It’s been a busy couple of years for Dillon Baycroft, president of the Sooke ATV Club. Two years ago, in the summer of 2019, Baycroft and his friend, vice president Wayne Robinson, started the Sooke ATV Club.
“We rode ATVs together for years and each have a true passion for the outdoors,” Baycroft said.
Baycroft became interested in ATVs at an early age, riding with cousins and other family members on the farm where he grew up in Prince George. Ever since he turned nine years old, Baycroft has owned either ATVs or side-by-sides. Even if the experience didn’t go smoothly, Baycroft continued to remain steadfast in his love for ATVs.
“I’ve rolled or crashed every ATV I’ve owned and that’s why I’m now in a caged-in side-by-side,” he said. “I’ve never endured any broken bones, thankfully. Only bruises to my body and ego.”
The Site to see in Sooke
When it comes to Baycroft’s favourite place to play, he elects to go for a ride in the Tansky Riding Recreation Site, which is located about 45 minutes from Sooke, near the town of Jordan River.
“It is a multi-use (ATV, dirt bike and side-by-side) riding area with lots of trails of different difficulty levels and has great parking,” said Baycroft. “The trails themselves wind through large areas of coastal forests, are tight in spots and offer some moderate to advanced obstacles. I enjoy challenging trails with difficult obstacles. The problem solving you have to do to navigate these trails appeals to me.”
When it comes to Baycroft’s favourite place to play, he elects to go for a ride in the Tansky Riding Recreation Site. — Photo courtesy Dillon Baycroft
Speaking of problem solving, Baycroft tends to excel when situations start to sour.
“My favourite memories around ATVing have to do with helping others in remote locations,” said Baycroft. “I’ve helped people with their stuck machines by setting their winch cables. I’ve lent tools or assistance to riders with breakdowns. We have even found and helped rescue someone who was stuck with their truck and hadn’t seen anyone for 24 hours.”
Coming soon: Major trail expansion
Now that the Sooke ATV Club is well-established and has 50 members to its name, Baycroft has undertaken the bold step to expand the club’s riding area exponentially.
“Much of this land is owned by large timber companies, which the Sooke ATV Club—along with other island clubs—have applied for land access agreements for 2021,” said Baycroft. “We hope to have these access agreements in place as soon as possible. This will increase our riding area locally to around 1,600 square kilometres and will allow our club members access to private timber lands over all of Vancouver Island.”
One reason for Baycroft’s optimism when it comes to trail expansion is that he’s seen what’s possible on the north end of Vancouver Island.
“Covid restrictions pending, I’d really like to get up there and ride this summer,” he said. “There are some amazing land access and other agreements in place allowing riders to take their ATVs into towns—right up to the hotels, restaurants and gas stations—and drive back roads between small towns to form a 1,000 kilometre loop.”
As busy as the last two years have been for Baycroft, the next several years may be even busier. Still, for all his ambition, Baycroft is a straightforward guy who enjoys the simple pleasures of life.
“I really enjoy getting together with like-minded people to go exploring, fishing and enjoying a fire for a hot lunch on our beautiful island,” he said.
ON OUR RAD RADAR:
Rider: Dillon Baycroft
Where: Sooke, B.C.
Occupation: Helicopter maintenance engineer
Bragging rights: Created the Sooke ATV Club and plans to expand the trail network exponentially
Weapon of choice: 2013 Polaris RZR 800
Local ride recommendation: Tansky Riding Recreation Site: “The trails themselves wind through large areas of coastal forests, are tight in spots and offer some moderate to advanced obstacles.” — Dillon Baycroft