The City of Langford officially opened the Jordie Lunn Bike Park on Irwin Road on Tuesday, as around 50 community members and intimates of the late mountain biking legend gathered to pay tribute.
Before Darren Berrecloth, pro mountain biker and close friend of Lunn, rode through the park’s red ribbon, Lunn’s mother, Bonnie, was among those who made remarks.
“Our whole family is so grateful for the opening of this amazing park,” she said. “With all of your commitment, your building skills, your energy and hard work moving mountains of dirt and rock … you’ve made such an amazing legacy for our Jordie,” she said, referring to the city, the Wheelhouse Cycling Society and the legion of volunteers who developed the 20-acre bike park.
The labour of volunteers likely accounted for $3 million in the two-year build of Lunn’s signature park, said Mayor Stew Young.
“Half of this park was built on the backs of volunteers,” he said. “This is a really important part of our community now, and it’s just going to grow.”
A recreational project of this scale would have taken years longer to complete were it not for Young and council’s support of staff ideas, said Langford city manager Darren Kiedyk.
Lunn, a Canadian mountain biking star, died in 2019 as the result of a head injury while trail riding in Mexico. The native of Langford made an international name for himself as the fastest downhill racer in this country and the highest-ranked Canadian in North America.
The park in his name has been open since May 28. It includes mountain and multi-use trails, a pump track, zones for skills building and jumps and a professional jump line; the last of which would have been the mainstay for Lunn himself, said Berrecloth.
“From travelling the globe for the last 20 or some odd years, I’d say this would be by far the best park in North America,” he said. The park’s size and variety of features make it nonetheless accessible and enticing to every riding level, he added.
With the addition of downhill and peddle-up trails in the park’s second phase, “you’ll have all elements of mountain biking, minus a chairlift, right here in this one facility.”
As for safety considerations, Langford emergency services have mapped a number of emergency access points; several walk-ins and one vehicle accessible route near the park’s largest jumps, said Langford fire department Capt. Paul Obersteller.
Second and third phases of the park will see the addition of a downhill trail and clubhouse, respectively, within the next year. Much of the current and planned park additions were dependent on a donation of 100 acres of land from Westhills Land Corporation, said Young.
Although definitive plans for events will have to wait until COVID-19 “is a little bit behind us,” Young said the city plans to use the park for children’s events as well as national competitions.
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