Tucked away near Brennan Park is Squamish’s own BMX racing track. The dirt track starts with a huge hill and goes through a series of jumps and bermed turns.Though the track may be quieter in the upcoming winter months, it has trained many of Squamish’s great bike riders, including some who have gone on to compete at international competitions across various styles of bike racing.
Yet, none of this would be possible without the Squamish BMX Racing club and the family-friendly community of BMX racing.“It's a true family sort of sport,” said Todd Pope, president of the club. “The moms and dads and the kids all ride together.”
Scott Murray, vice president of the club and a father of two sons who raced at the club, also noted that the family atmosphere is part of what makes the club special.“It's really the fact that it's such a family sport that you could access it from any age,” said Murray. “You could be two years old or you could be 55 years old and that’s what I think is the funnest part of it.”
Beyond the community aspect of the club, the fundamentals new riders learn also play a big part in why the club has been so successful over the years.“It's the skills they develop at a young, young age could transfer into mountain biking at a later age,” said Murray. “They can learn those skills and learn that confidence on a bike, doing things at a much safer level on the track.”
Some of the basic skills that are learned are pumping, manualing, cornering and doing all these skills while in close proximity to other riders, said Pope.Miriam Bailey, the mother of downhill mountain bikers, Bailey and Jackson Goldstone, said the club certainly helped her kids develop new skills.
“As far as setting the kids up for success and wherever they took biking, I also attribute to BMX and our club,” said Bailey. “Jackson probably started his dirt jump career by jumping on the BMX track.”In addition to the skill development, mentorship at the track also helps those who are new to the sport.
“There's a ton of mentorship,” said Murray. “The kids will watch each other and learn from each other and learn from the older kids and there's so much of that going on.”“It's really the friendships or the camaraderie that you know really pushes them forward and pushes themselves,” said Pope.
Bailey, who was pushed by her daughter to try the sport herself, said she has felt enormous support when she began riding around 45 years old.“As a new rider in my 40s, the women's group was just amazing,” said Bailey. “As far as our club goes everyone's just super supportive.”
In terms of what’s next for the club and the track, Murray said they are planning on expanding the track by next spring. This will hopefully include paving a couple of corners and lengthening the track, said Murray.Additionally, Murray said the club will continue to host race nights on Mondays and practices on Wednesdays next season, though the track is available to the public outside of those days. And, Murray said they are preparing to host a national race in September.
Finally, Murray said he hopes that new riders and families will get the opportunity to create new memories and friendships with travel and big races like the club is putting on next year.“It's been such a good experience for my whole family,” Murray said of the club. “It just creates such an awesome community of friends and they’re like family, really.”