tielan and an excavator are even now building the course at the base of Whistler Mountain to Joyride’s own specifications, and the course will be open when the Whistler Mountain Bike Park reopens on June 30.

"The course design is crucial for our event," says Joyride’s Paddy Kaye. "We want to create passing opportunities so that the hole shot (start) isn’t always the key and there are some unique and wicked high flying features." Whistler-Blackcomb is even bringing dirt from out of town to make the course features as big and as smooth as possible.

Some of Canada’s best downhillers, already in Vancouver to compete in the World Cup triple at Grouse Mountain from July 5 to 8, have already signed on. Andrew Shandro and Dave Watson, Canada’s best downhillers, are on the list, as are freerider Wade Simmons and local "sicko" Gareth Dyer.

"Most athletes we approached were pretty receptive, especially the Canadians. There are rumours of the big rock star Americans coming up as well," says Winter. "That’s why we put the date on (July) third – hopefully media, athletes and spectators that are here for the World Cup will come up to Whistler to see what’s going on."

Anyone with $40 and a full face helmet can sign up and Joyride expects between 100 and 150 competitors. There are just three categories, male, female and junior – "In other words, we’re going to see no-name locals riding against World Cup downhillers," says Winter. The entry fee gets riders onto the gondola, into the race and, after the event, into the post-bikercross party.

For Joyride, this event is the culmination of almost four years of work.

"Both Paddy and I are really passionate freeriders and figured there was a gap in mountain biking, that there needed to be an event to showcase what people were doing in our valley," says Winter.