100 Mile House played host to members of the West Coast ATV Racing Club this month.
Thirty-two people from Kamloops, the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island visited the South Cariboo Track and Trail Dirtbike Association’s track on Ainsworth Road from July 6-8 as part of the club’s annual tour of race tracks throughout B.C. The group included riders as young as three and as old as 55.
“We like to travel around B.C. to host events, host schools and host practices,” said Oliver Sayah, one of the club’s leaders. “This is our third year in operation. We’re a non-profit, and our main focus is kids, families and making everyone welcome to come out (and ride).”
Conscious of the dry conditions, the club made sure to bring spark arresters, not park their ATVs in any tall grass and carry a fire extinguisher whenever they went out on a trail ride. Prior to riding, the club also helped Brandon Plewes, president of the South Cariboo Track and Trail Dirtbike Association, groom and clear the trails. Using dragnets and a bobcat they were able to collect and remove a lot of rocks, which can be a potential hazard to riders.
“I think ATV racing teaches (kids) a lot. The competition teaches them about winning and losing and I think the practice is really important because you need the fitness, nutrition and mental determination to win,” Sayah said.
Sayah’s daughter, Alexis Borden-Sayah, 18, agrees being physically fit is an important part of winning an ATV race. She’s notched second and third place wins on her belt, thanks to good cardio which helps her control her 400-pound vehicle better.
Borden-Sayah has been riding ATVs since she was four and has been racing for the last three years. While there’s not a lot of girls in the sport she doesn’t let that slow her down.
“My dad has been doing it his whole life so basically my whole family have been on quads since we could walk,” she said.
One of the club’s young riders was Grayson Morrison, eight, from Courtenay. Grayson said he loves doing jumps on his quad and racing against his friends. This is his first time up in 100 Mile House and he is already hoping for a return trip.
“I’d like to ride quads for a long time and do some competitions when I’m older,” he said.
Plewes said he’s hopeful that in the next year, he’ll be able to host an ATV race at the track, drawing people from as far away as Alberta. Typically ATV racing is incorporated into dirtbike events, Plewes explained, and riders are only able to compete in the ATV or dirtbike class.
He said he appreciated the help from West Coast ATV on resurfacing the track, which had been slightly delayed due to road restrictions. Safety improvements like widening the track and grading the track for drainage have all been made, as well as some changes to the course that improves the overall flow and feel of the track.
He received $67,000 in funding for the project from the Northern Development Initiative Trust this spring. He’s currently waiting on the capping material, a type of sand, to spread it across the track. It will both hold and shed excess moisture, preventing flooding and excessive dust from being kicked up.
His relationship with the West Coast ATV Racing Club and its support was an integral part of securing the grant for the improvements, Plewes said.
He said so far riders who have tried out the new track have been “all thumbs up and smiles.”
“I really like the track. Brandon has put so much work into the track and has made it better. It’s 10 times better than it was when we were here last time, so I can’t wait to see what it will look like next time we’re here,” Sayah-Borden said.
Anyone interested in learning more about the West Coast ATV Racing Club is invited to check out their Facebook page.