Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame - Inductees to The Class of 2015

classof2015

Front row, L-R: Jim Allen, Marilyn Irwin representing her husband, inductee the late Bert Irwin, Muriel Kelly, Warren Thaxter, Chris Evans
Back row, L-R: John Kehoe, Kellee Irwin, representing her father, inductee the late Bert Irwin, Mike Kelly, representing his father, inductee the late Jim Kelly, John Ranger, George Morin, Al Johnson

Warren Thaxter

Very few men have had such a profound effect in growing the sport of off road motorcycling in Canada as Warren Thaxter. His influence runs deep touching almost every type of off road, trail and adventure riding currently happening in Ontario. Warren was constantly introducing ideas and concepts that were way ahead of their time and are only now being recognized as best practice. Warren began riding off road motorcycles in the 1970's and was involved competitively riding enduros, eventually reaching the expert level and even rode the … [Read more...]

Ted Sturgess, Sr. – Historical Inductee

It’s a huge asset, if you want to become involved with motorcycles, when your family also has a passion for bikes and owns a motorcycle shop on top of it. Ted Sturgess, born in Hamilton in 1920 was the son of Herbert “Pops” Sturgess who had been riding for many years and competing in hillclimbs and on the track, riding Excelsiors and Matchless machines. It was no surprise when Ted began riding at 10 and by age 18, was racing a Royal Enfield at half mile meets. Within two years he won the 3 and 5 mile A.C.U. Championship half mile races and … [Read more...]

Robert & Bryan Sparks – Historical Inductees

Historical records state that Billy Mathews was the first Canadian to win the Daytona 200 in 1941 but he wasn’t the first Canadian to win a National American event. That honour goes to Bob Sparks who in 1939 won the Langhorne, Pennsylvania 100 mile dirt track race on a Norton and became the first Canadian to win an American National Championship and the first on a non American motorcycle. Langhorne was notoriously known as the most dangerous dirt track in America. Bob had ridden hard at Langhorne for several years, in the money, but never … [Read more...]

John Ranger

Popular Mechanics magazine was the place to look for innovative gadgets and machinery; do it yourself projects for the man who was a little handy with some tools and in 1967, that’s how John Ranger’s first bike came to be. His father, Hector, built a minibike from the book’s plans using a bicycle frame, a Jacobson lawnmower motor and wheelbarrow wheels. John grew up in Port Colborne and once the minibike was completed it wasn’t long before he was out tearing around the course behind Robin Hood Flour Mills. From the minibike, he acquired a … [Read more...]

George Morin

Kawasaki sponsored George Morin but he raced in other classes that they had no machine to enter so they approved his entry of several different makes.  In 1977, at St Felicien, Quebec the Kawasaki KZ1000 won him the Expert Open Production, a win on the Yamaha in the 400cc production Class and the 125 Championship on a Honda. Three National titles on three different makes of motorcycles - this has never been done before or since. George was born in 1948 in St John, New Brunswick but lived in Port Credit most of his life. He started racing … [Read more...]

Muriel Kelly

Muriel Kelly (Blackborow) born in 1934 and raised in the west end of Hamilton, Ontario came to love motorcycles kind of by osmosis. Her Dad owned a large bike complete with rigid forks and an oil or gasoline powered headlamp, which he rode all over the unlit, unpaved roads of Southern Ontario in the midst of the Depression looking for work of any kind. One day two friends (and daughter) of her Dad’s dropped by on their bikes and she ended up riding with one of them. This friendship and the bikes put her in touch with a few young guys and … [Read more...]

Jim Kelly

While Jim loved all phases of motorcycle competition and was a fierce competitor, he never lost sight of the truth that the joy should be in the act as much as the result and club field days or hare and hounds were as important to him as any National Championship. Jim Kelly was born in 1929 and raised in the West end of Hamilton, Ontario. After graduation, he was employed for 19 years by Stelco. In 1951, he enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force, Officer Training course but after a traumatic experience he ceased training and took a … [Read more...]

John Kehoe

Speedway is an exciting, high speed form of racing providing a great show from start to finish. From a clutch dropping standing start, the 500cc methanol fuel machines with no brakes and one fixed gear, accelerate from 0-100 km in just 3 seconds and spend the majority of the race sideways. Few go sideways better than John Kehoe who started racing in 1981 but as a youngster, there was no racing in his family.  John’s Dad, Mark, who had competed in the 50’s sponsored by the Matchless factory, sometimes talked about motorcycles and Gold Star, … [Read more...]

Al Johnson

It was England's loss when Al Johnson emigrated to Canada in 1955. For five years prior, he had earned recognition in the fields of motocross, grass track, road racing and had competed at a newly paved-over grass track called Brands' Hatch. So determined was he to compete that after breaking a leg in a scrambles event that threatened to keep him from competing at Castle Combe, he painted the cast black and cut off the bottom so he could use the foot peg. No one noticed and he placed second. When Al first arrived in Ontario with his brother, … [Read more...]

Albert Irwin

When you hear the name “Bert Irwin” you will most likely think “enduros” since this form of competition was Bert’s passion and one in which he was very involved and very well known. Not only did Bert compete in the International Six Days Enduros in Germany, Spain, England and Wales but he was Team Manager and volunteer for over fifteen years from the late 60's into the early 90's, serving as the tireless pit guy, posting bond to get bikes into the country and always willing to go above and beyond what was required to make sure that everything … [Read more...]

Chris Evans

Unlike most competitors who win the big one in the prime of their career and with support from the factory, Chris Evans on June 30, 2002, won his first AMA Pro National ½ mile event at Allen County Fairgrounds, Lima, Ohio, (his favourite track) one month short of his thirty-ninth birthday; well past an age when most riders have won their last. The win set a record in 2002 that most people aren’t even aware of - being the oldest rider in AMA history to win their first National race. This same man set another record in 1979 when at 16 years of … [Read more...]

Jim Allen

“Anyone who thought of Jim Allen as a pretender to the roadracing crown in Canada in the past would have to adjust their assessment of him after the Spring Trophy races at Mosport.” These were Ken Morgan’s comments in 1973 adding, “Allen’s four wins for four starts will be a tough record to beat.” Jim’s starter bike, a 90cc Honda street bike was “borrowed” from his brother in 1966. The following year he began competing on an 80cc Suzuki. Later that year Jim moved up to a 250 and realized his first win, in the Production Class. By 1968, Jim … [Read more...]