The spotlight wasn’t just on the pros during the Canadian National Arenacross Tour at the South Okanagan Events Centre Oct. 29.
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It also shone on the future of the sport.
Among several young riders competing were four from Penticton: Jacob Helfrich, Aiden Skinner as well as Hunter and Cormick McFadden. Helfrich and Hunter advanced to the evening show with the eyes of the crowd all over them.
“It was exciting,” said Helfrich, 8. “I got to compete against kids that didn’t race moto.”
Helfrich, who practices with Skinner on a private track, earned a fifth-place result in the 51 CC class. Helfrich said it was hard on the bumps, which allowed others to pass him.
“I liked my last race and the night when I got to go be in front of the crowd,” said Helfrich.
Helfrich got into riding last year when he went to watch the AX Tour. While walking the track with his father Warren, a Spectra Venue management staff member overheard Helfrich say he’d like to be able to ride in the AX Tour. They told him that can happen and he got in.
Like Helfrich, Skinner, 8, is new to the sport and had a great time.
“It was pretty fun for the first time,” said Skinner.
The two are nearly inseparable now after meeting on a track. Skinner said Helfrich gives him somebody to compete with and they push each other. Given the opportunity, the pair would compete in the AX Tour again if it returns.
Hunter, 11, enjoyed competing and earned a fifth-place result in the 85 CC.
“It gives me a big push to do better,” said Hunter, who has only been competing for one year in the McQueen MX Moto for B.C. series. “It was pretty scary and fun. I just enjoyed the people watching and raced against my friends.”
Cormick, left, and brother Hunter McFadden competed in the AX Tour.
Hunter said he was mostly happy with his performance and said it was fun having his brother around. Cormick was sixth in the morning races that day.
“It was fun and new at the start,” said Cormick. “I liked that I got the chance to ride on the track.”
The brothers got into dirt bike racing after they got their first bikes a year ago. Since then it is all they are interested in. The brothers spent time in the pit party before the races and got a chance to meet their idols, including Jess Pettis.