The Mosquito Harescramble 2 was an adventure. It seemed no rider dismounted from his or her bike without tales to share after the race on Sunday.
There were stories of lost leads, small accidents and many of riders helping follow racers in times of need. It’s “gentlemen racing,” after all.
In one tale, three riders worked together to transfer gasoline from one bike’s tank into the tank of another that had run dry on the trail.
“It’s part of the racing, part of the adventure,” said Mike Beaman, president of the Yukon Cross Country Motorcycle Association (YCCMA). “If you stop and help a guy out, they get to continue racing, have a fun time … Anything can happen. Someone can have their bike hanging upside-down in a tree.”
Sometimes it’s possible to tell someone has a story before you even speak to them.
Tim Schirmer stood near the finish line, chatting with other riders, one foot in its bulky protective boot, the other bare on the grass and dirt. He took off one of his boots after the race when his ankle started to swell.
“I got my foot stuck between a tree and a rock,” said Schirmer. “I was going in about fourth gear and I came to a complete stop, so it just kind of ripped me off my bike. I think I kind of dislocated it and it popped back in place. Nothing too bad.”
The mishap didn’t mess up his race much. The 17-year-old took first in the challenging expert AA event. It was the second event in a row the YCCMA offered a AA course – the most difficult courses the organization has ever offered. Logs, mud, steep hills – even navigating was a challenge.
Expert riders did one lap of the 15-kilometre AA course and then as many as they could of the 10-kilometre A course in two hours.
“You definitely have to have technical proficiency on the bike so you don’t wear yourself out,” said Beaman. “You have to ride for two hours – it’s an endurance event – so you have to be physically fit to do that.”
Schirmer, a member of the family who hosts the races on their 160-acre ranch off the South Klondike Highway, took first in the previous YCCMA event on the expert course. Home turf doesn’t provide as much of an advantage as some might think, he said.
“I haven’t rode it since the last race and there are new sections to it,” said Schirmer.
“It was a fun race. We had eight guys doing the AA loop, which was fantastic,” he added. “Right off the bat people were cheating a little – a little anxious on the throttle …
From the first turn, me and Mike Scott from Fort Nelson were battling it out for the whole race.”
Second place’s Scott and Schirmer traded the lead spot a few times in the race. Scott, who is in Yukon on a family vacation, was racing in his first YCCMA event – and his first race in a decade.
“We wanted to see Whitehorse and thought we’d hit the race while we’re up here,” said Scott. “I used to race in the lower mainland, in the Vancouver area. I haven’t really been racing or riding much in the last 10 years.
“I brought a bike with me – a (Yamaha) YZ450 – and actually traded it at Yukon Yamaha for a new 2015 250FX.
“The event was great, the trails were great, it was good fun. The bike worked awesome.”
The YCCMA has always prided itself on providing family-friendly events. More than half of the 32 riders who took part on Sunday were under 15 years old.
One race was a family event in itself. The novice race featured mother on one bike, father and toddler son on another.
“We had our own family class,” said momma Emma Barr. “I thought it was really special. It was sunny today, so lovely – all the leaves on the trail. I was just chillin’, racing with my family on the trails.
“I tried to stick close to make it extra fun for Aiden. He’s only three and a half, but he spotted who I was and what colour I was wearing.
“I was able to pass them on certain things and then they’d pass me on certain things.”
Barr squeaked out a win over husband Mike Murphy and son Aiden. Little Aiden was propped up on the fuel tank with little foot-pegs made from a broom handle.
“I was thinking about it today while we were riding. There’s no other way we could have done that,” said Barr. “To have this organization and to have it such a family-friendly event, to be OK with what we’re doing. It’s one of those special memories you’re always going to remember.”
Sunday’s event was the YCCMA’s third and final event of the season and its second haresramble – completing as many laps of a course in a set amount of time – of the season. The season opener was a an endurocross – a series of smaller races in which riders earn points that go towards their final standing.
“I think we’re going to keep with this format of doing one endurocross and two harescrambles again next year,” said Beaman. “I think everybody has been pretty happy with it.
“The whole object of the club is that everybody has input and we all put this together and have some fun. Especially the kids. They have a sport they can look forward to competing in and it’s good physical exercise.”
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1st Ben Macpherson (Yamaha)
2nd Kya Larkin (Yamaha)
3rd Sam Adams (Yamaha)
1st Kya Larkin (KTM)
2nd Ben Macpherson (Yamaha)
Junior under 15
1st Sawyer Adams (Yamaha)
2nd Austin Larkin (Yamaha)
3rd Aurora Krause (Yamaha)
1st Emma Barr (Honda)
2nd Mike & Aiden Murphy (Yamaha)
1st Shane Orban (KTM)
2nd Ethan Davy (Yamaha)
3rd Broden Cull (Yamaha)
1st Kevin Smit (Kawasaki)
2nd Sam Schirmer (Husqvarna)
3rd Frank Smith (KTM)
1st Tim Schirmer (KTM)
2nd Mike Scott (Yamaha)
3rd Travis Adams (Yamaha)