Words by Chris Pomeroy
With the 30th Anniversary of the Walton TransCan just around the corner, I thought it would be fun to look back at some of my favourite Walton Raceway and TransCan moments from over the years. It will be challenging to condense my memorable moments into just three stories but I’m going to do my best to try. As with everyone I’m sure, this iconic event has been an annual part of my life for so many years, and while I’ve missed a lot of TransCan ‘after dark’ events I have so many cool memories from Walton that go back to when I was just a young child.
It’s hard to believe that we’re celebrating 30 years of the TransCan with what could be the largest one ever next week. The Walton TransCan has survived many things including uncontrollable events from Mother Nature and of course Covid-19, but through it all the Walton crew has persevered and as evident with the number of entries in 2022, this race is as strong as it’s ever been. So let’s hope the Walton Rooster, Dave Bell, and Gauldy are resting their vocal cords this week because all three are about to be very busy in a few day’s time. So as the famous announcer at Hully Gully (a track that was located ironically not far from Walton Raceway) used to say, “Pitter Patter let’s get at her.”
My first memory of Walton Raceway goes way back to even before the TransCan first began. I believe the year was 1979 and at the time I was already a moto-loving 6-year-old who had a Suzuki JR50 to ride at home, but since there weren’t any 50cc classes back then I couldn’t race anywhere. However, I had a cousin (Dean Woodcock) who raced so sometimes my dad and I would drive to a few local races to watch. Usually, it was Moto Park as that was the closest track to our home. This time though we drove over to Walton Raceway to see what that track was all about. It’s funny because even though a lot has obviously changed over the years with regards to what the property looks like, whenever I look at the tree section around the famous Natural Double, in my head it looks identical to how it looked to me in 1979. Other than the natural terrain and hard-packed soil that day, the only other thing I remember from that day is that Jeff Sutherland crashed hard and ended up breaking his leg. Jeff was racing in the highly competitive 100cc class and sadly got one of the jumps wrong. At the time the 100cc class (today this class is the Supermini class) was one of the most exciting classes of the day to watch as it always produced some incredible racing. Who knew at the time that in the next 40 years I would be creating so many more memories at that Walton farm, including taking my own 6-year-old son there to race in 2013? More on that memory later.
As far as racing at Walton Raceway my first experience came in 1994 when the new Mark Stallybrass Pro National Series travelled there for its final round. At the time the series was still just in the east with rounds in Ontario and Quebec so it only made sense to have a round at Walton Raceway, the home of a new event called the Walton TransCan. In 1994 the TransCan was still in its infancy stage so as a pro rider we didn’t know what to expect. All we knew was that the final round of the nationals was going to consist of three days of racing and multiple motos. Yes, in 1994 the pro’s raced two motos on Friday, two more on Saturday, and then I think at least two more on Sunday. Also, that year it rained for the first two days so most of our races took place in the mud. It was an exhausting introduction to racing at Walton Raceway and thankfully the pro series went back to a normal format the following year. Since that weekend in 1994 Walton Raceway has held a pro-national every year except 2016. For purely political reasons Walton Raceway was not awarded a national that year.
What a run of great racing it’s been in “Motocross Town” and next weekend we get to do it all again as Round 9 of the Triple Crown Series will take place. What began as a vision to try and duplicate what was happening at Loretta Lynn’s quickly turned into something so large and so special that it takes just one short question to know exactly what you’re talking about. Ask someone in any part of this great country “Are you going to Walton?” and they instantly know what you mean. Stay tuned as on Friday I’ll bring you Part 2 of my favourite Walton Memories.