Even forest fires can’t wipe out this off-road destination

This rad rider knows the value of a nostalgia within Williams Lake

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Despite wildfires, there are still plenty of trails to explore in Williams Lake.

Despite wildfires, there are still plenty of trails to explore in Williams Lake. — Photo courtesy Sasha Kokesch

Sasha Kokesch has been president of the Williams Lake Off Road Motorcycle Association for the past dozen years, and his history with off-road vehicles spans back to his time as a two-year-old tyke.

“Some of my earliest memories are of riding on my dad's old Husqvarna 390 in front of him,” he said. “I didn't really have a choice in being interested in motorcycles. It was kind of part of the program.”

Since that time, Kokesch has managed to ride with the iconic Malcolm Smith twice, win Alberta’s Numb Bum—the world’s longest ice race on motorcycles—and even buy back his dad’s old Husqvarna 390.

“I found the guy he sold it to in '83 and got it back,” he said. “It’s the exact bike. There’s a bit of nostalgia there. Last year I got second place in the Desert 100 in Odessa in the vintage class.”

Rebuilding after the blaze

One of the challenges facing Kokesch and everyone else who rides trails around Williams Lake is the changing landscape. Williams Lake took the brunt of a brutal forest fire season last year, but there are still plenty of trails to ride and explore.

“Each area has a different trail building style that went into it,” Kokesch said. “It's not just a cookie cutter type thing.”

Sasha Kokesch is the president of the Williams Lake Off Road Motorcycle Association.

Sasha Kokesch is the president of the Williams Lake Off Road Motorcycle Association. — Photo courtesy Sasha Kokesch

Bull Mountain is known for its technical riding mixed with open, high-paced trails that have less trees to go through. Unfortunately, wildfires took much of the mountain so it is currently undergoing an overhaul.

“There's still good riding to be found out at Essler,” Kokesch said. “Around 150 Mile there's some good riding as well.”

Trails towards Essler have a fast flow with smoother lines and less technical riding. These trails are ideal for reaching high speeds.

Trails around 150 Mile House are more technical and tight. Here, you’ll find technical features such as roots, rocks and log crossings.

“We're really riding in the Wild West or the final frontier for fairly free recreational Crown land,” Kokesch said. “I think we take that for granted in B.C.”

On our Rad Radar

Rad rider: Sasha Kokesch

Where: 150 Mile House—on the outskirts of Williams Lake

Occupation: Self-employed welder/fabricator/mechanic

Weapon of choice: Suzuki RM 250 with an aluminum chassis

 


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