The Hope Bike Park had its first-ever competition — The Boondock Bike Jam — on Brigade Days Saturday. Organizers Zane MacDonald and Tyler Brown, pulled together 30 participants for three categories: open, which targeted the younger riders — and amateur and pro, which were judged by the riders in their groups.
“I’d say 70 per cent of them were from town,” said MacDonald. “The open class started at 2 p.m. and the pros were done by 4:30 p.m. We had 60 to 80 people watching, if not more.”
The judged categories were split into mountain bike and BMX classes, and a rider who worked for the Jay Hoots crew came back to town to show his mountain bike jumping skills.
“Alan Mandel was one of the builders,” said MacDonald. “He’s originally from Wyoming. He and Garrett Robertson from Kelowna are both sponsored riders.
“Garrett did a back flip with a tail whip and won first place and Alan came second. Austin Christopher from town was also in there.
“In the pro BMX, Zack Laaback from Hope, came first. He back flipped both jumps in a row, probably six or seven feet in the air off the top of the jump,” said MacDonald.
“Second went to Ronnie Coombe, who grew up in Hope but lives in Chilliwack now. He tried a front flip but didn’t quite land it. He landed on his feet and let the bike go.”
Matt Juhasz of Vancouver won top spot in the amateur mountain bike competition, said MacDonald. “He was the oldest rider, maybe in his 40s and he donated his prize — a wasp camera, back to us, and we gave it to a kid who had helped with the jumps. Kobe Russell, from Vancouver was second.”
“Wilson Rousseau from Hope won first in the BMX. He had pretty good style,” said MacDonald. “Josh Fleet was second and definitely the youngest in the judged events.”
Rousseau said, “It was the first actual comp I’ve been in,” though he put in lots of practice hours. “I was up there whenever I could, every day, if it wasn’t raining.
“Two weeks before the competition, we went and scraped the gravel off the jumps. It was like riding on marbles before that,” said the 14 year-old.
“I probably did about ten jumps,” said Rousseau, listing a few stunts that you can check out on YouTube, “a tuck no-hand, a toboggan, a one-footed t-bog and a disco can.”
No flips,” he added. “I can’t flip on those jumps yet.”
MacDonald commented that Rousseau was a regular fixture at the bike park during the construction phase, helping out whenever he could.
He was also one of the first Bike Park customers at Fraser Canyon Hospital.
“I broke my wrist when the jumps first got built” he recalled. “I had a cast for three weeks but it bugged me when I rode, so I cut it off with my knife. It felt okay after another week.”
Rousseau’s prize was a McNeil Varsity BMX frame, donated by Sixth Avenue Sports.
“I’m building up a bike now,” he said. “I’ve got the forks, bars and pedals so far.”
Kelly Pearce of Hope Mountain School and Stephanie Hooker of Pathway Partners played voluntary leadership roles in the development of the Bike Park and trails in Coquihalla River Park. Both were pleased to see the park used for its inaugural competition.
Hooker said, “It was very gratifying to be part of the team fundraising and constructing the park. It’s tremendous to see local riders taking ownership of the park and hosting the first official competition. It was a blast. Hope kids are pros already and the park has only been open for two months.”
Pearce added, “It was exciting to see the park full of young people, spanning every skill level. Zane and Tyler, did a great job of organizing and promoting the event — and gathering a huge supply of prizes for the kids. Local businesses were very generous with the prizes they donated and the kids were thrilled to receive them. As one of many volunteers who worked for hours to help make the Hope Bike Park happen, it’s so satisfying to see it finished, looking beautiful, and full of families enjoying themselves in a forest setting. It’s another wonderful recreational asset that makes our town great to live in,” said Pearce.