One of Canada’s top motocross riders love the sport — and the Penticton Peach Festival — so much, he couldn’t stay retired.
Jeff Fehr wasn’t nervous only moments away from mounting his bike Friday for the Canadian Tire Mega Motocross’s first show of the day.
“I am so excited. I love riding this thing,” he said. “I love the crowds here. It’s just so fun.”
Fehr was the first person in Canada, and ninth person in the world, to go inverted on a dirt bike. He holds the world record for the longest natural terrain back flip, at 32 metres.
It all began with a fascination with dirt bikes and riding them when he was only two years old.
“I think 20 years now I’ve been flipping bikes for a living, and I raced professionally before that. I just love being on a bike.
“I retired a bunch of years ago . . . and then got sucked back into this. It’s just too much fun to stay away,” he said.
Freestyle motocross, he said, is all about the technicality, an aspect he loves.
“It’s one of those things you want to be able to go through the whole show, whatever you’re doing, without being totally exhausted,” he said. “For me, it’s all just fun. It for sure comes with a price every now and then.”
The moment his bike hits the air, he said, he feels an array of emotions “wrapped into a little bundle.”
“It’s excitement, it’s fun, it’s kind of scary, it’s a little nerve-wracking, but you’re a little curious at the same time,” he explained. “It’s exhilarating.”
He’s riding a Honda CRF450 at the moment, decked out in black with a red seat that can’t be missed.
Sledgehammers promotion manager Derek Rouselle said he’s happy to be back for another year.
“The first two shows (Thursday) were absolutely wicked,” he said. “This is one of our favourite places to come, and one of our favourite places to be.”
During the show, free Havoc scooters are given away as prizes to whoever can scream the loudest.
One of Rouselle’s favourite memories of Peachfest is from last year, when a child screamed himself blue to win a free scooter.
“I was actually telling this story . . . to somebody in the crowd, and the kid who actually won the scooter and was turning blue was right beside him. So he’s back again this year!”
The Canadian Tire Mega Motocross’s final shows are Saturday at 1:05 p.m. and 3:45 p.m.
Other Peach Festival highlights Saturday will include the Peters Bros Grande Parade, beginning at 10 a.m.
Musically, there will be tributes at Okanagan Lake Park to AC/DC, Heart, the Eagles and more.
For a complete schedule of events, visit peachfest.com.