By Chadd Cawson Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Riders put their pedal to the mountain at Panorama Resort on July 19 and July 20 for the 2022 Dunbar Summer Series-Canada Cup and BC Cup, which brings the best riders from across Canada to the East Kootenays. The three-part series is held in partnership with Cycling B.C. The first of this three-part series began in Fernie on July 17, while riders arrived early to rest, get the lay of the land and practice before the race. The second part of the series where riders raced downhill for the BC and Canada Cup was held at Panorama Resort for its second year in a row.

“It’s one intense week of downhill mountain bike racing,” says Camille Dion, Racing & Competitions Manager at Panorama Resort. “We’ve hosted many downhill races in the past such as the BC Cup, Canada Cup, and Nationals but this is the second year of this specific series.” The event was first held at Panorama last year and was scheduled to race full speed ahead in 2022 but was cancelled due to COVID-19. Three-hundred riders have registered for this year’s event. Cost for participants varies between $65 and $75.

“We also had 300 in 2021,” says Stephen Exley, Race Director and Event Organizer. “This year we have more new racers. In 2021 we had more pro racers. This is a great event as it brings riders and families to Invermere from all over Canada that would not normally visit the area. I hope all racers have fun and stay safe.”

It was a race to the finish for all downhill riders racing for both the BC and Canada Cup on July 17 in Fernie, while riders braved the Insanity course at Panorama on the 20. The more noted parts of the course are Wall Street, Dollar Sign, Rock Garden and Cliffs of Insanity. The difference between the Canada Cup and the B.C. Cup is the former allots riders points to race at World Cups, while the latter does not. It means there will be a different caliber in the participants competing for each cup. The event was free for spectators to walk up and enjoy the view. Those unafraid of heights and who wanted a better view of the action were able to pay $14 for a sightseeing chairlift ticket to watch the race from the start.

“The able-bodied racers raced down the legendary Insanity, while the adaptive racers raced down Quadzilla, which is one of our most technical trails that intertwines with Insanity,” says Dion. “This event brings a lot of life to the bike park. It’s intense; adrenaline and gravity fuelled. It brings the best downhill mountain bikers in Canada to our little community and inspires us to send it. We hope everyone that was there felt the excitement. We hope it made them want to ride their bike.”