The Green River Riding Club, a non-profit organization that operates the Pemberton dirt track now officially named the Green River Motocross Track Park launched its 2006 season April 8 by opening to the public for the first time.
Opening day was well attended, with over 40 local riders coming out to make laps on a course that has recently been brought up to Canadian Motorcycle Association standards. The track is now open from Wednesday through Friday, from 5 p.m. to dusk, and on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to dusk.
According to Shaun Greenaway, a GRRC director and race promoter for the track, there have been several changes this year.
The most noticeable change is to the track itself. Although the GRRC hoped to have a full month to prepare the track for the season, snow on the ground meant volunteers had just eight days to ready the course for opening day. With the help of some donated excavation equipment the course workers succeeded.
"I think we have a quality track, and its definitely a lot safer and cleaner," said Greenaway. "We lengthened one section, its now about 120 feet longer, and we removed a lot of the features where people got hurt last year or that people werent comfortable with.
"We do have some pros, but the majority of our members are recreational or beginner and intermediate riders, and a lot of them are kids, so we had to look at it from their standpoint. Not everybody rides as fast."
One of the key organizational changes was bringing on new board members, including Doug MacFarlane as the new GRRC president.
"Its been an incredible organizational experience," said Greenaway. "Weve already made huge improvements to the track, our communications has improved, were moving our tenure application along, were seeing more interest from sponsors our past boards did a great job to get us this far, but we really needed some new energy."
For members, annual track fees have increased to $300 per rider, up from $200 last year. All of the additional money will go back into the track, says Greenaway, including the cost of owning and maintaining a Bobcat a welcome addition that was made possible through a sponsorship agreement with a distributor in Vancouver.
Several local excavating companies have also promised additional equipment to help out when the GRRC hosts sanctioned races over the course of the year.
This year the GRRC will host four events, or double the number of races held last season, all sanctioned by the CMA. The dates are May 6-7, July 8-9, Aug. 26-27 and Sept. 30-Oct. 1. A group of companies has agreed to sponsor the track for the season and all four events, rather than just individual races.