Volunteers with the Triport Motocross and ATV Club are installing B.C.'s first covered starting area at 7 Mile Track in preparation for its May 21-22 Vancouver Island Motocross race event.

Volunteers with the Triport Motocross and ATV Club are installing B.C.'s first covered starting area at 7 Mile Track in preparation for its May 21-22 Vancouver Island Motocross race event.

Riders raise the roof

7 MILE TRACK - Local motocross group builds Island's first covered starting area in preparation for May Long Weekend motocross racing series event

7 MILE — When the newly formed Triport Motorcycle and ATV Club hosted its first Vancouver Island Motocross series races in 2009, club volunteers were scrambling in the final weeks to get the track race-ready.

Last weekend, they were back at it.

Several heavy-equipment operators and drivers roamed the course, lengthening straightaways, moving corners and establishing new jumps. At the same time, another crew  painted starting gates and placed rafters on what will be the track’s crowning feature — the first covered starting area on the Island and, possibly, in all of B.C.

All of this work comes with the club’s May long weekend race event looming.

“We’re becoming experts at getting the track ready the week before a race,” club member Richard Klaric joked.

The ambitious track changes will create a 2.2-kilometre lap with tighter corners, but with longer straightaways and bigger air for riders to build speed and make jumps.

The biggest change comes right out of the new-look starting gate. The starting straightaway, which previously ran downhill to a soft, hole-shot turn, will now run about 50 metres longer and go uphill into a hairpin left for the hole shot. The track will then turn downhill and take riders straight into the first big double jump.

“It’s gonna be awesome,” said Brody Low, a young Port McNeill rider who stood atop a berm and watched the backhoe, grader, bucket-loader and other machines go through their paces. “I’m stoked.”

The new-look track will be unveiled to the Island’s visiting riders May 21-22, the local club’s turn to host in the spring season. Another Vancouver Island Motocross event will be held at 7 Mile Sept. 3-4 as part of the association’s fall season.