Following highly successful CEC rounds one and two in Vernon, Blairmore has stayed true to World Enduro Canada’s mandate to provide a tough but fair and equitable competition each of the past four years. Blairmore’s organizer Clint Riviere and his dedicated crew love challenging events that put riders and machines to a true test of off-road competition, 2012 did not disappoint. The event was held at the same location as four years ago, Racehorse Creek Recreational area.
This year’s course was 40 kms and saw a number of amateur entries throw in the towel as conditions worsened, yet surprisingly many unexpected results came to light at the end of Saturday’s race. For the second time this year an Eastern rider stood on the top step of the E1 Pro podium with Quebec Husqvarna rider Phillipe Chaine edging out BC’s Ty Murray and his mentor Guy Giroux. Honda rider Murray accumulated enough points over the four rounds to secure the E1 championship for the second time in his career.
KTM rider Bobby Prochnau, who, for the third time in four years wrapped up the E2 championship by a healthy margin over Honda rider and 2010 overall CEC champion Jason Schrage, dominated the E2 class. Third place in E2 went to Feeding Performance Husqvarna rider Ryan Graffunder from BC.
The Cinderella story of the Canadian Enduro Championships has to be none other than Corner Grass Racing team’s Ben Rego from Kitimat, BC. Rego’s meteoric rise to the top is unprecedented, a short four years ago Ben pulled his aging pick up and well-worn YZ 450 into the pits at the first ever CEC event. Fast -forward four years and the ‘Giant Killer’ has won the 2012 E3 championship hands down aboard a Husaberg 300. The likeable Rego is a model racer and role model, he is quiet, unassuming and appreciative, he is not much for words but has the fans’ hearts wherever he goes. Rego has now ventured as far as Los Angeles where he was one of 30 enduro cross riders who were invited to participate in the X Games this summer. Rego’s rivals in the E3 class were Ian McKill, Kevin Dyck and BC’s Malcolm Hett.
The E Vet class had some serious competition and Kelowna’s Mark Cahill once again locked up the E VET class title on his KTM over ironman Trent Burgess.
The Amateur classes were well attended at both of this year’s Western CEC events. One of the most welcome changes noticed was with the women’s class - the level of competition has become increasingly strong since Veronica Hett raised her first Championship plaque over her head back in 2009. Now Hett has some serious competition to deal with from fellow BC rider Chantelle Bykerk and Alberta’s Lexi Pechout both girls having had great results at this year’s X games with Chantelle getting a well deserved 3rd. KTM’s Shelby Turner put in strong ride and took second both days to Chantelle enough to secure 2nd overall in the Championship. Another promising female enduro rider is Alemeda Rive, full of life and spirit Rive is on the cusp of enduro greatness once she gets some more experience under her belt. After the four rounds KTM’s Chantelle Bykerk took the Championship for the second time in her career with Shelby Turner in second and Victoria Hett in third.
There’s little debate that most of Canada’s best off-road riders come from the West and that is not likely going to change based on the number of talented and hard riding teenagers that have been frequenting the top spots in the many amateur and Pro classes. In no particular order riders who are the ones to watch are; new Pro riders Ty Mckenna and Jack Sawatzky, in A class Ryan Linderman(2012 Champion), Brandon Shaw, Matt Coonfer, and Ben Riviere, in B Class Wyatt Hart (2012 Champion), Alex Larson and Calahan Bruder, in C Class 2012 Champion Tyler Riviere, Alex Ferguson and Tristan Randell.
The Vet 40 and 50 classes, as expected, were populated with number of familiar names. Tom Grapensteter won the Vet 40 Championship over Alberta’s Trevor Turner and Shayne Ducharme. In the Vet 50+ class BC’s Craig Murray rode to his first Championship over Manitoba’s Pat Feal and BC rider Andrew Christianson.
As the rain drummed down on Racehorse Creek recreational area, the trail became slicker and more unmanageable, wisely, the organizers cut the final third lap for the Pros and A riders short. Riders simply rode down the access road to the start of the cross and extreme tests and called it a day. The podium ceremony was an emotional one for most, Ben Rego claimed the first of his sure to be many Championships and KTM’s Bobby Prochnau once again affirming his position as the top Canadian Enduro rider.
The National Championship now moves east for the Royal Distributing Cross Country Championship starting in Ormstown, PQ on September 2nd and Chatsworth, ON the following weekend September 9th.
For the Pro classes the points from the Cross Country & Enduro Championships will be combined to crown the Royal Distributing Canadian National Off Road Champion.