Tharon Cesselli competes in back to back night and day races

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Tharon Cesslli hurtles down the log obstacles during the Night Pig race on May 21.

Tharon Cesslli hurtles down the log obstacles during the Night Pig race on May 21.

On May 21, Barriere’s Tharon Cesselli competed for the first time in a night race, The Night Pig, in the Pacific North West Motorcycle Association (PNWMA) Off Road Racing Series (Interior) (ORS-I) held in Vernon/Lumby area and the next day he raced again in the regular PNWMA race on different trails at the same location.

To compete in a night race, Tharon was required to install an aftermarket head light on his bike and wear a helmet lamp.  This being Tharon’s first night race, it was sure to be an educational experience.  On one occasion after a dramatic crash, Tharon found himself separated from his bike and had difficulty relocating it in the night darkness.  He quickly learned that a glow stick attached to the handle bars would’ve made it much easier to find it as it laid stalled on its side over an embankment.

The night race was meant to be fun and that is exactly what it was; this racer was sold on night racing!  By the end of the three hour adventure filled night, Tharon placed seventh out of 10 in his first night race.

The next day, on May 22, Tharon competed in the Squealin’ Pig (day) race while still feeling the strain from the previous night’s competition.  With trail names like “the Happy Trail” and “the Root Canal” it pretty much defined what may lay ahead – a mix of some smooth and easy, some bad and brutal, and probably some downright ugly.  The wet spring and recent rain helped to make this race more difficult.  At noon sharp, 14 clean motorbikes and optimistic riders launched off the start and raced into the forest for several minutes before they reappeared at the entertaining Enduro section.  Tharon chose to take the Enduro for each of his four laps over the longer, winding forest trail.   After the riders exited the Enduro they disappeared again on forest trails where they encountered a mix of mud holes, steep rocky hills, and slippery forest trails before they would reappear and finish each lap in a motocross section.  When the riders returned with their first lap behind them, most of the riders and bikes were obscured beyond recognition under a thick layer of trail mud.  In no time the riders were soaked with water and mud.  On Tharon’s second lap he pitted long enough to exchange his soggy gloves and goggles for fresh clean ones, knowing the comforting feeling of dry hands was only temporary.

On Tharon’s final lap, he became stuck in a muddy section that progressively became worse as the riders challenged it that afternoon.  Tharon had no choice but to dismount and drag his bike out of the mud, and while he was doing so another rider rode in and also became stuck.  It is a common courtesy to assist other riders and like many other races before and most likely those still yet to come, Tharon helped free the rider from the mud before they both mounted their bikes and continued their way to the finish line.

By the end of the day, Tharon had raced four laps and finished in 11th place.

Tharon’s is looking forward to his next race held in his familiar racing territory in Kamloops on May 29.