National champion crowned

Chantelle Bykerk keeps setting her goals higher and higher.

Top notch ride: Chantelle Bykerk recently returned from the Canadian Enduro Championships in Quebec and Ontario as national off-road racer champion.

Chantelle Bykerk keeps setting her goals higher and higher.

Bykerk, 19, recently returned from the Canadian Enduro Championships with the number one plate. She won first in both the western and eastern divisions as well as the overall national title for women off-road racers.

Bykerk’s boyfriend, Bobby Prochnau of Kamloops, also a top B.C. racer, claimed the number-one spot in the men’s pro division.

“We both flew home with number-one plates,” said a proud Bykerk, who has qualified for the nationals three times. This year was the first year she was able to travel east to compete in the Quebec and Ontario rounds.

“It was pretty cool. I’ve wanted to win this for the last three years.”

While Bykerk flew east, her KTM 200 XCW was shipped to the race sites on a truck.

“It was an awesome experience to be able to go this year,” described Bykerk. “I’ve never travelled or done anything like that before.”

Bykerk and several other Western Canadian competitors rode in 25- to 35-km rounds of competition at off-road tracks in Quebec and Ontario. While Bykerk found Ontario riding quite “open and flat and easy,” Quebec terrain was more challenging.

“They’d had a lot of rain in Quebec, so it was quite muddy. It was challenging there but not impossible.”

B.C. off-road riding terrain is much more rugged and demanding than in the east, said Bykerk, who plans to defend her newly-won national title in 2012.

“I’m looking forward to going next year, for sure.”

In the meantime, however, the off-road racer has some high-calibre races to attend in the U.S. After watching the X-Games in Los Angeles this summer, Bykerk is determined to qualify and be invited to compete in next year’s games.

“The X-Games are huge, just huge. It’s like the Olympics for extreme sports.”

To qualify, Bykerk will be competing in November in Las Vegas against some of the top female off-road enduro-cross racers in the world.

The enduro-cross race in Vegas, said Bykerk, will be held in an arena.

“You have to jump over things like logs, rocks and tractor tires.”

The Bykerk family has two other bike racers. Chantelle’s brothers, Bernie and Kody, also ride and compete. In August, said Bykerk, the three siblings travelled to Everett, Wash. to

compete together in an enduro-cross event. Bykerk came third after getting “stuck in the rocks” in her race.

While Kody hasn’t competed much this year, said his sister, Bernie took in the western rounds of the Enduro Championships, but did not compete in the eastern division.

Ryan Durkee, 18, another top Salmon Arm racer, has taken the year off to work in Alberta, said Durkee’s father, Wayne Durkee.

In 2009, Durkee was the top pro junior in the Canadian Enduro Championships.

“He’s taking some time off to work and he’s hoping to race next year.”

 

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