Whitecroft brothers aim to complete BC Cup circuit

Three medals for locals in Sun Peaks DH race

Morgan O'Brien giving it his best in the BC Cup Race in Sun Peaks. - Photo Jamie Shinkewski
Morgan O’Brien giving it his best in the BC Cup Race in Sun Peaks. – Photo Jamie Shinkewski

Two brothers from Whitecroft are the only local downhill riders to have competed in every stop on the BC Cup circuit this summer.

Morgan and Owen O’Brien have four races each under their belts this season in the Sport 17-18 Men category and plan to attend all six races with upcoming events in Silver Star and Fernie in August.

“Last year we just started getting our feet wet and we didn’t do all of them and we raced in the open category, but this year we bought a UCI license and we’re planning on going to every BC Cup,” said 17-year-old Morgan.

The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) license allows racers to collect points at each race for overall standings, which creates a more competitive environment.

“Usually the guys in the sport category are a little faster because they’re looking to be more competitive,” Morgan said. “Other than that it’s about the same age category and you’re running the same course.”

After four races, 16-year-old Owen sits in fourth place in the overall standings and Morgan is ninth.

Owen O'Brien goes through a turn at the BC Cup race in Sun Peaks. - Photo Jamie Shinkewski
Owen O’Brien goes through a turn at the BC Cup race in Sun Peaks. – Photo Jamie Shinkewski

“He’s faster than me and I know that,” Morgan said. “He’s more out there looking to go faster and win more. I’m just out there to have fun. It’s not as big of a rivalry as it could be.”

The BC Cup race season opened on May 29 at Race the Ranch in Kamloops. Owen placed eighth in the opening race and Morgan was 17th. They were joined by local racers Gabriel Neron, who placed third, and Riley Holowatiuk, who placed fifth, in the 13-16 Boys category.

“They’re good friends. I love riding with them. It’s tons of fun,” Morgan said. “We can share lines, try to figure out how we can all be faster as a group. It usually works out pretty well.”

Owen placed fifth and Morgan 10th at the Western Open in Kicking Horse on July 3 and Neron won the 13-16 Boys category.

The O’Briens were the only local competitors at the Canada Cup in Panorama Resort on July 17 where Owen finished sixth and Morgan ninth.

Most recently, they competed at the BC Cup race which ran as part of the 2016 Canadian Downhill Mountain Bike Championships in Sun Peaks on July 24. Owen placed 10th and Morgan finished 14th.

Three Heffley Creek riders finished on the podium. Holowatiuk claimed the silver medal and Benton Kilba won bronze in the 13-16 Boys category.

The Bicycle Café’s Cheryl Beattie won the gold medal and Kelly Kozevnikov claimed bronze in the Open 30+ Women division. Neron didn’t start due to an injury suffered in training. George Terwiel placed 14th in the Open 30+ Men category.

The BC Cup wraps up with races in Silver Star on Aug. 7 and in Fernie on Aug. 26.