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AND THEY’RE OFF – The expert ‘A’ (A Trail) riders start the race. Sam Schirmer, 97, won the event, which took place in 2018.

Mosquito Harescramble motorcycle races off and roaring tomorrow

The Mosquito Harescramble motorcycle endurance race takes place tomorrow at the end of Mosquito Road on the Sherwood family ranch.

By Morris Prokop on July 23, 2021

The Mosquito Harescramble motorcycle endurance race takes place tomorrow at the end of Mosquito Road on the Sherwood family ranch.

This is the first race held by the Yukon Cross Country Motorcycle Association (YCCMA) this year.

YCCMA president Mike Beaman says COVID has affected their racing schedule. “Last year we were only able to do one race of course, and once the restrictions were sort of lifted a little bit, we were able to do a race near the end of last year. And of course being an outdoor sport, we don’t have a lot of spectators, so it’s fairly … easy to keep everybody… six foot apart, and hope people wear masks, and use all the normal government restrictions.

“We split it up over two days to reduce the amount of people. But with the restrictions a little less this year, we’re just going to race in one day.

“With the restrictions being even less coming up in August here, it sounds like they’re going to reduce the restrictions even further, so hopefully we’ll get our regular season in.” says Beaman.

“Hopefully we’ll do one in July, one in August, one in September, if all goes well.”

They’re hoping to start racing by 11 a.m., following a racer’s meeting at 10 a.m. Beaman says they’ll “do the kid’s races first, then the adult races after. And we’re going to split it into two groups just to keep things a little more separate and less busy.”

The age range of the riders covers a lot of ground. “It’s anybody that can ride, really.” says Beaman. “50 CC bikes, so typically, five years old up to 80, or beyond. Or as old as they wanna.”

According to Beaman, the racing groups are based on ability.

“Mainly, yeah. So you go into a class that’s sort of similar to your ability. So you have a kid’s course, a course for all the small kids, and lots of supervision by the parents, and then the B loop, … and we have everything right up to an expert class on the B loop, as well, which is just …. single track, not huge obstacles that’d be go-arounds for anything that’s an obstacle.

“And then we have the A-loop, which is much more technical riding, and we have an intermediate and an expert level on the A as well, and you have more difficult terrain of course.

“The B loop would be for anybody probably above a 50 cc bike, so like a 110, so like the junior B group would be up to the expert B on the B loop… so the kids can progress from the kid’s track to the B loop, and then if they want to eventually get into the A, depending on what everybody’s into.

“And of course the racing’s endurance. So it’s not as high-speed say as motocross or any other kind of racing, so people have to pace themselves, and last their time of the race, and finish.”

Unlike, say, motocross racing, the race is based on laps. Kids races are shorter, but the other races can go anywhere from two to three hours long.

“However many laps you can get in in a certain time period.”, says Beaman. “Usually racers go from one to two hours. The kids would race for about 20 minutes, just to get in a little fun race, where they don’t get totally wore out.

“Or it could go longer, because say if it’s a 40 minute lap, you could end up with two hours and forty minutes.

“Just under the time limit, you’d be doing another lap. Even up to three hours, it could be, depending on the laps.”

And of course there are prizes, and even free swag for the spectators. “We have medals for all the classes. Gold… silver and bronze medals for everybody, and then the kids get a junior racer medal, for signing up and trying it out.

“And then we usually have prizes from the sponsors, to throw out to the crowd, promotion for the racers at the end. Usually like dirt bike gear, or goggles and jerseys, pants and gloves to dirt bike boots, to…baseball hats to t-shirts, to anything that’s kind of promotional stuff from the sponsors.” says Beaman.

Speaking of sponsors, it sounds like the YCCMA has plenty of them.

“One of the biggest sponsors of course is Yukon Yamaha, and Yukon Honda.” says Beaman.

“We have a whole list of sponsors. They donate money to go towards insurance or… people donate time or equipment to help with the Area 55 race area there at 100 Robert Service Way. We have a kids track there and a motocross track and an endurocross track and some single track trails. So that’s sort of an insured area for the club members to go and safely play.”

As for the big race, Beaman says normal COVID restrictions are in effect. “We just have the normal government restrictions with the COVID, and otherwise, it should be pretty straightforward. It’s all outdoors, so it’s easy to keep the distance, and stay safe.”

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