SEVEN MILE—After a one-year hiatus, motocross racing returns to Seven Mile track this weekend when the Triport Motorcycle and ATV club hosts Rounds 4 and 5 of the Vancouver Island Motocross Association series Saturday and Sunday.
The event, which could feature up to 150 riders from across Vancouver Island each day, is the first of three big race weekends scheduled at the local track this year.
“I’d say we could have 150 riders each day,” said Mark Ellis, the local club president who traveled last week to referee races in Port Alberni. “I’ve heard nothing but positives from the riders down-Island. Everyone is looking forward to it.”
Races were held at the track, located between Port McNeill and Port Hardy across Highway 19 from Seven Mile Landfill, from 2009-11 after the current club was formed and renovated the facility, which had gone unused for much of the previous decade.
But a disagreement over track usage requirements by the club’s insurer caused Ellis to look elsewhere for coverage last year, and the track fell off the VIMX series.
It’s back now, with somewhat more autonomy for the Triport club, Ellis said, with VIMX races this week and again in September.
In between, the club will host its own, independent Open Invitational race weekend, which Ellis plans to grow into an annual event.
“We’ve got riders coming from all over,” he said. “Washington, probably a couple from Alberta. Anybody can come race; track riders, trail riders, we’ll have a class for everybody.”
Local riders interested in giving motocross track riding a try this weekend are welcome to attend Friday’s practice session at the track, beginning at 10 a.m. For a $20 entry fee, any rider with proper equipment may challenge the track with practice laps and rub shoulders with visiting racers, who turn the facility into one of the region’s largest campgrounds for a weekend.
The challenging track, which is being revamped by groomer Jason Abernethy this week, is a big draw, as is the traditional Saturday night crab feed around a roaring bonfire.
“Everywhere I rode last year at races, people came up and said they were excited about racing coming back here this year,” Abernethy said.
Racing begins with motos at 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. A second round follows in the afternoon, with awards wrapping up the program each day.