Vernon BMX Club member Jennifer Bitz (right) competes at a provincial championship series race indoors in Chilliwack in May. Bitz will compete on her home track Sunday, June 19, 10:30 a.m., as Vernon hosts a provincial series event. (Lee Cejalvo Photography)

Vernon BMX Club member Jennifer Bitz (right) competes at a provincial championship series race indoors in Chilliwack in May. Bitz will compete on her home track Sunday, June 19, 10:30 a.m., as Vernon hosts a provincial series event. (Lee Cejalvo Photography)

Vernon BMX racer chomping at Bitz to compete at home

Jennifer Bitz and Vernon BMX Club teammates host Provincial Championship Series race Sunday, June 19

When her son, Xavier, tired of hockey, the then-five-year-old turned his attention to BMX bike racing.

Much to the delight and benefit of his mom, Jennifer Bitz, who has become a prominent rider for the Vernon BMX Club.

Bitz, 50, a teacher of math and science at Coldstream’s Kalamalka Secondary School, is one of the top riders for her age group in the province. She’s been competing in the sport for about 12 years.

“I watched it for the first year, then rolled around the track with some other moms,” said Bitz, who competed in the first of a provincial series of races in Chilliwack in May.

She was second in her class on the first day and, on the second day, with not enough ladies in her group, Bitz was placed in a younger class. She made the main event – which she said she was not expecting to accomplish – and finished sixth overall.

Bitz races at the local Ranger Park track on 47th Avenue off 20th Street every Tuesday night during the season. As a member of the Kelowna BMX Club, she heads south to race every Wednesday evening. Her students often ask to watch videos of her races.

“It’s fun,” said Bitz of BMX racing. “It keeps me young, and it keeps me active.”

And she doesn’t let her auto-immune disease stop her, though it did require her to take a couple of years away from the sport. Bitz suffers from lupus, diagnosed at age 21.

“One doctor wants me to retire,” laughed Bitz.

“BMX racing keeps me sane.”

Bitz will race at home this coming weekend in what will be a busy one for the sport as the 2022 Okanagan Provincial Championship Race (PCR) Series will be held.

The weekend kicks off Friday, June 17, 6 p.m., in Penticton with a special Race For Life (race fees are donated to B.C. Children’s Hospital.”

The first provincial race will go Saturday, June 18, 10:30 a.m., in Penticton, then competitors will hit the road (though not on their bikes) and head to Kelowna for provincial race No. 2 at 3 p.m.

Ranger Park in Vernon will host race No. 3 Sunday, June 19, Father’s Day, 10:30 a.m., and competitors will complete the weekend in Kamloops Sunday afternoon beginning at 3 p.m.

The Vernon BMX Club will host a pancake breakfast for $4 a plate Sunday, and the concession and BBQ will also be open.

Every track is awarded a PCR and riders may choose any of the eligible PCR races in the province to count towards their four best. Riders can earn up to four bonus points for racing single-point races on or before July 15.

Novice and Intermediate riders of the same age group will be tabulated together by age group for provincial champions. Girls and expert riders will be separately tabulated.

The provincial championship finals are slated for Aug. 14 in Langley.

• Four other Vernon riders competed at the PCR in Chilliwack. Chris Spence was first both days in the 46-50 men’s division; Drew Solmes, in the 13 Expert class, made the main event qualifier Saturday; Easton Poznikoff, 6 Intermediate, was fourth Saturday and seventh Sunday; and Pro Rider Nathan Martin was third Saturday, sixth Sunday.

READ MORE: PHOTOS: Vernon BMX wraps strange season

READ MORE: WATCH: Tool station keeps Vernon BMX riders on track



roger@vernonmorningstar.com

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