NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR
Riverview Motocross is getting ready to wrap up another successful race season.
Riverview Motocross has been operating out of Butlerville for approximately six years now. The family-oriented business started from a genuine love of the sport of motocross, and has since grown into a full-scale operation with twice-monthly dirt bike races and other events.
The course is located on a 100-acre property about a six-kilometer drive from Bay Roberts.
With their sixth summer in the books, Riverview Motocross is getting ready to put the bikes to bed for another season, with one last race before they finish up in early September.
Samantha O’Neill is one of the company’s owners. She told The Compass that while the business has been operating for less than a decade, her family has been involved in the motocross world for nearly of 20 years, dating back to when her brother would spend every waking minute he could on the seat of a dirt bike.
“We started out by going out to Bell Island on a track out there. We’d stand in line for hours just to get tickets to catch a 25-minute ferry ride out to the island, but it was never a hassle for us. We loved it,” she says, recalling those early days. “My brother was the top rider in the province for a couple years, and my father was head of the Newfoundland Motocross Association. Between all of us, and all the people who have joined us since then, we’ve managed to really make something out of a passion.”
O’Neill explains it wasn’t quite an easy journey to making Riverview Motocross a reality.
Before settling on Butlerville, O’Neill says they kept their eyes open for any opportunities in the province. However, not all communities were on board with the idea of the track.
“A lot of people were worried about there being bikes going up and down the roads all the time to get to the track. I think that idea might have set some people off in these other towns,” she says, noting that since opening up Riverview Motocross back in 2011, they haven’t received any complaints. “We don’t ever let people leave the property on their bikes, we put our feet down on that one as soon as we opened up and, so far, it’s worked out.”
O’Neill also notes that operating out of Butlerville in Bay Roberts has been nothing short of a pleasure, highlighting the “warm reception” they received from council and residents alike, and the continuing support they receive from the town.
“Bay Roberts has treated us so good over the years, too. We’re really lucky to be able to operate out of here.”
In turn, she says, the town sees a significant boost in visitors during the season thanks to the presence of one of the province’s only motocross tracks. Hundreds of people travel to the area from across the island to either watch, participate or volunteer at the track.
“I definitely think we’ve been something of an asset to Bay Roberts,” says O’Neill. We get a lot of people that drive out to the area when it comes time for a race or some other event we throw off, so I can only imagine that these people are taking advantage of everything else the town has to offer while they’re here, especially if they come from further away and end up staying for a night or two.”
In addition to the racing events Riverview Motocross offers classes at their track. The instructors —experienced dirtbike riders —help newcomers get comfortable on a bike, starting right from the basics and eventually getting them to a point where they feel comfortable enough to take their skills out to a track, whether that be the motocross track at Riverview Motocross or an off-road trail.
O’Neill says the classes have become so popular in recent years they’ve had to seek out more instructors. This year, one of the largest classes saw approximately 60 students.
On top of all this, Riverview Motocross offers plenty of other things oriented toward families and children, including a new freestyle ramp, a mud track for jeep owners, and over 40 campsites.
“We really are like one big family now,” O’Neill says as she looks out over the track located at the center of the property. “We wouldn’t be able to do this without all the dedicated volunteers that come by every year to help out.
“After all this time, they’re more than just volunteers – they’re our friends and family, who all share this one big passion with us. It’s really something special, to be able to throw off such fun events every year.”