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Ontario Cross Country Series - Year in Review

The history making 2010 WEC Cross Country season is now in the books. It was only a short year ago that WEC responded to the dire need to restructure the Ontario Off-Road competition scene with an announcement of a Ontario Cross Country Series.  All existing off-road event organizers and clubs were invited to join in this new direction of the sport and many shared the vision. For years, riders were asking for a change to the antiquated system that was in place wanting to step up to the level that was happening everywhere else in the world.

2010 was a year of change. Many of the advancements appear elementary in retrospect leaving many riders to wonder how the sport went without for so long.

The biggest change brought forth was the use of the flawless WEC timekeeping system with rider transponders, and software that provides instant results. We now have over 300 rider transponders out there in circulation. At $40 each, it is very affordable for the rider and useable for years to come. Another bonus to this system is that these same transponders work in a number of US competition series as well as the Canadian Enduro Championship. By WEC supplying the complete scoring package, this frees up the organizer or club to have less people working the event and allows those people to actually participate in the sport. The riders are now familiar with this scoring system and accept nothing less. The standard has been set.

We introduced Pro Payback. This is the simple system that has been used in many other sports to ensure that our Pro riders actually get paid to ride. WEC uses the same formula that is used in the Canadian Enduro Championship with success and acceptance of the premier riders.

We have been able to attract new sponsors to the sport and will continue to do so as the series becomes more established. We thank would like to thank Ross Rocher Sales, Apex Cycle, Sturgess Cycle, Wiesner Insurance, Rockstar Energy Drink and Royal Distributing in their support of the Ontario Cross Country Championship.

Another first for the sport was the concept of the Holeshot Award that was consistent throughout the series. At each and every round Wiesner Insurance gave away $100 to the Pro who was fastest out of the first turn. It created drama, excitement and serious rivalry among our Pro riders.
  
A referee on site at every race is something new for Off-Road racing. Once again, a simple concept, but never done before. Protests and rule enforcement are handled on site the day of the race. No more waiting for “Head Office” to make a decision. It is absurd that other motorcycle sport disciplines have this and Off-Road was exempt.

We have assembled a rulebook that includes the valuable input of experienced event organizers as well as the CMRC and its loss control experts. The rule structure also mimics WEC’s vision of promotion of the sport and is designed to achieve just that. Our sophisticated advancement system borrowed from the CMRC motocross formula addresses the flaws in many “points or championship only” systems. This system brings new riders in to racing and it has been proven in practice.

Another ground breaking change was the introduction of online competition license purchasing. No longer do racers have to mail written forms to head office and wait for confirmation of acceptance, issuance and race numbers.The rider can purchase his or her license the night before a race and print it at home. That being said, WEC was on site at every race selling new licenses to those unfamiliar with this process. This is another way WEC has removed a task from the organizer that was previously a drain on their labour force.

Insurance is something that WEC takes very seriously as all organizers and sanctioning bodies should. The concept of insurance as most know is the spread of risk (we all take part of the financial responsibility to pay the claims of the few).  As such, anything other than the best policy available is not acceptable. This is one of the reasons why WEC has partnered with the Canadian Motorsport Racing Corporation, as having access to the best policy in the business is paramount. Cross Country is wheel to wheel racing and CMRC knows that business. Our Competition License carries part of the valuable insurance component needed and operating a competition series such as this without proper coverage puts the whole sport across the country and beyond in jeopardy.

The WEC website is something else of which we have become proud. People now have become used to obtaining up to date information about upcoming races, complete rule books, sponsor information and race news. We also have direct email contact so questions can be addressed quickly and directly. We field questions every day from new and existing riders as well as interested sponsors. We experienced some glitches early in the year with our ability to update and some viewer access. This was entirely due to popularity and we had to expand our band width three times to get to the point we are at now. We attained 1.4 million hits on our website by 36,000 unique visitors. These are impressive numbers that we were not quite ready for but we are now equipped. Our results page is highly detailed and results are posted in most cases the same day as the race itself. Comparing lap times and watching the points chase has never been easier. Once again, it’s about time the off-road community had this privilege.

WEC has recently held an organizer / promoter meeting to lay out plans for 2011. Feedback was solicited regarding changes and for continued improvement of the series. At this point, we can say that 2011 will be bigger and better than 2010. More events and more new venues will be featured. Our push towards faster courses incorporating motocross tracks where possible will continue. Improved cross promotion to the motocross world will happen as well as exciting new promotion ideas. Details on the 2011 season will begin to be released in early December.

WEC wholeheartedly thanks organizers: Niagara Timberline Riders, Burnt River Off-Road, Motopark, K W Cyclesport, Lynn Valley Dirt Riders, Vienna Trail Riders, Dirty Bikes Racing, and Erie Ramblers for a great 2010 season. Most importantly we would like to thank the hundreds of WEC Competition License holders and WEC transponder owners, as it is these racers that agree that Off-Road racing in Ontario should not be second to any other motorcycle discipline.

Congratulations to all racers for your accomplishments in 2010 and we look forward to seeing you in 2011.


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