The 12th Annual Western Canadian Amateur Motocross Championship took place at Temple Hill motorcycle track in Raymond, Alberta. Over the four day race weekend, competitors came from all parts of Western Canada, and the United States to determine the best rider in the west.
The four day race weekend taking place over Canada Day, and the 4th of July celebrations, is dubbed as the biggest amateur motocross competition in western Canada. This years event showcased riders from the age of four to 65 years old competing in 31 different classes from 50cc peewee to 450cc pros.
The 1.8 km track sports natural high speed whoops, off-camber corners, and massive jumps with smooth landings. Temple Hill’s rugged nature becomes apparent when even the straight-away’s are rough, chopped out with constant changes in elevation, including one of the gnarliest up hills in Canada. Known to riders as ,“The Equalizer.”
The first ever nationals drew 150 amateur entries, and 98 pro entries. The number of riders, and classes has grown since then, and this year around 800 athletes were a part of the competition.
Temple Hill was originally allocated for a Mormon Alberta Temple, but when it came time to building they discovered that the hill was mostly composed of sand, and would not support the weight of the temple.
That did not stop riders from noticing the hills potential, and soon after, staked its claim as a great place to ride a dirt-bike. That cool Canadian Rockies air, and mild weather patterns, including 300 days of sunshine each year, makes riding at Temple Hill ideal under the clear blue skies.
Locals Nellie and Rens Visser played an important part in the tracks history by arranging for the Lethbridge Motorcycle Club to use Temple Hill as their new riding venue.
In no time, Lethbridge Motorcycle Club signed a lease with the town of Raymond for 20 acres of land. The LMC then purchused an additional 10 acres of land, adjacent to the main area.
Enthusiasm for Temple Hill picked up quickly, and the track has been known as a riders paradise ever since. The conditions are perfect for amateur riders to show their skills to the sponsors, and ride like the pros at the Western Canadian Amateur Nationals.
A special mention should go out to the meticulous efforts of Garry Nelson, who spends countless hours grooming, watering, and sculpting the course into the best track in motor sports. Thanks to Nelson’s diligence, the track is used by amateur, and professional riders year long.
A new annual award was introduced at the event, “The Top End Promotions Inc. Heart Award.” This year the award focused on racing families, and the recipients were Trevor and Renee Turner’s family from Barons, AB.
The event’s big winner was Fort St. John, BC’s, Trae Franklin. The 14 year old KTM rider dominated in the Super Mini, Junior and GP Junior classes the entire week. Franklin won all nine races he entered, and took home the coveted Gaerne Bronze Boot award for the event’s top rider. “Trae Franklin was as good as we have seen at Raymond in all the years we have done the event. He was the best rider here, and deserves the recognition.” said Nelson.
The Gaerne Bronze Boot award is given to the rider who shows dedication to the sport, and finishes with the most points during the race week. The boot that goes to the best rider in the west is called the Gaerne Bronze boot, and it is given to the Western Canadian Amateur National champion.
The four day race week was done with class, and the encouraging feeling young racers come away with, are priceless memories that spur a young athlete to greatness. Every child from 10th to first place was awarded a trophy. There were a few classes such as the Intermediate, Pro, and GP classes that were awarded some cash along with trophies going to the top three finishes.
Gerry and Heather Nelson of Top End Promotions Inc, were the main sponsors behind this years event, and are thankful to the people who dedicated there time, and efforts to making the event a huge success.
Heather Nelson said the success of the event was due to everyone who raced, worked and participated in the event: “Each year we say thanks, and we want to say it again. Thanks to the riders, their families, the Lethbridge Motorcycle Club, the Over the Bars Club and all the people who helped make this race a special event for Canadian motocross, but maybe more importantly, Western Canada”
The race week features on-site camping, local accommodations, bike wash facilities, economical concession stands, group campfires, and a variety of evening entertainment including a scavenger hunt, and co-ed races.
Big Dog races and security helped make the 12th Annual Western Canada Motocross Championship a fun time for friends, and family, and was the highlight of the racing year for everyone who attends, whether a competitor or spectator.