After weeks of speculation and hearsay, it looks like an agreement is in the works for Jetwerx to buy CMRC and SPI (Stallybrass Promotions Inc.) from Mark Stallybrass. As we all know, the CMRC took over from the CMA back in 1992 in Ontario and soon after became the main sanctioning body in Canada. Since then CMRC has sanctioned amateur events including regionals, provincials and amateur nationals, and SPI has promoted over 200 pro nationals. They say that in life, even the best things don’t last forever and change is always inevitable. Is this what is happening here? Perhaps!
Certainly no one involved in motocross for the past two decades can argue how far the CMRC has taken this sport. On the pro side of things, the top riders racing the Canadian series have been given the opportunity to make a living as an athlete in this tough sport. They’ve also been given the chance to be part of large scale teams, with a chosen few being able to work out of massive semi-trucks. Basically, the CMRC pro series, since it went through its big format change in 2000, has been a series that has been at times envied around the world. Proof of this would be the long list of riders that have travelled here from countries like Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and of course the USA to race our national series. Names like Brett Metcalfe, Davi Millsaps, Doug Dubach, Dean Wilson, Ryan Villopoto, and recently Christophe Pourcel are just a few examples of the global motocross talent that has graced our Canadian soil. Yes, there have been hiccups and head shaking moments over the years, but that is how it is with any series where everyone involved is participating in a sport that at the best of times is very unpredictable. Honestly, though, there haven’t been too many people at the CMRC pro nationals in the past few years who can’t say that it hasn’t been some of the best racing they’ve ever seen.
With a national series running strong, it’s been the regional racing events where we’ve seen the entries drop in recent years due to many outside factors. Additionally, many opportunistic groups have surfaced in recent years, primarily in provinces like BC, and Ontario, which has created a volatile racing scene, and over the years, history has proven time and time again that if there’s one thing that this industry and its riders hate, it’s instability. Will this purchase of the CMRC bring a little more stability to regional motocross in Canada? Quite possibly yes, as there certainly might be more of a desire to put differences aside and work together. However, with the CMA back from certain obscurity as Jetwerx’s national series sanctioning body and other regional clubs like AMO wanting to expand, there looks to be a lot of sorting out to be had in our sport’s very near future.
So, what do we know? We know it looks like Jetwerx will purchase the CMRC/SPI from Mark Stallybrass. This allows Mark to take a big step back and pursue other interests that he’s wanted to do for a long time. Love him, hate him, or hardly even know him, there is little doubt that Mark has earned some time off, and most likely a future place in the Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame. In case you don’t remember, he took over Canadian motocross in the early 1990s when it was lying on the operating table, dying a slow death. At the time, the economy was bad and the CMA had no vision, and sadly no desire to listen to anyone on how to make improvements and instill some life into the sport. Basically, it was just a tough time in our sport. Then, out of the blue came Mark and his plan to make things better. Regardless of the propaganda you’ve heard, he leaves this sport with it in much better shape than when he entered, and that is all that matters. He’s been doing this for 28 years, so he probably needs a break.
To have someone like Justin Thompson come in with this offer and try to pick up where Mark has now left off is a good thing, for both gentlemen, as well as for the sport. We also hear that the national series in 2018 will most likely consist of nine rounds, with races at a few of the existing tracks, as well as a return to facilities like Sand Del Lee and Walton Raceway. Then there is the Arenacross schedule, beginning in late February, as well as the end of year Supercross events, all sponsored by Rockstar Energy.
For now, that is about all we know. How all else plays out can only be answered by the hands of time. Now, I’m sure everyone is eager to see what the next era holds with Justin Thompson steering the ship.