Spring showers made for a mud-spattered day of mountain bike racing in Vernon’s Ellison Provincial Park.
The Vernon High School Mountain Bike Team hosted its first race in two years at the park on Thursday, May 5. The annual event was cancelled the last two years due to concerns surrounding COVID-19.
Grade 8 to 12 students from five different schools in the Thompson Okanagan competed in the race, which serves as a qualifier for the 2022 BC High School Provincial Mountain Bike Race which will be held in Langford on Friday, May 27.
“It was pouring rain, it was mud, (but) the kids were amazing,” said Vernon coach Corinne McWhinney. “The race was fantastic, it ran smooth. That third lap on the senior boys, (the rain) just started unleashing the fury on them, but they all had fun.”
The rain made for treacherous conditions on the Ellison circuit. McWhinney said there was one injury on the day, a racer from Salmon Arm who sustained a broken thumb.
Noah Milner secured first place in the Grade 8 boys division, with W.L. Seaton’s Luke Mitchell placing second.
Sophie Joerisson of Seaton won the Grade 9 girls division with a time of 40:26:5.
In the Grade 9 boys division, Vernon’s Keith Bazinet earned a first-place finish while two Kalamalka Secondary racers — Sawyer Lehr and Grady Barg — finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
Among the senior boys, Jonah Loewen from Kal Secondary placed second, Evan Sadesky of Seaton finished third and Aidan McWhinney finished fourth.
About 70 racers registered for the event, but the spring weather may have scared a few away as closer to 50 racers participated.
Next up for the Vernon team is a competition at the Kamloops Bike Ranch Thursday, May 12, followed by an enduro event in Salmon Arm May 19.