The weather here in Onterrible is like the rest of Canada right now: amazingly uncertain! Plus 8 on Monday, to negative 14 Thursday. You mix in the insanity with our government and the skyrocketing prices, and Costa Rica looks pretty tempting. I have some friends who recently sold their home and made this move. I’m very intrigued by it since, by all accounts, it seems like a lateral move for health care and other things Canada has, but with that big bonus of weather. I don’t know if I could leave Canada, even in the hot mess it is right now. If I weren’t so dedicated to moto/work, maybe my mind would change. I do love my country, and this week’s blog is dedicated to that with a moto twist to it.
I’m a proud fan. No matter the sport, I love seeing Canadians do well at just about anything. I have always shared the lack of “take the chance on you” mentality the past ten years or so. There have been some splashes of chance-taking but nothing worth bragging about – especially in supercross. In MX we have numerous moments that have helped us wave the Canadian flag in honor, but not as much supercross. Preparation is the simple ingredient missing as well as lack of belief in oneself to just f$#%^& go for it. Well, now that all seems to be changing for the better of our country, the sport itself in Canada, and the athletes showing they do want to try and step out of their comfort zone. I’m sure I will miss some names on this list. Still, I want to mention some of our Canadian heroes that stepped out of their comfort zone like our current heroes Cole Thompson, Jesse Pettis (although injured, he was slotted to race SX this year), Julien Benek, Guillaume St-Cyr, and Tanner Ward.
**All of the info below is found in the Racer X Vault
Ross Pederson: From 1981 – 1990 he raced SX. His best series result was 9th in 1987. Ross was never really known for his indoor skills, but he never backed down from a race. His best single event results were a 6th which he earned three times. (Daytona 1986, Houston and Pontiac 1,1987).
Bill Wallin: From 1989 – 1995 Bill raced SX. His best series result was 21st in the 125 class in 1989, and his best result was an 8th that same year at the Miami round of the series. Bill, much like Ross, was never “Mr. Indoors” but he sure was all heart when it mattered.
JSR: 1993-1999 JSR lined up for SX. JSR knocked out a decent 12th in the 1995 125 SX competition. He managed two 6th place finishes for his best single event results. 1993 Daytona and 1995 Indianapolis. JSR helped many of us Canucks become proud of his heart, skill, and work ethic in other Country’s playgrounds.
Carl Vaillancourt: 1987 – 1993. The bike eater raced a solid amount of SX. His best series was 1989, ending in 13th 125 East. In 1989 Atlanta, he crossed the checkers in the 5th spot. That is pretty fricken good, considering he was likely 25-30 lbs bigger than most of the competition. That wasn’t fat either; Carl was/is a beast.
Doug Dehaan – 1994 – 2006 for little Dougie D under the bright lights fo SX. 14th overall in the 1997 125 East series was his best. His best event result came that same year in St Louis went he nabbed a 6th. I would bet money that DD was one of the most underrated SX riders of his time.
Darcy Lange 2002-2007 for easily the best results and likely Canada’s best SX racer of all time. In 2007 Darcy landed a ride with the all-mighty Pro Circuit team. A fill-in spot would lead to a 3rd in that title chase behind Ben Townley and Ryan Morais. His skill opened the eyes of US teams to Canadian talent.
Dusty Klatt 2006-2008. Klatt had arguably the best opportunities on teams in the US; some may say even better than Darcy. He managed an 8th twice as a best single event results: 2006 Orlando and 2007 Seattle in the 125/250class.
Cole Thompson 2012 – 2022. Cole has had the longest career in SX since Ross Pederson. He may not have had the success like Darcy Lange for the results and “wow” factor, but it would be safe to say, or one could argue that he has had the best SX career for any Canadian ever inside the SX circle. He was still showing that skill just recently in 2022 on the West series at nearly 30 years of age. The magical night that James Stewart delivered in 2014 in Canada inside the Rogers Centre was the same night Cole grabbed his best result with a 5th.
Like I mentioned at the top of this stat sheet, I did not get everyone’s name and maybe missed some individual efforts that rival some of these iconic Canadian racer’s stats. These names above have painted a picture that in size is small, but the uplifting and following of a nation was huge. The best part of each of them (minus the 2007 year for Lange and 2007/2008 for Klatt where both were on US-based teams) was that they took their own money, drive, and a massive passion for the sport and took a chance on that big stage. Yes, they had help, but it was their pride with a slice of ego that pushed them to do this. Taking a chance on yourself is life’s most significant step. I’m a proud racer that did it a few times, and now I’m a proud fan watching the next generation do it. At a time when waving the Canadian flag is very questionable, I still wave it with no question at all for a Canadian racer taking their shot to become bigger than just their country.