Photos and story by Dawn McClintock
You ever get offered a chance to do something really cool and something really bad happens and it completely crushes your dream of doing it? Well thats exactly what happened to me back in 2010. I was invited to bring a Canadian pro racer over to compete in Icelands premier off-road race, the 6 hour Klaustur TransAtlantic Off-road Challenge. Canadian East Coast pro rider, Mitch Cooke was all lined up and ready to be my guy to represent us in Iceland and pair up with my good friend, native Icelandic crazy guy, Johannes Sveinnbjornsson (lets just call him Joi, everybody else does). My former Racer X Canada comrade and close friend Allison Kennedy was joining myself and Mitch on the journey to photograph and document the story for North American MX media. If everyone remembers correctly, something of epic proportion happened in Iceland in 2010…a volcano decided to erupt the day before we were to fly in for the race. This left air traffic grounded for most continental Europe and beyond and of course the race cancelled for the year. Fast forward to 2014 when Ontario pro rider, Nathan Bles agreed to accompany me and that squashed dream became a reality. A bond was struck with my Icelandic friends and I was encouraged to return again this year with another rider. I asked FXR athlete, Jamie Baskerville if he would be interested and he jumped at the chance. As luck would have it, no volcano erupted and Allison Kennedy (with some unfinished business in Iceland) decided she would like to join us. This is how the story unfolded and epic would be the only word I can use to describe the time spent in this rugged, windswept and sometimes unforgiving but incredibly beautiful country.
Welcome to Iceland! Jamie Baskerville was like a kid in a candy store here.
The view of downtown Rejkavik from the top of Hallgrímskirkja church was spectacular.
Being +63° north has its advantages come summer time. This is Rekjavik at midnight.
The landscape was lush and this time of year was filled with wild lupines that were everywhere. Waterfalls became a common site after a while. This is Seljalandsfoss.
Our Icelandic host and fellow team mate, Joi with his son Matti.
We spent 3 days in Vik which was a short drive from the race location (Kirkjubæjarklaustur, Klaustur for short). This gave the guys a bit of time to get the bikes dialled in and take time out for a few cool photo shoots…
…and there was plenty of time for goofing around and sliding in some goon riding too.
Always remember to stretch before you ride. Speaking of stretching, this has to be THE longest name weve printed on a jersey…ever!
Sorting out optimal spots through the lupines and fog for a photo shoot with AK47.
Wheelies are a thing with Joi. We had to put a wheelie limiter on him over the course of the few days.
Hows this for style check?
The views in Vik were spectacular even in the grey, misty weather. Paragliders jumped from these cliff on sunnier days.
Bikes were prepped and soon enough it was race day.
Filling out your entry form required a translator. Jamie is still working on his Icelandic for his next trip.
Dead engine start with 150 riders at Klaustur Off-road Challenge.
Joi and Jamie thumb wrestled for who was going to start and Jamie won/lost.
Jamie gained a greater respect for rocks while on the 20 min + lap course.
The track has shown years of use with some areas dug deep into the terrain.
Sometimes you have to stand back and just breathe in the beauty surrounding you.
Joi has been competing in the Klaustur Off-road Challenge for a number of years and last year gave deep sand a try, competing in the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. He enjoyed it so much that he will return to race in Abu Dhabi again next year.
A long hard day with some bike issues left our guys finishing 9th for the day.
An abandonned army hospital made for some fun photo opportunties.
You tell us if he saved it…
Joi found quick exit through on old window frame.
Even with the rain it didnt dampen spirits on our final ride day in Iceland.
You couldnt smack that cheese eating (or should I say Corny eating) grin off of Jamies face the whole time we were there.
The black sand beach made for endless amount of freeriding.
For war film buffs, this beach was also the sight for shooting the movie Flags of Our Fathers.
…and the dunes went on forever. When freeriding in Iceland, you should always be respectful to the natural setting and the vegetation surrounding it.
Last stop for the day was at Motomos, a motocross track that was carved out of a gravel pit.
Reynisfjara beach and sea stacks. The entire beach was tiny black pebbles. Jamie found his inner photographer and set up for some sweet shots.
Rocky Reynisfjara beach.
Until next time Iceland. Its been a slice! Whos in for next year?