Stan Stanowski of Maple Ridge runs his Honda CRF-450 through an uphill stretch at the Popkum Motor Park

Popkum Motor Park adds new facilities

Operators improve track and offer overnight camping for riders with self-contained RVs

After a wet and muddy spring, the new operators of the Popkum Motor Park are now on-track for an active late summer and fall.

Staff were setting up a large office trailer at the site last Thursday. Employee Miles Coleman said it would serve as a registration point for riders and provide office space for the business, known as Fraser Valley Off Road Vehicle (ORV) Park.

“Fraser Valley ORV were the people who built the facility in 2009,” says Coleman.

“Another group ran it until this year, when the Popkum Indian Band offered it back to us to manage, starting May 1.”

For experienced riders, there’s a 1.5 kilometre course that winds through the forest with a mix of jumps and banked and flat turns.

A beginner or kids’ track is in the open land, near the parking lot. Currently, the operation is opened Thursday through Sunday. Quad riders are also welcome.

Coleman says the bigger course is unique amongst Lower Mainland tracks.

“Compared to other tracks in the area, we have lots of elevation change. Most of the other tracks are on flat land, so ours gives the riders an extra challenge. It’s in a very natural setting — and we’re not having to worry about noise, due to the location.”

The facility is at the easternmost end of Bridal Falls Road, just past the sawmill. With Highway 1 adjacent to the property and no homes within earshot, it’s an ideal setting for a dirt bike track.

Track operators have a water truck to help keep the dust down. It’s even equipped with winter chains to give it some traction on the steeper hills.

Dust wasn’t a problem earlier in the year, says Coleman.

“It’s a sport that’s rather dependent on the weather — and in May and June, the weather definitely affected our traffic.”

They’ve also got a tractor, equipped with a heavy-duty rake that is used to groom the track each day.

“We want people to know that we’re serious about maintaining the course and we’ve got the equipment to do it,” adds Coleman.

“We’ve made some minor changes to the track this year and we’ll continue to make improvements. We’re always asking for input on the design and if it’s a general consensus on a new change, we’ll move in that direction. Having a safe track is a very high priority for us. We don’t build obstacles that will put the average rider at risk. We don’t put in obstacles that only a pro rider can make.”

“We’ve also got a 20-rider limit on the main track,” adds Coleman.

“We’ve reached that at times and riders have had to wait for their turn. If two come off, two can go on.”

The new operators wanted to establish a professional approach to running the track and part of that entails every rider paying a membership fee, even if they’re only planning to ride for one day. The membership fee is $10 for a month or $30 for the season — and the daily entry fee is $30. Private group rentals can also be arranged.

“Having people sign up gives us a database to work from and it helps us contact our members,” says Coleman.

“So far this year, there are over 500 who have paid their membership fees. Those numbers are very encouraging to us. Our rider membership is primarily from the Lower Mainland, however riders have driven in from Quesnel, Williams Lake, 100 Mile and all Interior/Okanagan towns.”

While they can’t offer hookups at this point, the park is now offering overnight camping for those with self-contained RVs.

“We have 24-hour security now, which made it possible to allow overnight camping,” says Coleman. “We’ve had as many as 20 people stay overnight at one time. At this point, we don’t offer anything for sale, such as a concession stand — but we will in the future. For now, we encourage people to be self-sufficient when they come here.”

Coleman says the track will continue as a practice facility for this season but the company hopes to make announcements in 2012 about races at the site.

To check on hours of operation and other news, see the company’s website at www.popkummotopark.com.