With so many great predecessors for inspiration, it’s no wonder British Columbia has kept producing top-notch motocross talent generation after generation. In fact Canada’s first ‘official’ motocross champs were BC natives: Tom Richardson (Open) and Vern Amor (250) entered their names into the history books way back in 1958, when the sport was still called scrambling. Twenty-two years after these pioneers tore up the tracks, yet another west coaster, Surrey’s Terry Hofoss, rattled the National Motocross rank and file.
Legends of Canadian Motocross
Preserving the History of Canadian Motocross
Legends of Canadian Motocross (LCM) project is aimed at preserving the history of Canadian Motocross and all those whose contributions have become legendary. It is as much an educational tool as it is a resource and cornerstone to the legacy of MX in Canada. Our goal is to publish a racing bio of all of the great Motocrossers that have excelled to be champions. You can help by contributing to the library.
Created by Bill Petro as a way to display some of the thousands of images that were captured through his career as a Photojournalist within the Canadian motorcycle community. In 1972 while attending Photography courses at Connestoga College in Kitchener Ontario, he started going to the Motocross races that his brother George was racing in. It was a great way to practice his photo skills . Soon his pictures were being purchased by the riders and then the magazines. It wasn't long before his talents were noticed by Cycle Canada Magazine. At the time it was a new national magazine with all of the motorcycle news for the Canadian enthusiasts.
Zoli Berenyi Sr. brought his family to Canada from Hungary in 1957 along with a love for motorcycles, which was his primary means of transportation in the old country. At the ripe old age of 25 Berenyi entered, and won, his first sanctioned Alberta provincial race in 1959 aboard a 250 Royal Enfield. He had never raced before but motocross might as well have been invented for him.
By the late 70’s the Golden Years of Canadian Motocross had come to an end, as did the boom years of Motorcycle Sales in Canada. The last Motocross Grand Prix had been held at Mosport in 1979. During the mid 80’s thru the mid 90’s sales of Motorcycles plummeted from more than 100,000 units per year to as low as 20,000.
It’s hard to believe that during the 1960s motorsport legend Yvon Duhamel helped supplement his racing income performing such tasks as pumping gas and working on a Montreal garbage truck. Yet that, and other equally menial jobs one would never associate with a man who is arguably the most successful and best motorcycle and snowmobile racer ever to come out of Canada, is exactly what he was doing.
Even though we have never enjoyed the status of a major "motocross country" the sport does have a rich tradition in Canada, dating back more than five decades. And, over the years, many great champions have gone into the record books. Most of us, however, are at a loss to name more than just a few, if any. In an age where things move at the speed of light, and fame and recognition are more fleeting than ever, the old adage of "here today, gone tomorrow" is more aptly expressed as "here today, gone later today".
Compared to most of his contemporaries, who started racing dirt bikes as early as the age of nine, Jean Sebastien Roy, who was affectionately known as "JSR" to his legion of fans in Canada and the United States, didn't get into sanctioned motocross competition until the age of 14. The fact that he was a relatively late starter, however, never deterred the Acton Vale, Quebec native from rapidly rising through the ranks. Practically from day one he exhibited a smooth, natural riding style. More importantly, he proved to be incredibly fast. Roy served notice early in his career that he would be a rider to contend with. In 1989 he won the CMA's National 125cc & 250cc Novice Championships. A year later he claimed the 125cc National Intermediate Championship.
Courtenay, British Columbia’s Darcy Lange started riding dirtbikes when he was four-years old. He began sanctioned racing at the age of 12. Two years later he garnered the 80cc BC Provincial Championship. It was evident from early on that Lange, who spent most of his career racing Kawasaki both in Canada and the U.S., was one of those rare, naturally talented riders who was destined for greatness in the sport of dirt bike racing. Although he never managed to nail down a pro national championship, Lange was a frontrunner in both MX2 and MX1, once he turned pro in 1998. That year, at the age of 15, he recorded a noteworthy fifth place in the CMRC 125/250cc National Motocross Championship
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.