Interview | ADRA President Chris Bauman Talks about the LRX Alberta AX Championships
By Billy Rainford
Indoor racing returned to Alberta this past weekend for the LRX Alberta Arenacross Championships at the Silver Sage Community Corral in Brooks, AB. Lots of racers and families turned out and the event was a huge success. We grabbed Alberta Dirt Riders Association (ADRA) President, Chris Bauman, to talk about how it all came together and what the future holds for AX in the Wild Rose Province.
Direct Motocross: Hey, Chris. Thanks for taking some time to talk with us today. Let’s let everyone get to know you a little. Can you tell us where you’re from and where you live?
Chris Bauman: I am from central Alberta and currently live by Devil’s Lake, which is just west of Edmonton.
It seems everyone involved in our sport is an ex or current racer. Can you give us a little insight into your racing history?
Very minimal. I raced ATVs (I know, dirty words) for a short time in the early 2000s. Then I did some UTV endurance racing in Northern Alberta. I do not currently race but enjoy watching my two boys on the track.
How long have you been with the ADRA and what is your official title?
My boys have raced with the ADRA for 7 years. This will be my 5th year on the board and all 5 years as the President. I was a 50cc parent at my first AGM ever and decided change was needed. My wife, Danielle (Bauman), was not impressed when I came home.
How was the racing scene out there in Alberta for 2021?
Just like every where else, it was a challenge. COVID delayed us in the spring as we were shut down. We did happen to get a short 3-round series going and had very successful events.
This year was big as the ADRA and AMSA (Alberta Motorsports Association) joined teams to have Alberta under one umbrella again, known as the Alberta Championship Motocross (ACM). We are very excited for the future of moto in Alberta as our numbers have been on the rise every year.
Were people out there upset that the Canadian Triple Crown Series was forced to miss the western rounds the past couple season?
Definitely! We received many emails telling us about how disappointed they were. A lot of kids do not have the ability to travel out of province for racing and look forward to having a chance of making the motos at a National.
And I assume everyone is pumped that Drumheller is on the schedule for 2022?
Absolutely. It is great to have a true National series happening again.
Moving on to this past weekend, how did the idea of having an Alberta Arenacross Championship come up in the first place?
I believe Paul Lavoie with LRX Performance was at the (Future West Moto) AX in Chilliwack, BC and wanted something in Alberta. When he got back he started looking for a venue and the Silver Sage Community Corral was available. He then reached out to me at the ADRA and Charlie (Johnson) at Wild Rose MX to help put on the race.
Let’s talk a bit about the actual racing. First off, who designed and built the track? How long did this one take?
Charlie from WRMA (Wild Rose Motocross Association) and his crew designed and built the track. It took them 1 day to build.
And was it a pretty easy sell to the Silver Sage Community Corral? Were they open and happy with the idea?
From what I hear and from talking to them during the event, they were excited for it. They are hoping for it to come back. But the original conversation was with Paul and Charlie, not myself.
Who was the race director? Sanctioning body? And how about Head Referee?
It was an ADRA/MRC sanctioned event which Paul requested to make it a true Provincial. Between the ADRA, Paul and Charlie, we worked together to make the event happen. We all wanted this event and with less than 6 weeks from when Paul approached the venue until race day it was a scramble. We had long time head ref Paul Pukey.
I saw that the entries were really good. Can you tell us about that? Did you get a lot of late entries or were you set early?
Moto in Alberta is exciting right now. Our mini classes are exploding with almost 60 entries in the three, 50cc classes. We have allowed the 50cc classes to race for free the last 4 years in outdoors and it has really helped bring new families into the sport.
We had a lot of entries hovering around 180 to 200 within the first 2 weeks. But as with every event, the numbers always shoot up in the last 3 days. We ended up with approximately 640 entries over the 2 days.
I wasn’t able to be there but noticed there were, obviously, some timing and scoring issues? What happened?
Ya, everything tested well on Friday practice but on race day Saturday our timing loop was picking up transponders on the bikes in different lanes if they came to close or came down the safety lane. It was very sporadic and is not something we were used to looking for. We did not catch the issue soon enough and affected a lot of results.
Saturday after the race we moved the finish line and timing loop to the outside lane and did multiple test runs early Sunday morning and felt the loop was working excellent.
We checked after the first couple motos and everything was on point. We were excited.
Around moto 5 we had a power failure and disconnected the system. We were hand scoring as well and were using the results to keep going to stay on time. Unfortunately, after 2 hours and changing multiple components we could not get the timing loop to reconnect.
We decided just to move forward the rest of the day on manual scoring, which worked, but it was a hectic day inputting almost 700 riders by hand.
But we made it.
Were you guys able to do podium presentations or did you skip that with all the restrictions?
No, we did not do podiums as we allowed the riders to pick up their trophies 30 minutes after their races to allow them to get on the road if they were done for the day. We had a lot of people that traveled a long way to race and wanted to let them leave as soon as possible Sunday.
And did you give out 1 or two Pro championships? Was there one for Pro Am Lites and one for Open or was it an overall title?
The plan is 1 Championship for the weekend. There was a separate one for the Pro Open and Pro Am Lites. With the great turnout of Pro riders we decided to add money to the payout over the 100% payback.
You had some riders there Saturday that weren’t back on Sunday – Keylan Meston had to work, Josh Penner crashed, and so did Shelby Turner. Was everyone OK? Did you see what happened?
Unfortunately, I did not see the crashes. I was head down adding up score sheets trying to keep up. Sorry, I do not have an update on them.
Overall, were you happy with how everything went? Do you already know what you’d change for next time?
It was a great event. Overall, we are extremely happy. I feel the riders really enjoyed themselves. We already have a new timing system on the way and we try to do things better at each event.
Will there be a next time? What’s the plan moving forward? Will I be in Alberta next December?
I definitely think so. This event has brought a lot of great attention to Alberta Moto and we have the passionate riders and families to make it successful. We hope you will be in Alberta in November, December, January and February. Hopefully, big things are coming!
OK, we really appreciate your time. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. Do you have some people you’d like to thank?
I have to thank Paul with LRX for taking a chance as he took all the risk, Val in timing was under the gun all week at no fault of her own and she made it happen, every rider, staff, volunteer, sponsor or parent that helped us out, it was a huge team effort to get through the day. But I have to especially thank my wife, Danielle, she does so much for the club and is pretty much on her own during race events. My boys are so patient and understanding when I miss their motos due do issues and never complain. But the smiles on all the little rippers make it worth it!
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