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PHOTOS: Vernon BMX Club hosts massive national race

More than 500 BMX racers competed in the BMX Canada-sanctioned Rattler Nationals event

The Vernon BMX Club was swarming with racers from all over Canada and the U.S. Saturday for the Rattler Nationals race.

Roughly 500 racers took part in the BMX Canada-sanctioned event that started Friday, July 14, and wrapped up Sunday.

There were three different national events taking place at the BMX Club on 47th Avenue. It’s the first time the Vernon BMX Club has hosted a national event since 2018.

Saturday saw 93 motos take off on the winding track with plenty of jumps and bumps, with each moto consisting of either boys and girls of similar skill levels. The racers were as young as two years old.

“It’s absolutely amazing, this event,” said Shylo Orchard, president and track operator. “This is the first time in a long time that we’ve had the opportunity to host.”

There were several local riders competing Saturday, including Toran Edwards, local professional rider Nathan Martin and Drew Solems, 14, who won gold in the Expert field.

“We have a lot of our two-year-old half-trackers and brand new riders out here as well,” said Orchard. “All our Vernon BMX members are taking advantage of the home track and they’re rocking it this weekend.”

There were a number of first place finishes over the weekend by local riders taking advantage of the home track:

Halle Stocks, 10 Girls Expert

Kevin O’Brien, 56-60 Men’s Cruiser

Skylar Bunnah, 6 Novice

Kaden Lesowski, 11 Novice

James Kuchirka, 41-45 Men’s Cruiser

Mason Gosselin, 8 Intermediate

Adian Holloway, 12 Intermediate

Bobby Siddons, 17-20 Intermediate

Jon Rondeau, 46-50 Men’s Cruiser

Laine Poznikoff, 3 year old balance biker

Mani Kawaguchi, Pro Racer

Nolan Collum Sheeky, 6 Novice

Zac Allen, 8 Novice

Cory Banks, 41-45 Expert

Bennett Goldie, four-year-old Balance Biker

Roan Desnoyer, three-year-old Balance Biker

Luca Pitino, 10 Intermediate

“Chris Spence, 51-55, Vernon’s track director/coach took first place all three days against crazy tough competition,” said Orchard.

And the leading lady herself, Orchard, who retired from racing in 2019 as the Canadian national #1 girl and has been running the club and coaching ever since, raced for the first time in four years in the 46-50 and won gold.

The event serves as a qualifier for the Canadian Grand Nationals, which takes place in Chilliwack at the Heritage Park on Thanksgiving weekend. Riders are trying to collect as many national wins as possible before the Grand Nationals.

Orchard said many sponsors and volunteers made the event possible. In particular, the volunteers worked tirelessly in the lead-up to the event.

“The last three months I’ve had a dull headache. The last 10 days we haven’t slept,” Orchard laughed.

The BMX Club has been around for 41 years, and next year they will build a new track at their same site. Construction will begin next spring.

“Every Monday we practice as a Vernon club and every Tuesday we race, and we’re one of the lowest race fees in B.C. Our practices are always free, and we’re taking new members all the time,” said Orchard. “This is a hidden gem.”

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Brendan Shykora
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Brendan Shykora

About the Author: Brendan Shykora

I started at the Morning Star as a carrier at the age of 8. In 2019 graduated from the Master of Journalism program at Carleton University.
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