Calabogie, as wonderful a layout as it is, proved itself to be as dangerous as many feared for the opening Parts Canada race of the season.
Guardrails and lack of run-off in key areas (the track was designed with cars in mind) were a big concern ahead of time, compounded by poor lines of sight due to the hilly nature of the track.
While this of course adds greatly to the fun of riding, nearly every corner is blind coming in for riders, and marshalls have similarly restricted sight lines. In fact, the main marshalling group in Ontario, CRCA, refused to attend the race on safety grounds.
The weekend’s casualty list is scary: Rahul Dua, suffered a compound break to a femur and broke his jaw in a test two days before the racing started. Joey McRae broke his back and fractured his ankle hitting a guardrail while trying to avoid the fallen Jodi Christie’s head after a spectacular accident that saw bikes high in the air. Rob Cousineau suffered a broken pelvis, broken hip, and two broken wrists. Jake Tyler has a broken rib and concussion.
Two top Pros, Matt McBride and Chris Peris (team-mates on the Blackfoot Suzuki team), were extremely lucky to get off lightly when they came together at a high rate of speed; both bikes went into and over a guardrail but the riders missed it.
Not an auspicious start.