The Greater Victoria BMX Association is gearing up for the return of major provincial and national-level races to Colwood for the first time since the pandemic began.
While the club has been fortunate enough to continue holding local races and practices at its track, in West Shore Parks and Recreation’s Juan de Fuca lower park, association president Kyle Besler said being able to host riders from across the province and North America will be most welcome.
“It’s just really exciting. We’ve got lots of top riders at our track, so it’s nice to give them a chance to progress,” he said. “They can really take it anywhere they want, and with things opening up again now, it’s just nice to be able to provide them with a platform to continue their training. And more importantly, to just have fun and ride bikes.”
The club was formed in the 1980s and has run a track in the same general area ever since. It counts international competitors among its ranks and has played host to world championships in the past. Since then, the sport as a whole has grown rapidly, which Besler attributes to its unique culture, even in the midst of heated competition.
Compared to the competitive hockey and lacrosse he grew up with – which is played today a stone’s throw away at Juan de Fuca – Besler said BMX seems to place a stronger emphasis on community building on and around the track, making it a great sport for children and families as well as high-level athletes.
“If you are in the middle of a race and somebody has broken a part on their bike, parents will go ‘my kid’s done with their race,’ and they start ripping parts off their bike just to keep everybody riding.”
Building on that accessibility, twice-weekly races during the season allow nearly anyone to compete, whether it’s their first time on the track or they have competed in the Olympics. Riders are grouped together based on age and skill level, so races are as fair as possible.
For this season – set to begin in early April, weather dependent – the club aims to take the sport’s fun-loving nature up a step with several themed races. Besler said options being considered include an 80’s night, a costume race and the increasingly popular women’s nights.
Whenever the track is not hosting races or practices, it is open to the general public, though riding on it when it is wet is discouraged as it can cause damage.
For those interested in trying the sport, the association offers a free one-race or practice membership to test the waters, while a year-long membership giving access to all tracks in North America – including the three on Vancouver Island – runs $65.
Race entries are $8 per event, while organized practice entries are $3 each. Stay tuned to the association’s Facebook page and their website at bmxcanada.org/tracks/1484 for the latest schedule and other information.