Provincial BMX race rides into Penticton

At the tender age of nine, Amy Whitty is already like a veteran BMX rider.

Nate McLellan makes his way over the bumps on the Penticton BMX track at Lions Park with Rhys MacDonald and Cody Thompson behind. Riders were on the track on Victoria Day preparing for a provincial race the club is hosting on Saturday beginning at 10 a.m.

At the tender age of nine, Amy Whitty is already like a veteran BMX rider.

Saturday at the Penticton BMX track at Lion’s Park marks another provincial race for her. That experience wipes away any nerves she experienced before as its her fourth provincial event.

“It’s really fun to get to race lots of people,” said Whitty, who is excited for the weekend.

It’s the second time that Whitty competes on this stage on her home track, which makes it more enticing for her since she knows all the turns and how to take them.

Whitty’s brother Conner will also be racing. The seven-year-old simply loves to hit jumps. Connor enjoys the provincial competition because he likes to go hard and leaves it all on the track. It will be his third competition.

The Whittys will be among 200 riders tearing up the Penticton BMX track and chasing that top spot.

Penticton BMX club president Pat Buchanan has high hopes for his members.

“Oh, first place for all of them,” said Buchanan smiling. “All gold

medals.”

The club has planned for 36 motos and there is an excitement within the club. That was evident on Monday as several riders were at the track for practice runs.

“The reason we’re doing this tonight is so that the kids that are doing provincials can get some extra time racing, otherwise we would have all been staying at home barbecuing,” said Buchanan.

Kathryn Golbeck, media relations for the club, said she definitely sees some riders taking first.

“We have some kids holding their own that have already shown that in nationals this year (in April),” she said. “Cody Thompson, six, is a very strong rider, we have a group of eight-year-old’s riding pretty hard this year too. I expect one or more of them will have a good showing at provincials.”

Other’s Golbeck feels will have a strong showing include Josh Holland and Nate McLellan.

As a parent, Golbeck said she enjoys seeing her children, also members of the club, compete against riders from visiting clubs. It’s a change from the usual routine of going against club members twice a week.

“Competing in a big race, being able to kind of hold their own in larger motos,” she said. “I like to see the kids as a club come together as a team. Supporting each other even though they are not riding together. Sportsmanship is a huge thing we want our kids to be showing and encouraging. Fun and sportsmanship.”