The South Cariboo Track and Trail Dirtbike Association hosted their first annual Fun Day and Poker Run last Saturday.
The event attracted dozens of motocross riders from 100 Mile House and beyond to ride the association’s track and extensive trail system. Vice-president Owen Desaulniers said the event aimed to recruit new members for the association and celebrate the completion of several new upgrades.
“I’ve been a motocross racer since I was 18. It’s a passion and it’s something I’ve put all my money into all my life,” Desaulniers said. “The idea of this event is to get in touch with other people who have the same interests. We’re trying to get riders out and membership numbers up because our membership fees cover the cost of the insurance to keep the place open.”
Desaulniers recently moved to the Interlakes permanently from Maple Ridge but has been visiting the area during the summer for decades. Every time, he’d come up he would come to ride the original track that was located at the end of Ainsworth Road.
Four years ago the association, led by former president Brandon Plewes, came together to rebuild a new track for the community to enjoy. At the time Desaulniers said they had close to 130 members and were looking forward to reviving motocross sports in 100 Mile House.
The COVID-19 pandemic, however, combined with persistent flooding issues, caused the number of members to plummet down to 14. Despite these challenges, the association persisted and Desaulniers said they received a $100,000 grant to upgrade the track with a new drainage system and sand.
“The dirtbike part of it had never got government grants to get signage or any of that stuff. Now that we have that we’re trying to let everybody in the Cariboo know to come down and check us out.”
During the event, bikers rode on both the track portion of the course and also 18 kilometres of marked trails that surround the main clubhouse. Along the way, they collected cards to create a poker hand with the best hands by day’s end winning prizes donated by several local businesses.
100 Mile resident Anthony Silverton said he mostly just came out to ride the trails for fun. Silverton said he has been riding dirt bikes for the last seven years, ever since his stepdad, Plewes, bought him a bike for Christmas.
“I got my first dirt bike and he was like ‘OK we’re going to a race!’ Didn’t even let me ride it first,” Silverton, 17, said. “I went and I raced and I loved it. I like the track, it’s my favourite.”
Silverton enjoyed himself and is hopeful that more people will sign up for the association in the future.
Encouraging young people to take up dirt biking and motocross is another of the association’s top goals, Desaulniers said. He said there are a lot of new young families who have come up from the coast recently that would enjoy what the association has to offer.
Ashcroft’s Teri Van Allen agrees that getting the younger generation into dirt biking is important. Van Allen attended the event with her children and grandchildren, the youngest being only four.
“We heard about it from a friend and thought we would come check it out,” Van Allen said. “It was good. A little more challenging than we expected for the little ones but the trails are beautifully groomed and it’s been a nice event.”
READ MORE: A new motocross track for 100 Mile House
Van Allen said her grandchildren learn all kinds of values from dirt biking including patience, compassion and how to care for a machine. Knowing that the association is up in 100 Mile House now, she said they plan to come back and ride the trails again.
Membership for the association is $80 a year per person or $125 per family and can be bought at South Cariboo Motorsports, Performance All Terrain and Exeter Forest & Marine Sales. Desaulniers said members receive the combination to the track’s gate and they’re able to ride on the track seven days a week from sunrise to sunset.
“We’re trying to get a racing event going for next season every Tuesday night and our intention is just to continue to grow from what we have,” Desaulniers said. “Every year we want it to continue to grow and make it better.”