Young cyclists, start your pedals.
In a rare and exciting development, the 2017 edition of the Hayman Classic has been given the green light for a circuit race on the sleek and sinuous track at Area 27, Canada’s newest motorsport speedway.
Located in the sun-drenched hills of the South Okanagan Valley, the track at Area 27 banks and weaves over 4.8 kilometres (three miles) of rolling terrain that will test riders’ speed, stamina and bike-handling skills.
“This is a world-class venue and a huge contribution,” said Ron Hayman, a former Olympian and pro racer who is now the driving force behind the event that bears his name, an annual competition that focuses solely on young cyclists.
Hayman credited Bill Drossos, president and general manager of the South Okanagan Motor Sport Corp., allowing the event to be held there after being approached.
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Hayman said he expects the bike event will attract not only cyclists and cycling enthusiasts, but also friends, family and acquaintances who might want a first-hand look at the racetrack and its spectacular setting in the South Okanagan.
In a change from the past two years, the 2017 version of the Hayman Classic will offer four events: a hill climb on the morning of June 9; the circuit race at Area 27 on the afternoon of June 9; a criterium on the afternoon of June 10 and a road race on the morning of June 11.
“The benefit for us is that we are then able to conduct the races on a closed circuit where we don’t have to deal with traffic management and we can run it with less volunteers and do it safely,” said Hayman, who is hoping to make it an annual event on the second week of June. “It’s a challenging and interesting circuit for riders too.”
The finishing times in the four events will be added together to give each rider an overall time for the weekend. The effect of this is to turn normally separate events into a rolling stage race with prizes given to those with the best cumulative times.
This is one of the elements that sets the Hayman Classic apart from other youth races. As well, the weekend features a spirited banquet on Saturday evening to which all are invited — participants, coaches, trainers and parents. Last year’s banquet saw a surprise appearance from cycling great Svein Tuft.
“I’m excited about it. I think it’s going to be a chance for us to invite the public as well,” he said. “Being such a new facility in the Okanagan, many people won’t have any exposure to it or have a chance to visit it. We’re looking at having a food service there.”
Registration for the Hayman Classic opens on Jan. 1.
Registration for the Hayman Classic opens on Jan. 1. For more information on registration, accommodation, rules and regulations, go to www.haymanclassic.ca. News, maps and photos of Area 27 can be found at www.area27.ca. Information on Global Relay Bridge the Gap is available at www.grbridgethegap.com.