Another Triple Crown For Pederson
Instead of retiring in 1991 like he had threatened to do Ross “Rollerball” Pederson chalked up another 3 for 3 nationals season by claming the title in the 125, 250 and 500cc Classes. The Medicine Hat Alberta native, at 30 one of the oldest Expert Riders on the track, is still a match for the young hot shots out to dethrone him.
In the 1991 Canadian Expert Nationals, 30 year old Ross "Rollerball" Pederson scored his fith, "triple crown" Nationals sweep, much to the chagrin of his younger competitors.
The Rollerball's detractors will of course point out the fact that defending overall champion Carl Vaillancourt's absence from a number of nationals contributed to the Albertan's Three class dominance in 1991.
Maybe so, But Pederson's superiority over Vaillancourt in the 1990 125 and 250cc Nationals (he didn't compete in the open class that year) doesn't leave much to the imagination. The Albertan, despite his advanced age, in circa 1991 is still the best Canada has in the way of motocross.
Injuries take their Toll. Esso/Honda Canada's Carl Vaillancourt wasn't the only top ten rider who struggled through last season with physical problems.
Machine Racing/Honda Canada's Jeff Surwall rode the entire season with a fractured knee. He still managed to hang on to a top five plate, dropping only one position from #3 to #4 Surwall's tough-as-nails attitude saw him grin and bear it through the Ontario Championships and win the title in all three classes, however.
Kawasaki Canada's Lino Zecca succumbed to a number of injuries in 1991. Although he managed to hang in for all the Nationals he had to trade his #10 plate for #14.
The only rider to actually up his ranking despite injuries was Bill Wallin. The Ontario Mx Rider ATC corral/Suzuki sponsored rider didn't let wrist problems and a broken thumb keep him from swiching his #9 ranking for a very respectable #3.
Major Shake-up in Top Ten Rankings
No doubt, Carl "The Drummondville Flier" Vaillancourt would have done better than a #5 ranking had he been spared from injuries in 1991. Whether he could have kept a hot riding Suzuki Canada's Ross Pederson from taking away his #1 overall ranking is debatable.
Former National Champion Allan Dyck, the only rider besides Ross Pederson to ever score a "triple crown" sweep in one season, managed to keep his #2 ranking intact through consistent points scoring. The Yamaha Canada rider is the only top tenner who wont' have to change his number plate for 1992
Vacating the top ten club along with Lino Zecca is Don Formo (Suzuki), Shane Drew (Honda), Darrel Martens (Kawasaki), and Chris Shipclark (Suzuki).
Making their first entry into the top ten club are three up-and comers and one former great on the come-back trail. Burr Racing/Kawasaki sponsored Marty Burr, a former schoolboy (1985) and 125/250cc Seniors National Champion (1986), rejoined the Expert Nationals circuit after a two and a half year retirement to bring home a #10 ranking considering he didn't ride the two western rounds, nor any of the 500cc Nationals, one can only say that Burr made an impressive come-back.
Another impressive ride was delivered by Chris Lemmon, also sponsored by Burr Racing/Kawasaki. Lemmon improved on his 1990 #12 ranking by six places to score a #6 plate.
By far the most impressive results were nailed down by two unranked rookies, Ontario's Brad Lockhart and Quebec's Jean-Sebastien Roy. Odyssey Park/Suzuki sponsored Lockhart garnered a #8 ranking while Laliberte Moto/Honda sponsored Roy nailed down a #9 ranking.
Completing the top ten is a virtually unknown (in the east) Albertan, Robin Dohlman. The Milne Bros. Cycle/Kawasaki sponsored rider took over the #7 slot after finishing 13th in 1990.
All in All the 1991 Nationals season was a successful one for Ontario riders, they grabbed 5 spots in the top 10 rankings.