The Man has put the brakes on the Yukon Cross Country Motorcycle Association.
Before last weekend, the association hadn’t hosted an event all summer since Whitehorse city council decided to enforce laws within Yukon’s Highways Act that classifies trails as highways and thereby requires people riding motorized vehicles on the trails to possess a driver’s licence and insurance.
The act makes all youth riders “outlaws” if they want to ride their bikes anywhere off of private property in Whitehorse, said the association’s Mike Beaman.
“It’s the first (event) because our association has been put in a bit of limbo due to the fact that YTG and city council have successfully outlawed all these kids from enjoying the sport they love,” said Beaman. “With the grace of the Schirmer family – they have 160 acres here – we were able to use the trails that they already have here and make a race course.
“This is allowing the kids to race.”
Youth and adult riders alike were riding again in the Cowley Creek Hare Scramble on the Schirmer family property on Sunday. About 50 riders, including over 20 junior riders, participated in the event.
The YCCMA has always prided itself on making all events family friendly. All the previous races were held on Whitehorse land that the city gave them permission to use. But the YCCMA isn’t interested in hosting events that don’t include kids divisions in which they can ride their 50cc minibikes.
“I’m a sports type too and I just can’t see why kids can’t participate in their sport,” said host Urs Schirmer, whose two sons raced. “I really like to see kids doing their activity no matter what it is, if it’s mountain biking, dirt biking or skiing, or whatever.”
Gratitude towards the Schirmers, who with the help of others spent weeks preparing the courses, spanned all age divisions.
Having the opportunity to race gave Austin Larkin a chance to get his first win under his belt.
Larkin took first in the junior under-15 division. The nine-year-old has been riding since he was three.
“It’s pretty cool and nice how they let us do that,” said Larkin of the Schirmers. “It was really fun.”
Shawn McFarland completed 10 laps of the advanced six-kilometre course to finish first in the expert A division.
“It was fantastic. No dust, really nice course, and I got to pass Dale (Panchychyn),” said McFarland, giving his buddy a little friendly ribbing. “I saw him from a distance and was like, ‘I’ve got to get going.’ I almost wiped out afterwards because I burnt so much energy to get past.
“It was just an awesome race, really nice course.”
It was two in a row for McFarland, who won his last a race in September 2011. He, too, is no fan of the updated laws, which will also require a Safe ATV Card for riders, including dirt bikers, as of January 2014.
“I think I speak for everyone else here when I say, Whitehorse city council sucks,” said McFarland. “They’re a bunch of nimrods.”
Sunday’s hare scramble cross-country races included seven divisions on a kids course, a five-kilometre B loop and a six-kilometre A loop. For the first time the YCCMA included a prologue for the advanced riders to determine starting positions.
The success of the event convinced the Schirmer clan to do it again. The Schirmers and the YCCMA will host the Cowley Creek Hare Scramble 2 on Sept. 22, beginning at 9 a.m.
For more information, find the YCCMA on Facebook.
Contact Tom Patrick at