Racers burn up the track at the 2022 Canada Cup BMX championship event in Warman (Gazette file photo by Wayne Shiels)

Last year’s Canada Cup event at the Diamond BMX track in Warman was so successful the Canadian Cycling Association (CCA) has tapped the local club to host it again in 2023.

“The CCA said last year’s event in Warman was one of the best in the country,” said Diamond BMX Club President Niall Schofield. “”We’re happy to receive another opportunity to host a national event. It’s a great facility and an event like this really puts Warman on the map when it comes to BMX racing.”

2022 BMX Canada Cup in Warman (Gazette file photo by Wayne Shiels)

Schofield said the Canada Cup races are slated to take place August 19 and 20 this year. The Canada Cup is a season-long series of race events held at different venues across the country. The athletes that record the best results over the course of the season qualify to advance to international competitions

The 2022 Canada Cup races in Warman were held simultaneously with the Saskatchewan BMX provincial championships. Schofield said the same format is planned for 2023.

2022 BMX Canada Cup in Warman (Gazette file photo by Wayne Shiels)

“Last year we drew about 245 BMX riders from across the country,” said Schofield. “Of those, about 50 or 60 are elite athletes, including some professionals. It’s quite unique when you show up at a race in a different city and you see all the same riders. They’re all fighting for one goal over the course of the season.”

He said organizers are expecting more elite-level riders to descend on Warman for the Canada Cup races this year. “Last year, we didn’t have much in the way of participation from Ontario athletes,” said Schofield. “And that province is the big one when it comes to the sport of BMX racing. Last year the Ontario contingent chose to take part in competitions in the United States. But, this year, it looks like Ontario riders will be racing in Canada and they’ll be here in full force. We’re also expecting to have a lot of athletes from Quebec, BC, Alberta and Manitoba, as well as a lot from all over Saskatchewan.”

Competitors line up at the starting mark during the 2022 BMX Canada Cup event in Warman (Gazette file photo by Wayne Shiels)

The decision to host the Saskatchewan provincial championships in tandem with the national event is a big draw for riders, said Schofield. He added the club is looking to gain a higher profile by hosting a second ‘Sask Cup’ competition earlier in the season, likely around June 22.

“Hosting a provincial race day a few weeks before the national event will help riders get tuned up, and give organizers and volunteers a chance to work out all the details,” he said.

Noting the City of Warman has been very cooperative and accommodating by allowing partial closure of a main street adjacent to the BMX track during the event, he said the club is working with the city again this year to ensure it goes smoothly.

Competitors lean into a turn at the 2022 BMX Canada Cup event in Warman (Gazette file photo by Wayne Shiels)

Diamond BMX Club organizers are planning to enhance the Canada Cup weekend event by adding more attractions, including live music.

“We’re looking to model this year’s event on what they do in Alberta,” said Schofield. “We want to have more of a fair-like atmosphere. For that we’re going to need a lot of volunteers, and that’s the key to the success. Last year we had about 110 volunteers, which is a lot, but we’ll need more this year. We’ll also be bringing back the food trucks. Last year that was a big success, and we’re going to be branching out with more partnerships with local businesses.

Schofield said club members will be working on getting the track ready for the season as soon as the weather and soil conditions permit. He added that they’ll be doing some minor modifications to the layout of the track based on feedback from elite-level racers participating in last year’s Canada Cup. Once the track is in shape, the club will begin its regular series of weekend races, with practices on Tuesday evenings.

“Our season begins in late May or early June,” said Schofield, “and it goes through to mid-September.

The track is open to the public when not in use by club for its regular or special events.