This weekend, Inside Motorcycles Senior Editor Colin Fraser will be inducted into the Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame, at the induction banquet and reunion at the Hilton Mississauga near Toronto’s International Airport.
Fraser has written and photographed for Inside Motorcycles since the launch of the publication more that 25 years ago, having started as a contributor to Cycle Canada in the 1970s. Since then, he has written and photographed for any major bike publications, including Roadracing World. Fraser started working in motorsports at Shannonville Motorsport Park in 1979 and co-founded the RACE sanctioning group in 1981.
Fraser also ran the RACE Rider’s School through the 1980s and early 1990s, and at the peak of activity, trained over a thousand riders a season. Fraser went on to work for FAST and run schools for Honda, BMW (ART – Advanced Rider Training) and Kawasaki.
When RACE changed owners, Fraser started Professional Motor Sports Productions with Dave Hatch, the two having worked together on TSN’s Motorcycle Experience. When ASM took over the national road race tour in 1995, PMP broadcast race coverage on TSN. Soon the manufacturers requested PMP operate the national tour.
This led to a period of rapid growth with the nationals in Canada, soon to be called CSBK. Spec series were bult for Suzuki (SV Cup), Honda (CBR125R Challenge and 250R Nationals) and Kawasaki with the Ninja 300. At the same time, Fraser developed the MotoST National Series for twins in the US and was named Director of Competition for AMA Pro Racing in 2008. Fraser had earlier served in the same position for the Formula USA series.
Fraser was on the Board of the Motorcyclists Confederation of Canada since it’s inception and served on the Board of the Hall of Fame throughout the 2010s. He Sold PMP to former pro racer Ross Millson in early 2023 and continues to work with CSBK as an Executive Producer. In 2023, he was also FIM Clerk of the Course for Toni Sharpless’ MiniGP National tour. This series will send Michael Galvis and Ben Hardwick to compete against the world’s best in their age range in Valencia in two and a half weeks.
Fraser acknowledges that CMHoF members including Sharpless, Michael Taylor and the late George Morin (Canada’s first Superbike National Champ in 1980) were kind enough to suggest his inclusion when they made their acceptance speeches.
Since attendees are warned to keep their remakes short, here are a few Canadians that Fraser thinks deserved possible recognition in the Hall of Fame:
A star graduate of the first generation of the FAST Riding School run by Michel Mercier at Shannonville, Linnley Clarke climbed the busy CSBK ranks in the late 1980s, a boom time in Canadian racing. By the time Mercier retired with his final No. 1 plate in 1990, Clarke was a top 600 cc class racer and ready to join Pascal Picotte on the works supported Sunoco Yamaha Superbike team.
In the early 1990s, Clarke competed in both Canada and the US, including with American teams in endurance action. He also rode one of Honda Canada’s works RC30s, and then lead Honda Canada’s program with Mike Crompton’s (CMHoF Class of 2015) Competition Systems in Canada.
When the Yamaha YZF-R6 made its debut, Clarke put together a shoestring program with his old Ford van and tuner Paul Fournier (CMHoF Class of 2022) and won the title against the bigger teams. From there, Clarke lead the works Suzuki program of Scott Miller’s Fast Company, before retiring in the early 2000s.
One of the stars of the first era of Superbike racing in Canada was Dick, who remarkably competed in the first-ever race in June of 1980 in Edmonton aboard a near stock, dealer test unit Honda CBX1000 six cylinder. Dick made the podium and would eventually be a front runner on a Kawasaki, before moving to BC and becoming one of the first riders to gain success on the GSX-R750 Suzukis.
In 1988 Dick built a big program to race in the States and Canada and showed very well in both national series in a period of extreme competition. Dick served as a substitute factory Suzuki rider when Miguel Duhamel was injured, and overall spent over a decade as a Superbike pace setter.
Following his retirement from competition, Dick helped a wide range of young racers and taught at racing schools. He was instrumental in the development of the early career of Brett McCormick, the 2011 CSBK National Superbike Champ.
Synonymise with his shop, Brooklin Cycle Racing, Rob Egan has supported the community of Canadian racers since the 1970s, and conducted factory supported programs for several top brands, including Honda and Yamaha. Egan was instrumental in the career of Paul MacMillan, the 1984 CSBK No. 1 on their famous and fearsome Suzuki Katana 1100.
From there, Egan ran teams for Honda, including riders Francis Martin, Jeff Sneyd, Mile Desmarais, and the late Frank Wilson. BCR next switched to Yamaha, winning titles with Frank Trombino (the “war lord” of Shannonville) and popularity with Pascal Picotte protégé Kevin Lacombe. BCR lent bikes and gear to a wide range of competitors, including Andrew Nelson.
Currently, BCR provides logistic services for the bike show season as well as the CSBK Dynojet Dyno program and summer manufacturer ride programs. Double Canadian Tire Motorsports Park Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike victor Elliot Vieira is a technician at BCR when not busy racing his GP Bikes Ducati V-twin.
A new reporter with broadcasting ambitions, avid motorcyclist David Hatch leveraged his previous work experience and club racer weekends with the new TSN Network to launch his Motorcycle Experience show via the production company he co-owned, Adventure Sports. With backing from major manufacturers including Harley-Davidson and Honda, Motorcycle Experience was a groundbreaking magazine show focused on the stories of a wide variety of Canadians.
In 2004, Hatch partnered with Colin Fraser to launch Professional Motor Sports Productions, with the aim of broadcasting the Canadian Superbike Championship. Four years later, PMP were running the series, and Hatch went back to his magazine roots with Whistlestop Productions, and Bike-themed shows on Outdoor Life, Sportsnet and eventually back with TSN.
At the same time, Hatch relocated with his family to Prince Edward County, and hosted a variety of events at local parks and airfields, including rallies, stunt shows, various fund raisers and Super Moto activity – another bike sport Hatch produced for television.
Hatch continues to co-host Motorcycle Experience for TSN and participate in various elements of the motorcycle community. One of the most recent projects was a turbocharged BMW cruiser built at Brooklin Cycle Racing.
A product of the fertile sports bike community that grew up in the Tri-City region of western Ontario in the 1980s, Scott Miller worked at various local shops and helped a wide range of local racers, including long time top privateer Mark Kowalski. Soon working to build race bikes for popular local Chiropractor Mark Brubacker, Miller produced a very special Yamaha that won an early 1990s Formula USA event in Pocono in the hands of famous Michigan racer Fritz Kling.
Soon Miller started the Fast Company Shop, helping a variety of racers including rising star Jordan Szoke. Fast Company was soon awarded the Yamaha Canada program for Neil Jenkins. Suzuki’s Nathan Naslund convinced the pair to switch brands, and when Jenkins left for Kawasaki, Linnley Clarke took over and was a front runner in both Pro Superbike feature and Sport Bike middleweight classes in 2000.
Next Francis Martin joined, and the team had considerable success with the new GSX-R1000. Miller returned to Yamaha Canada and almost took Steve Crevier to the No. 1 plate in 2008, just as the economic downturn hit.
Recently, Fast Company have supported a few front runners, including the works Kawasaki program of Szoke, the title winning Pro Sport Bike effort of David McKay and Yamaha’s ace, “T.V. Tommy” Casas. In September, Miller hurriedly built a Ducati Panigale V-4 for Trevor Dion, and in the machine’s debut, the 20-year-old earned three straight podiums at the final Bridgestone CSBK round of the season at Shannonville.
Cycle Canada magazine might not offer a print edition anymore, but for decades the Toronto-based publication set a high standard for the specialty press and won Canadian media awards that most motorcyclists had never even heard of!
The central figure in the glory days of Cycle Canada was the late Bruce Reeve, who arrived as a Proofreader in 1982 and was soon a rider with a Honda Ascot. Reeve knew journalism and quickly learned a lot about motorcycles, raising the profile of the magazine to world level, compared to the top American titles.
Most impressively, Reeve learned to be a test rider and track pilot and worked as Managing Editor with founder John Cooper and loyal photog Chris Knowles – but it was Bruce’s magazine. When the original ownership group sold Cycle Canada, Reeve left for a return to more traditional journalism with the CBC. Reeve was 62 years old when he died in 2019.
To learn more about the Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame, visit www.cmhof.ca.