Big wheels at BMX meet
St. Albert BMX hosts Canadian BMX Championships and BMX Canada Cup 3 race next weekend at Riel Recreation Park
By: Jeff Hansen
| Posted: Saturday, Aug 17, 2013 06:00 am
The best of the best on the national BMX circuit will crank it up in St. Albert next weekend.
St. Albert BMX is hosting the Canadian BMX Championships and the BMX Canada Cup 3 race at its Riel Recreation Park facility.
Last year two of the Canada Cup series races were staged at the BMX track in August but this is the first time for the Canadian championships in St. Albert.
“We are proud to host it on a world class BMX track,” said St. Albert BMX president Allen Burger. “Our newly paved corners and spectator fencing, thanks to grants from CFEP (Community Facility Enhancement Program) and the City of St. Albert, have made the racing faster and the venue even better for the fans. With these improvements, and the hard work of our volunteers, St. Albert BMX will hopefully continue to be a great place for BMX in Canada.”
The Canadian championships on Saturday are a national race held once every year. Riders are grouped based on age and gender. Any Canadian citizen, ages five and up, with a BMX UCI license can participate. Amateur and professional riders can compete for medals. Pro riders also receive prize money for finishing top eight.
Approximately 400 riders will spin their wheels at the Canadian championships. It’s a bigger race than the Canada Cup because it covers more age groups.
The Canada Cup is the third race in a series of five across Canada. Two races were held in Quebec and the last two will take place in British Columbia.
The categories for riders in each gender are elite, junior and junior development (14-16).
Medals are awarded to the top three finishers at each race and the overall winner will be crowned at the end of the series.
The top eight in the professional class of elite and junior riders also pocket prize money.
More than 50 riders are expected to compete in Sunday’s series race because it has fewer categories.
Thursday’s open practice times for all groups are 5 to 7:30 p.m. for amateurs and 7:30 to 8 p.m. for the pros.
Friday’s practice session runs from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., followed by the time trial qualifications from 4:30 to 6 p.m., as each rider goes one at a time.
Saturday’s opening ceremonies for the Canadian championships start at 11:15 a.m., and the racing goes from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The awards ceremony is 5 p.m.
The Canada Cup race Sunday is from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., followed by the awards presentation.
“We are running it in conjunction with a local district race for amateurs so that everyone, and not just the pros, can race,” said Burger.
He estimates about 40 St. Albert BMX riders will compete next weekend.
Tory Nyhaug, a Canadian Olympian from Coquitlam, B.C. who finished 18th at the London Summer Games, will be racing in St. Albert along with other pros from across the country.
“BMX racing is an Olympic level extreme sport that is exciting to watch. Riders not only have to be fast, but they have to have great bike skills to race over dirt jumps and through technical rhythm sections,” Burger said. “The pro riders are great to watch as they have to race a more challenging pro section of the track.
“Amateur level racing at all ages is just as much fun to watch. With eight racers in the gate, anything can happen.”
More than 100 volunteers will help make the four-day event a memorable experience for the riders and spectators.
Vendors will be on site, raffles and T-shirts will be for sale and the facility’s concession will offer food and drinks.
Admission is free.