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Canadian Motocross History 1950 – 1955

Flying Midgets, Later Steel City Riders, 1951

The earliest writing I’ve found describing Scrambles in Canada are in the CMA news publication from 1951. The British Empire Motor Club, headed by the late Eve White, wrote that they had been searching madly for a suitable Scrambles course close to Toronto and had finally found one with riders out practicing every Saturday. They also announced the First Ontario Grand National Scramble to be held at Ancaster September 1, 1951.

Prior to that, Scrambles where held at the club level only. Muriel (Butch) Kelly wrote for the Flying Midgets Motorcycle Club (later the Steel City Riders) that the annual Bob Johnstone Memorial Scrambles would be held October 31st, 1954. The Steel City club still holds this event today.

Winners of BEMC’s first Ontario Grand National in 1951 where Jim Verrall, 500 Triumph in the Under 500cc class while Gerald Robarts, 500 Ariel came second.

Larry Bastedo, Matchless, Blackhawk Scramble, 1953

Jack Hoover on a 125 James won the Under 200 c.c. class with Doc Moe also on a James coming second. They repeated in the Final while Rene Fregeau on a 500 Matchless won the Under 500 cc. Final with Jim Verrall coming second.
In the early fifties other Scrambles events where held by the Kawartha club in Peterborough, The Flying Midgets and Blackhawks clubs in Hamilton, among others.

The Kawartha Clubs Thanksgiving day Scramble at Mt. Pleasant in October 1954 was won overall by Mad Sale on a James. Sale won all three classes he rode that day including the Grand Prix handicap. Other competitors included Bobby Lumbard, Keith Dawson, and Art Klinge.

Jim Kelly, Kawartha Club Scramble, 1954

Money was already a subject in 1951. “Asterisk” writes about the event at Galt Sept. 8th” Do our competition riders want money prizes? If the answer is yes, then we have to get the general public interested in our events. Asterisk also critiqued the race saying “when they charged me .75c to get in I thought it had better be good. Anyway I went in and had a look at the course. It seemed pretty impossible to me that anyone could ride up those hills, and looking down them made me feel dizzy. So I was already for the start at 2 p.m.
Later in the article Asterisk says the man on the P. A. called for riders from the crowd and the fellow next to him, who said his name was Bill, went up and rode.

Little did these pioneers realize how our sport would develop.