Kelowna hosts successful BMX nationals

Kelowna BMX rider Emmett Hancock was one of a large contingent of local riders taking part in last weekend
Kelowna BMX rider Emmett Hancock was one of a large contingent of local riders taking part in last weekend's Firestorm National BMX race in Kelowna.
— image credit: Fred Schaad

This past weekend the Kelowna BMX club hosted over 400 BMX riders at the Firestorm Nationals.

Richard Loney, president of Kelowna BMX, said that it was the biggest event the club has hosted in three years.

“We host the same event about every three years. This year and 2008 were probably the biggest years,” said Loney.

The event is part of the American Bicycle Association series and features elite riders from all over Canada and the United States.

According to Loney, a lot of work was done on the track prior to the event to make the race run as smoothly as possible. One of the improvements included adding asphalt corners to increase safety.

Loney said that the event is something that the Kelowna BMX club prides itself on hosting.

“It’s a feather in our cap. It’s something that we’re really proud to be able to pull off.

“Financially, we don’t look at it as a moneymaker. It’s kind of a break even (event). Everybody takes their turn holding it at different tracks around the province.”

Although financial gain was not a priority, the club did gain a bit of revenue after hosting this past weekend.

“We did make some money this year, which is nice for the track. We’ll be able to maintain it and make a couple of improvements to it.”

The event, which hosted riders from the ages of four to 60, is well ranked in the country, according to Loney.

Loney said Kelowna BMX is the biggest BMX club in the province and has been around since the early 1980s. It’s been in the same location in Rutland the entire time.

A number of Kelowna and West Kelowna athletes fared well at the event.

On the girls side of things, Natalie Schmidt of West Kelowna won all of her races in both the 11-year-old girls and 11 to 12-year-old girls cruiser category.

Melissa Sibley of Kelowna won both of her races in the 16-year-old girls category.

The boys also did well: Matt McCormack won his race in the 17-year-old and over open event. Eric Wright won both of his races in the 13-year-old cruiser event.

Alex Milnes of Kelowna won both of his races in the 15-year-old cruiser event and one race in the 15-year-old expert race.

Jayden Dyck, Kaelen Fitzsimmons, Nash Collee, Josh Kranabetter and Justin Warnaar were also among the multiple race winners at the Firestorm Nationals.

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