Over 90 riders from throughout southern B.C. are expected to converge on the Merritt area over the Thanksgiving weekend for the annual Bar Bender motorcycle races. Organized by the Nicola Valley Dirt Riders Association, the Bar Bender event will be held at the NVDRA usual site, approximately nine kilometres up Aberdeen Road in Lower Nicola.

There will be a friendly poker run on the Saturday, as well as a peewee course for the youngsters. Sunday will feature the actual Bar Bender Classic — the final race in the 2013 Pacific Northwest Motorcycle Association’s 18-race series, with “A” and “B” courses for pro and amateur riders respectively.

“Onsite registration for the poker run on Satruday starts at 9 a.m.,” NVDRA president Scott Dearden said, “and will continue right up until the run begins at 11 a.m. The poker run itself will go for about three hours, with awards sometime around 4 p.m.

“Sunday, registration for the Bar Bender will start at 7:30 a.m. and continue until the riders’ meeting at 10:30 a.m. Racing will actually begin at 11 a.m. and last until about 2 p.m.”

Dearden is quite excited about this year’s Bar Bender races on Sunday.

“It’s going to be really gnarly for the “A” riders, while the “B” course is a bit easier to accommodate some of the young riders who take part. We’ve cleared a lot of new trail and made the races much more spectator-friendly in terms of the start and finish and the pit area,” he said. “We’ve also added the Snow Run Hill to both the “A” and “B” courses. It’s kind of a legendary spot on the Aberdeen Road, across from the turnoff to the gun range. All the long-time racers from around here know it. It’s really steep and troughed out. It should provide for plenty of excitement, and is a great place for spectators to watch from.”