Provincial championships comes to Sir Sam's
By Darren Lum
August 16, 2016
Potential future Olympians are coming to the Highlands in a few weeks when Sir Sam’s Ski and Ride hosts its first mountain biking provincial championships on Sept. 11.
Organized by Superfly Racing and presented by Plastigas, this event is the seventh and last in the Scott Ontario Cup Mountain Bike Race Series, which hosts events throughout Ontario during the spring and summer. After seven years of hosting O-cup races, this will be Sir Sam’s first provincial championship.
Sir Sam’s Ski and Ride owner Chris Bishop said getting to host the provincial championships for the first time makes it clear his family’s facility can handle an event of this magnitude and has the trails to challenge the best riders in Ontario.
He has been told repeatedly by O-cup competitors about the “premiere” venue of all the O-cup stops and how much they like the experience at the Eagle Lake facility, which has to do with everything from the camping, the trails to the dinner provided.
Unique to Sir Sam’s, he said, is how much of the riders the spectators get to see during the race.
“Most places you go you see them start for 10 seconds and then you see them finish for 10 seconds.
On our trails you can watch them go up and down the hill. You can see them for minutes on end so you can get a better feel for what they’re actually riding because it’s so accessible,” he said.
He adds spectators are welcome to see the race from the elevated deck and along the race course.
Course designer and Haliburton rookie elite rider with Arrow Racing, Owen Flood is excited about the opportunity to race in front of family and friends. Although the 19-year-old hasn’t enjoyed much notable success, he welcomes the support to spur him on to finish the season well and believes the more people come the more enjoyable it will be.
“You always want to perform when you’re on your home course ... there is always extra motivation to keep pushing and sometimes the adrenaline will get going a little more and have a better race for sure being on your home course, having people you know cheering you on,” he said.
His best finish this year on the O-cup is 20th.
He welcomes the public to the event, which is free admission, that will showcase the best in the province and hopefully encourage others to enjoy the sport he loves. The course, he said, is similar to what you would see at the world cup level, which includes a variety of features and challenges that will test riders and impress spectators.
The Haliburton Highlands Secondary School recent graduate said Sir Sam’s was instrumental to his racing career, whether it was connecting him with former staff member Dave Webb, who acted as his riding mentor or enabling him to train at the hill.
Flood, who has ridden for Arrow for four years as a cadet, said there will be former national champions in the elite categories and past world championship competitors from the past summer.
“It’ll be a cool experience, lining up with those guys,” he said.
Watch for Highlands teen and junior expert (17 to 18 years) Nicholas Emsley, who is another local rider competing in this year’s competition. He is racing for AWI Racing.
Riders will range in skill and age, starting at nine in the squirt division and up to 59 with the master expert men. They are categorized first by age and then by their riding abilities with elite being the best. Riders earn points with their finish results to move up to the next ability category.
Pre-riding, as some teams will come earlier than the weekend of the event, will be taking place in the weeks and days leading up to the event.
Although teams and competitors will be at Sir Sam’s from Friday evening or Saturday, the races will start with youth at 9 a.m., mainly sport racers at 10 a.m., expert and sport, including singlespeed men at 11:45 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. with the elites and experts.
See www.superfllyracing.com for more information.