Motorcycle Show

Back to Basics Motocross

December 11, 2019

This grassroots track has been running for many years and caters to all skill levels, including those of children

Story and Photos by Misti Hurst

Just off of Highway 99 between Whistler and Pemberton, B.C., is a little gem of a motocross track facility called Green River MX. Tucked into the shadow of snow-capped mountains, these family-friendly configurations offer riders of all abilities the chance to rip it up in a seriously relaxed environment. 

If you’re heading north out of Whistler, a few minutes past the Welcome to Pemberton sign, look to your right and you’ll glimpse some rolling ribbons of dirt that wind their way though a dark green forest and then parallel the famed Sea to Sky Highway. Small to medium jumps, berms and whoops are visible from the roadside as the track curves back on itself and runs alongside an access road that is perfect for spectating and photo ops. 

If you’re not paying attention, the turnoff can be easy to miss. A small sign indicates that there is a track at that location; an inconspicuous storage container serves as the “office.” Riders must sign waivers that are placed outside on a picnic table, then pay either a daily fee or write down their membership number before heading to the parking area. Everyone is greeted with a friendly smile or wave from whomever is helping out that day. And when I say “helping out,” I mean volunteering their time so the track can run. 

Many Hands Make Light Work

Green River MX is a non-profit community-run facility. All monies collected at the gate from rider and membership fees are funnelled back into the track. As Sean Holmes, member and volunteer, explained, “We as a group of people collectively run this place.”

The track has been in operation at this location for almost 18 years. The land is leased though a partnership among the Ministry of Transportation, BC Hydro and the Squamish Lillooet Regional District of Pemberton. “We have to keep all those parties happy,” explained Holmes. “That means we clear all the BC Hydro brush, we keep the rivers and waterways clear, and we have fencing across the river, which we also manage. It’s a lot of work.”

Kevin Labatte is the current president and has held the role for six or seven years, but he has been with the club a lot longer. Holmes and Labatte work together with many other generous people, including Jody Dean, who helps with Coastal Mountain Excavation and the heavy equipment used to prep and groom the track, Adam Gable, Nick Antol, Shea Stuart, Derik Bergan, and more. They continuously put in several hours of work to groom, water and maintain the track. “Everyone helps out at the gate and with track maintenance,” said Holmes. “It’s a community effort, entirely
volunteer-run. Every penny we get goes into the track or into the equipment used to keep the track safe and in good shape, such as sprinkler systems, equipment, water truck, et cetera.”

The Best Type of Community

When I asked Holmes why he does it, he said simply “I love motocross. I love watching the women and the kids [ride]. I’ve played a lot of sports in my lifetime, and this community is by far the very best.”

Getting to Pemberton takes slightly less than two hours from our home in North Vancouver. We love the scenic drive and the kids are used to sitting in the truck, squished in between the dog and all the riding gear. Somehow we manage to fit four dirt bikes in the bed of the pickup – two YZ 125s, an RM 65 and a DRZ 70 – along with gas cans, camping chairs, tools, water and snacks for the day. 

As you drive into the large flat…

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