The Vernon BMX Club was swarming with racers from all over Canada and the U.S. Saturday for the Rattler Nationals race.
Roughly 500 racers took part in the BMX Canada-sanctioned event that started Friday, July 14, and will wrap up Sunday, July 16.
There are three different national events taking place at the BMX Club on 47th Avenue this weekend. It’s the first time the Vernon BMX Club has hosted a national event since 2018.
Saturday saw 93 motos take off on the winding track with plenty of jumps and bumps, with each moto consisting of either boys and girls of similar skill levels. The racers were as young as two years old.
“It’s absolutely amazing, this event,” said Shylo Orchard, president and track operator at the Vernon BMX Club. “This is the first time in a long time that we’ve had the opportunity to host.”
There were several local riders competing Saturday, including Toran Edwards, local professional rider Nathan Martin, and Drew Solems.
“We have a lot of our two-year-old half-trackers and brand new riders out here as well,” said Orchard. “All our Vernon BMX members are taking advantage of the home track and they’re rocking it this weekend.”
The event serves as a qualifier for the Canadian Grand Nationals, which takes place in Chilliwack at the Heritage Park on Thanksgiving weekend. Riders are trying to collect as many national wins as possible before the Grand Nationals.
Orchard said many sponsors and volunteers made the event possible. In particular, the volunteers have been working tirelessly in the lead-up to the event.
“The last three months I’ve had a dull headache. The last 10 days we haven’t slept,” Orchard laughed.
The BMX Club has been around for 41 years, and next year they will build a new track at their same site. Construction will begin next spring.
“Every Monday we practice as a Vernon club and every Tuesday we race, and we’re one of the lowest race fees in B.C. Our practices are always free, and we’re taking new members all the time,” said Orchard.
“This is a hidden gem.”
Races will resume on Sunday starting at 8 a.m.