The St. Albert BMX Association saw 150 riders show up to the track in Riel Park on Friday, July 15 for the second stop of the Aurora Series.
The Aurora Series is an annual competition between four BMX clubs: St. Albert, Edmonton, Stony Plain, and Red Deer. Each club hosts a night of races at their home track and riders win points for their club by making the podium. The first race in this year's series took place in Stony Plain.
On Friday, bikers ranging from as young as six to the ever-competitive 50-plus group raced hard and raced often in hopes of earning points for their respective club. Each rider class, which is divided by age and skill level, raced a total of three times.
"The Aurora Series is always a lot of fun and generates a friendly rivalry between the local clubs," said Derek Brush, a St. Albert BMX Association executive and racer.
"The coveted award is the Top Club award, which is a boxing champion-style belt that is given to the club that has accumulated the most points over the series."
The Edmonton BMX Club is currently the defending champion, but Brush says St. Albert's riders are always competitive.
"Edmonton has a bit of an advantage, as they have one of the biggest clubs. We have a smaller group, but a lot of fast racers," Brush said.
"We may not win the Top Club belt, but there is a good chance that there will be [St. Albert] members going home with individual podium number plates and that is always cool to see."
Local riders put on a strong show for family, friends, and fans on Friday as 19 riders had podium finishes across 16 different race classes.
In the "7 Novice Male" class, 7-year-old St. Albert riders Reid Brush, Brody Misener, and Sam Terashita swept the podium in all three races.
In the 50-plus cruiser female class, St. Albert's Tarah Hook won all three of her races, as did Hailyn Walsh in the "9 Novice Female" class, and Gretchen Hook in the 10 and 11 novice female group.
'A way to let everything out'
Eighteen-year-old St. Albert club rider Logan Starling also put on a show on Friday, winning all three of his races in the 17 to 24 expert male class.
Starling, an apprenticing heavy-duty mechanic, said words can't describe the feeling of what BMX racing is like.
"It’s a way to let everything out and it’s a place that I can be just to be myself and have nothing else worrying me,” Starling said. "It's freeing."
Although he lives in Sherwood Park, Starling said he found a home with the BMX club in St. Albert when he was just starting the sport five years ago.
"I loved the track, the people were all super nice and great, and I just haven’t looked back,” Starling said of how St. Albert's club got him hooked.
On top of his dominant performance at Friday night's Aurora Series races, Starling has been competing in the Alberta BMX Provincial Cup races throughout the summer. After the cup's first four races, two of which were in Edmonton and two in Cochrane, Starling currently holds third place in his class with only three races left.
Starling has his work cut out for him however, as balancing work and racing will cause him to miss the next two provincial cup races set to take place in Lethbridge on July 23 and 24.
"I’ll just have to make it up in Okotoks,” Starling said.
Being a heavy duty mechanic apprentice, Starling said he loves working on his own bike, which he described as a "frankenstein bike."
Made of a mismatch of spare parts and the occasional new ones, Starling said his bike is heavier than a lot of his competitor's.
"I’m not the lightest person and I’m not the smallest person. I have a lot of strength in my legs, so I prefer a little bit heavier of a bike just because I can case a jump or hit the gate when I’m coming out of it, and I know my bike isn’t going to break," he said.
"I can still beat the guys on the bikes that are the weight of mine.”