There’s no need to worry about an earthquake if the ground starts shaking in Vernon this September. It’s most likely the cavalry of motorcycles.
Vernon has been chosen as the final destination for the 44th annual Three Flags Classic Motorcycle Tour, which means more than 250 motorcyclists of all ages will come off Highway 6 and roll down 32 Street to the Vernon Lodge.
“Vernon has been very welcoming and we’ve had really good feedback from the city,” said Dave Senger, the tour’s finishing director.
Each year, the tour picks a new starting point in Mexico and a new final destination in Western Canada. Vernon is the first Okanagan city to be chosen.
The tour revs up on Friday, Aug. 30, in San Luis Rio Colorado, Mexico, where riders will begin a trip that will take them through the wild west of the U.S. before reaching Vernon by Sept. 2, at the latest. The fastest riders are expected to finish the staggering 3,285-kilometre by Aug. 31—a day after the start date.
The riders will stop at two mandatory checkpoints in Idaho and Nevada before reaching the finish line in Vernon. They’ll have their “passports” stamped at each stop to keep track of their journey.
Senger knows exactly how gruelling the distance is for riders: he himself saddled up for the Three Flags tour back in 2014.
“It’s an epic journey, let me tell you,” he said. “You get up at three in the morning and you put in 14 to 16 hour days of riding.”
The event promises to be a nice tourism boost—since the tour participants will likely mosey around the Okanagan for a while after being on the bike for several straight days.
“They’ll take the route here but when they disperse to go back to the U.S. and wherever they come from in Canada or Mexico, they’ll probably stay in the Okanagan,” Senger said.
The public is welcome to head to the Vernon Lodge as the bikers come in, where they can see bikes of all models and sizes that just finished cruising across three countries. Folks can also attend a large banquet and a performance by the Kalamalka Highlanders Pipe Band.
The Three Flags Classic truly is a journey for all ages. The youngest finisher at last year’s tour was 22 years old and the oldest was 86.
The event is not considered a race and finishing times are not recorded.
Organized by the Southern California Motorcycling Association, the tour has garnered sponsors from Vernon throughout the Okanagan, as well as some from the U.S.
Registration is USD$285, and all riders and bikes are welcome to join if space allows.
Visit SC-MA.com for online tickets, tour registration and more information.