The Revy Riders are gearing up for the third annual Papa John Classic this weekend — a casual dirt biking named after the man who was instrumental in getting dirt biking started in Revelstoke years ago.
The event is named after “Papa” John Archer, who’s equipment donations were crucial in getting both Revy Riders tracks built.
Archer ran the Beaumont Timber tree farm north of Revelstoke and he donated the company’s road building equipment to build the town’s first dirt biking track in the industrial park in the late-1970s.
He wasn’t a dirt biker himself, but his son Terry rode and raced, so he wanted to make a contribution.
Every weekend, John would have the company equipment brought down from the bush, then brought back up again on Monday morning. They built the track on weekends.
“He did it because I rode and raced but we had no track to practice on,” said Terry, who is the vice-president of the Revy Riders.
John helped out again five years ago, when the Revy Riders found themselves looking for a new home when their track was decommissioned.
When the club secured a new location at the end of Westside Road, it was John who donated Beaumont Timber’s older machinery to build the new track.
By this point, John’s grandsons Skyller and Devin were both racing and he would go out to the track and their races. Skyller is now one of the top amateur motocross racers in Canada, and he was sponsored by his grandfather.
“They called him papa instead of grandpa. On his bike it was Papa John Racing,” said Terry. “To watch his grandkids come up the ranks, it was quite an enjoyment for him to come to the races.”
John passed away a few years ago. When it came time to choose a name for the Revy Riders biggest annual event, Papa John was an easy choice.
“His dedication was second to none,” said Terry. “He went the nine yards to make sure we were able to accomplish what we set out to accomplish.”
The Papa John Classic takes place this Saturday and Sunday, on the Revy Riders trail network. Saturday features the poker ride and barbecue dinner and party at Glacier House Resort.
Sunday features an off-road race around a course centred on the motocross track and a new loop trail around the perimeter of the track. A few top riders are expected to show up for the spectator-friendly event.
“The focus is the fun ride. We’re bringing people to Revelstoke to try out our trails in a fun environment,” said Chris Pawlitsky, the president of the Revy Riders. “The race is for those who want to twist their throttle a little harder.”
About 150 dirt bikers are expected to take part in this year’s event. Participants are being asked to pre-register at revyriders.com.