Popkum Motor Park one of a kind in B.C.

On July 13, 2012, Popkum Motor Park opened its brand new $1 million facility for everyone from pro racers to family riders.

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Ryan Lockhart blasts a berm leading into the step-down, step-up section of the park. — James Lissimore photo.

Popkum Motor Park, with its recent total overhaul, is like no other off-road vehicle destination in British Columbia. From amateurs and families to professional motocross racers, the park has been completely redesigned to fulfill the needs of any rider.

On July 13, 2012, Popkum held its grand opening to showcase the unbelievable $1 million dollar redesigned ORV park. The park in Rosedale, B.C., located about 15 minutes from Chilliwack, B.C., and about an hour from Vancouver, boasts a brand new mini bike track for bikes under 80 cc's. This track is great for beginners. The new park also features a large motocross track with an array of wide bowl turns, elevation changes, drops and new jumps including the aptly named 4th Gear Step-Up to Heaven. All existing sections have been redesigned to challenge riders of varying skill levels and ability.

Scott Ponuick, marketing and promotions co-ordinator for Popkum Motor Park, said the large motocross track is impressive from the facility, as well as from nearby Highway 1.

"There is a big table on the track that runs right along the highway," said Ponuick. "When you hit it, you're probably in about third or fourth gear and you're flying over a 130-foot jump and flying right past traffic. So it's quite fun for people on the bike, obviously, but even more entertaining for people driving along the highway when they see a bike fly past them as fast as they're driving their car."

Not only are these tracks impressive for what they can offer riders, they were also built to last. Tracks were built up off level grade ground using screened soil, which allows for superior drainage and excellent traction. The onsite screening compound means that rocks will be no larger than ½ - ¾ of an inch in diameter and the track will always have new soil added when needed to ensure optimal conditions. The design goal was to create tracks that could be enjoyed by enthusiasts rain or shine in the spring through fall. Safety is also number 1 to the management team at Popkum. There is a road built right around the large motocross track to allow an emergency vehicle direct access to the track in case of an accident.

Something for the family

Another unique aspect of Popkum Motor Park is the family loop. The trail, which is perfect for beginners and family outings, is a crushed rock road that runs around the entire circumference of the park itself.

"The family loop is great because it's not too challenging and anyone can do it," said Ponuick. "It's a great way to get people out there and get comfortable with riding and is great for those who are not so much into riding a motocross track."

Trails to explore

The excitement at Popkum doesn't stop here. Future plans include the creation of a widespread trails network that will grow over several years with the assistance and co-operation of all neighbouring groups. The mountain on the north side also opens up a whole world of challenging opportunities, not only those who want to ride trails—riders of ATVs and side-by-sides will be pumped as well. The park is currently working with municipalities and specific legislative bodies to make this happen and Ponuick said they believe it's going to be approved.

"Popkum is working to manage access to the nearby mountain ranges beside the park, offering endless miles of untouched terrain for riders marked with degrees of difficulty similar to a ski hill based on the Green, Blue and Black premise," said Ponuick. "The trails network will accommodate any off-road bike, ATV or side-by-side. GPS units will also be made available for rental (as needed) to ensure that every off-road enthusiast visiting Popkum has a safe, fun experience without the fear of being alone if you are lost or hurt in the backcountry."

Top technology

When it comes to technologies like GPS and making the park as modern and unique as possible, Popkum is all for it. That's why they've installed MYLAPS on the large motocross track. MYLAPS is a large North American company that is a leader in research and development in sports timing, setting the world standard in automated timing solutions.

"I come from a road-racing background," said Ponuick. "So lap times to me were everything. That's how you know you're progressing. When we did the whole redesign on the park, we installed MYLAPS. The wire is at the finish line and will be complete by October of 2012. It enables riders to purchase or rent a lap timer, which goes on their bike. They can use it to find out if they're getting faster or slower and gauge if they're getting better."

Riders will then be able to go online to the MYLAPS site, put in their user code and all their lap times will come up on the screen.

"We are also going to have a TV in the facility so we can generate a lap time board," Ponuick said. "That way friends can come in and say, 'Hey, I was half a second faster than you!' Basically it allows for bragging rights and a little fun."

Ponuick said the lap timing system really provides riders with a tangible way to gauge their success, which has never been done before in B.C.

More to come

Popkum Motor Park is also planning to expand its existing school. Currently, the park has one instructor with more than 30 years of experience who provides private lessons and lessons to groups of five to 10. The park would like to add a team of instructors, including local pro racers, as soon as possible. Popkum Motor Park would also like to look at schools specific to a demographic, such as offering a school just for ladies with a female instructor.

Ponuick, 38, has been riding since he was four years old. He has raced motorbikes and snowmobiles and road raced for many years with Canadian Kawasaki as one of his sponsors. His passion for the sport and for Popkum Motor Park is evident in both its past successes and its exciting future plans. The future lessons and trail network are just one part of a much bigger picture.

"We really promote a family-friendly atmosphere here because at the end of the day we want to get new people into the sport," he said. "The people in it now are amazing but getting new blood into it is good for us, good for other riders and helps grow the sport."

As if all these exciting initiatives weren't enough already, Popkum Motor Park is building an endurocross obstacle area with boulders, logs, tires, and water—so stay tuned. Riders, near or far, should not miss an opportunity to check out this one-of-a-kind ORV park in British Columbia.


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