The fastest man you’ve never heard of

At age 29, Ben Rego has the never-say-die attitude that will keep him competing for years to come

by Steve Shannon

A guy on a dirt bike climbing a grassy hill

Ben Rego shows no fear at the Xtinction Hard Enduro in Patricia, Alberta. — Photo by Steve Shannon Photography

Kitimat, B.C., is a long way from anywhere and not exactly an off-road racing hot spot, yet one of the fastest riders in the country calls this small northern B.C. town his home.

Ben Rego grew up in Kitimat and spent most of his time in the woods. His dad got him riding when he was four, but while most pros were cutting their teeth on competitive race circuits like the Pacific Northwest Motorcycle Association’s Off-Road Series, Rego spent the majority of his time just play riding with friends or going on trips around Kitimat and Terrace with his dad.

Whetting his appetite

It wasn’t until he was in his early 20s that Rego finally decided to try his hand at racing, driving nine hours to participate in the 2006 Outback Bushwack in Quesnel, B.C. Rego entered the highly competitive masters class—and beat the likes of Geoff Nelson and Bobby Prochnau. Then Rego disappeared back to his remote hometown and wouldn’t appear again for three years.

The inaugural Canadian Enduro Championship (CEC) kicked off in 2009 in Blairmore, Alberta, and the thought of a truly national championship brought Rego out of hiding. With a clapped-out 2006 YZ450F, camo pants and mismatched riding gear, he struggled with the enduro race format, finishing 45th and 21st overall over the weekend. The following weekend Rego showed just how quickly he could adapt to the enduro format, moving up to seventh overall on both Saturday and Sunday.

Killer instinct

For the 2010 race season, Rego bought a new YZ450F and decided to get serious about his racing career. At the opening round of the 2010 CEC, Rego took 10th overall and sixth in the highly competitive E2 class. He backed that up with a seventh overall on Sunday and fifth in E2, right behind Shane Cuthbertson. The rest of the 2010 season would unfold like a fairytale for the likable northerner. Rego had more impressive rides at the Penticton rounds of the CEC, then drove out to Xtinction in late August to finish seventh against some of the best extreme riders in Canada. Rego’s humble demeanour and impressive results started garnering him some support—and a nickname, The Giant Killer—after he beat some of the best off-roaders in Canada.

Rego drove clear across the country to compete, and his results improved out East; he finished a career best third in the E2 class and fifth overall in Labelle, Quebec. By the end of the CEC, Rego had established himself as an elite off-road racer, finishing sixth in the E2 class championship and seventh overall. To top off the season, Rego competed in the Montreal Endurocross, where he finished seventh.

What the future holds

For 2011, Rego has signed with the Corner Grass Race Team. He will be competing on a Husaberg FX450 in the Canadian Enduro Championship plus select off-road races, including Xtinction and the AMA Endurocross series—not to mention a few rounds of the Pacific Northwest Motorcycle Association (PNWMA) Off-Road Series.

The entire community of Kitimat has gotten behind Rego. A recent fundraiser saw nearly $12,000 raised to support Rego’s racing dreams. With his strong work ethic and never-say-die attitude, Rego will be one to watch this summer and for years to come.

At a glance

Name: Ben Rego
Age: 29
Hometown: Kitimat, B.C.
Bike: 2011 Husaberg FX450
Sponsors: Husaberg, Royal Distributing, Parts Canada, Smith Optics, FMF, Dunlop, Thor, Alpinestars, PG Graphics, Kermaxx, Enduro Engineering, Ross Rocher Sales, A&E Racing and Marine, UFA

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