Bryan Whitcomb peels off a visor protector during a muddy motocross race at Seven Mile Track Saturday in the Plus-40 class.

Local rider rules on home track

Jason Abernethy tears up the track at Seven Mile during motocross weekend.

SEVEN MILE—Port McNeill’s Jason Abernethy spent much of last week painstakingly grooming the motocross racing track at Seven Mile Track.

On the weekend, he tore it up.

Abernethy missed a clean sweep by one race, winning seven of eight moto heats and winning first-place trophies in all four divisions in which he competed as dirt-bike racing returned to the North Island following a one-year hiatus.

Abernethy swept both motos, or heat races, and claimed titles in the Intermediate MX-2 and Youth classes Saturday in Round 5 of the Vancouver Island Motocross Association’s 2013 season series at the local track. Despite a lone second-place finish in a moto Sunday, he was able to duplicate the wins Sunday in Round 6.

To be fair, perhaps nobody had better knowledge of the 1.6-kilometre track than Abernethy, who literally built a section of the course unveiled for the first time last weekend. The son of Port McNeill contractor Stuart Abernethy, Jason sat the seat of a backhoe/bulldozer for final grooming and adjustments to the course before switching to a racing bike for the weekend.

“The track was in great shape,” said Mark Ellis, president of Tri-Port Motorcycle and ATV Club and referee for last weekend’s races. “Stu and Jason did a great job; we’ve heard nothing but positives from all the riders who came up.”

Dozens of riders from across Vancouver Island descended on Seven Mile Motocross Track beginning Thursday evening for what became part long-weekend campout, part competition and part reunion.

The track, resurrected by Ellis, Stu Abernethy, Howard Saunders and other volunteers in 2009 after lying dormant for seven years, offers variety for riders typically limited to tracks in Campbell River, Port Alberni and Nanaimo.

When Seven Mile Track resumed racing from 2009-11, most of the local riders were teens and sons of the directors, like Jason Abernethy, Brandon Saunders and Ellis’s son, Brody Low.

But a new, younger generation of local racers took a turn to shine last weekend on smaller, 50- to 85-cc bikes.

Kale Hunt of Port Hardy raced to second place both days in the 50cc class for 7-8-year-olds, and Port Hardy rider Maxtin Northey also was runner-up both days in the 50cc 4-6-year-old class. Mason Northey and Rylan Krawietz of Port Hardy and Josh Crouse also debuted last weekend, and Mason Northey (7-8) and Krawietz (4-6) earned podium finishes with third-place showings. Michael MacDonald of Port Hardy also raced for the first time in local VIMX action and placed fourth in the 85cc 7-11 division Saturday.

The race weekend was the first of three major race events scheduled for the track this season. Results appear in Scoreboard, page 18.