By Cole Parkinson
In a return for the first event this summer, motocross enthusiasts will once again be able to race at the Taber Motorsports Park this coming weekend. The Taber Motorcycle Association (TMA) has set their first race weekend for July 9-11, with plenty of events happening before the races go all day Sunday.
“We have so many amazing things happening over our race weekend for riders and spectators. Saturday is full of events with our scheduled practice for riders to get a good feel for the track. We want our riders knowledgeable and comfortable before race day,” explained Kelly Weenk, race director at the track. “We will be also hosting an MX swap meet all Saturday for riders and participants to bring out any MX stuff they’d like to sell. Old gear, parts, dirt bikes, etc. It would also be a great way for other people wanting to start riding to score some really great deals. In the evening, we will be hosting some pit bike races on our peewee track. Any small wheel four stroke is welcome that isn’t a race bike. It is always great fun and so entertaining to watch. We have little kids to full-grown adults competing in singles, doubles and even quadruple relay races.”
There will also be a raffle table available to anyone within the sports park.
“The overwhelming support we have received from businesses locally and all through southern Alberta have us very excited about our prizes being offered this year,” added Weenk.
As far as Sunday is concerned, races will dominate the headlines all day. Sunday is the big day with racing starting at 9:15 a.m. We have amateurs to pros that race. There are 20 classes in total ranging from four-year-olds all the way to people in their 70s. Our race lineup has a class for everyone. The amount of ladies joining our sport is tremendous. We have a special class just for them, but they are, of course, welcome to ride in any of the other classes also. After racing, trophies and awards will be presented to all our riders that make a podium finish,” stated Weenk.
With restrictions in Alberta over, the group is hoping to see plenty of riders at the track this weekend. While plenty of local riders are expected, the TMA won’t be shocked if riders from British Columbia or Saskatchewan make their way to their track.
“Last year, with our COVID restrictions, our numbers were just under 200 riders. With everything opening up this year, we are hoping for at least that if not more. This year we will also be able to welcome spectators to come and enjoy our event too. We have riders from all over Alberta that come to our races and even riders from B.C and Saskatchewan. Anyone that wants to travel to us will be welcome and have a gate to drop in front of their tire,” continued Weenk.
Those who finish on top of the podium can expect to take home some great prizes as the group has lined up plenty of rewards.
“For our small bikes in the 50cc classes, we have trophies from first to fifth place and participation awards handed out to all the little riders that come and give it a try. For the younger kids, we do trophies to fifth place and the older guys and girls get trophies to third place. The pros get cold hard cash with a 100 per cent pro payout. That means whoever enters the race gets their money put into a purse with first, second and third place receiving part of the payout,” explained Weenk.
The good news for riders is the track is looking to be in great shape as we head into the weekend.
As plenty of volunteers have been working to get it into the best shape possible, Weenk says everyone who has helped out deserves a lot of credit.
“We have many volunteers that will be working tirelessly to have the track in perfect condition for the race weekend. They’re mostly racers themselves, so they know what they want from a good race track. We have so many amazing local farms and businesses that bring equipment and manpower to help us get race-ready. From track work to cutting the grass and everything in-between. We are so grateful to have these members so active in maintaining our track. We even have Kinniburgh Spray services on board to kill off all those pesky mosquitoes.”
Even with COVID restrictions throughout the last year wreaking havoc on local sports, riders have been able to still get out to the track. While the race events have been fewer, the ability to at least get out to the track has been beneficial for riders.
“Luckily for our sport, we have been able to maintain riding. While race events weren’t always an option at certain times, our members and day pass users were able to still enjoy our facilities. Riders at our track are always required to wear helmets and it’s easy to keep social distance requirements in place when you’re outside on a track and always moving,” said Weenk.
And now with no restrictions across the province, the TMA is keeping their options open for future races. While no other events are on the schedule, the group isn’t shutting the door on any potential events later in the summer.
“This will most likely be our only race this year, but you never know what the future holds,” added Weenk. “We steadily have more people that want to volunteer and help put on these race events. The volunteers are what make these events possible. We are grateful for each and every one of them that offer up their time to help.”