Normally they would be well into their season now, but Mother Nature hasn’t been co-operating.
The Squamish BMX club has been busily upgrading and landscaping their track by Brennan Park, following a difficult pandemic that hit their membership hard.
The club has been repeatedly foiled by disagreeable weather as it lengthened the track, redesigned the jumps, and added additional features.
Though they normally kick things off around Mother’s Day, they’re just getting around to starting their season at the beginning of July.
Despite these setbacks, the club is preparing to host three levels of competition on that track in the coming months — local within the Sea to Sky Corridor, provincial, and national. And according to club president Todd Pope, it’s going to be fun for the entire family.
“We’re blessed and cursed in Squamish because we have such an abundance of things to do. When group events were curtailed during the pandemic, we couldn’t do a lot. So now that we’re slowly opening up again, after not having all these big races, we have members who have never seen a provincial or national competition at our track. They don’t even know what it’s like,” he said.
Those members will be able to see a real BMX competition up close when the provincials come to Squamish on July 16 and 17, with competitors travelling to four separate tracks over the course of the two days — ending up also in Whistler, Pemberton and the North Shore.
That will be followed by nationals on Sept. 2 to 4, which will feature riders from all over Canada and the U.S. That’s when Squamish BMX will be able to showcase their most notable athletes, including Teigen Pascual, as well as their freshly completed track.
Then it’s time just for locals.
The Sea to Sky BMX series is an entry-level series of events held at the same four tracks on Sept. 5, 11, 18 and 25. The competition is intended to give new and developing riders the experience of travelling and competing.
Pope has been the president for the last seven years, and is also the president of the BMX Canada Track Development Group — which owns 19 tracks throughout B.C. He’s thrilled that the club has attracted so many members as the sport of BMX continues to grow in Squamish, but he’s preparing to step away after this year. He’s most proud of the athletes they’ve been able to nurture during his time at the helm.
“We are definitely a key building block for athlete development. With BMX racing you get these skills early on, you hone those skills, and no matter what you move on to — downhill racing, cross-country, mountain biking, motocross — you get those skills at BMX and they carry over no matter how old you are,” he said.
“It’s such a family-friendly environment. It’s a family-building sport because nobody sits on the bench. Everybody participates. We’ve got kids as young as two trying out their strider bikes out there running on the track. We get them started at a really early age. My son is 19 going on 20, and he has friends from all over North America from BMX racing. You’re not a friend on the track, but you are a friend off the track.”
Pope noted that the track improvements came following discussions about the community’s master plan with the District of Squamish about its long-term future and viability as a venue. He noted that it’s not only used for BMX, but also for a number of other user groups.
“We’re in a rebuilding phase, literally. It’s a district amenity as well, because it’s an open track and everyone and it’s amazing. We’ve received a lot of support from businesses [in the form of] machine time and material donations and we wouldn’t be here without that. We’re all volunteers.”