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Finally, something to sink my journalistic and my vast historical knowledge (to some degree) into. As we were driving from Vegas to A1 last weekend inside the PulpMX Honda Ridgeline myself, Steve Matthes and James Lissimore had a great bench racing session about who are the greatest racers from each province. Some were easier than others to come up with but it really made for some interesting chats and took us back in time with some of the heritage our sport has created.
I’ve actually wanted to do something like this for quite some time but couldn’t really come up with a system of how to rank some of our countries greatest riders. So, after chatting with history buff Matthes we just figured champions, a mix of US stuff, and most time spent inside the top 10 in Canadian nationals was a good way to rank them. The list of provinces is:
– British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, and Atlantic Region (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia).
I will not necessarily do them in that order but we will kick this off with BC. So, with a small group of people and some digging here are the top 5 greatest racers from British Columbia. Next week Saskatchewan!
(If you have any thoughts or suggestions on something I may have missed email email@example.com)
#5 – Bill McLean
A two-time Canadian national champion (73’ and ‘78’) and a wealth of Provincial titles Bill McLean was a great racer in the 1970’s. Bill not only won titles but he was one of the only Canadian racers to be a threat in the era where Japanese, European and American born racers invaded Canada. At one time our country had the best racers in the world on our soil.
Bill was born with natural racing talent. How he became a racer though is an interesting story as he started racing at a dump. Racers that were actually racing as a job would come to this dump and Bill would wax them which got them sharing he should become a racer instead of some “Dump King” which coincidently was a nickname given to him.
Bill’s career spanned a solid ten years with his name being a tattoo on the sport in a great era for racing. Just like most of us, injuries took their toll, a growing family, and an expanding business took him away from the racing side of motocross but never took his heart. Bill would open a dealership called Pacific Yamaha that would bring home 125 titles in the early millennium while he managed Bill was a champion at everything he did: racing, family, and business. For all of this, I believe he sits inside the top 5 greatest British Colombia racers of all time.
#4 – Darcy Lange
It’s a solid argument that you could say that Darcy Lange was the great Canadian racer ever to cross the border into the US and make a name for him. In Canada, Darcy had a rather quiet career but it’s what he did in the US that helps him get the nod into this elite group.
I mean, how can you not? This guy nearly won the 2007 East coast Supercross series where he would eventually finish 3rd, only 10 points from his champion teammate that year Ben Townley. Darcy also became a 5-time US Arenacross champion and that’s where Darcy really turned heads. Born on the tight confines of the Too Trick Arenacross series Darcy honed his skills and would eventually turn those into dollar signs and is likely the highest earned rider in the bank account department ever in Canadian history from racing in the US.
Unfortunately, Darcy’s career was cut short when a crash at the 2007 St Louis SX after just passing for the lead would cause a strange reaction leading to a battle with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma that he was able to beat after months of Cancer treatment. He was never able to race again but still can be seen around tracks from time to time cheering for the sport that gave him so much.
#3 – Dusty Klatt
I first met Dusty Klatt at the 1999 Walton TransCan where he won the 250 Intermediate title that year. Up to this point since 1992 when TransCan was born, the BC racer had not really looked at the event as a reason to travel and be part of what would become the biggest race in Canada. I’m almost certain that Dusty was the first BC racer to become a champion at TransCan in 1999.
When seeing this young star on the rise he did not look like your typical racer. Glasses, kind of nerdy, and nowhere the toughness or skill set in my mind back then to become a champion. I remember racing him at a Too Trick Ax at the end of 199 when he just turned pro and he beat me in the 125 main and I was so pissed because this kid just looked like nothing to me. My ego at the time couldn’t give him credit but apparently I was wrong as Dusty would go on to an astonishing career and win 2 – 125 titles, and 2 – 250 titles.
Dusty Klatt had an amazing career as a racer but he also expanded from his comfort zone down into the US on two semi-factory teams. His results never really showed his true skill and talent but he broke free and gave it a shot.
You can still see Dusty riding today if you follow him on Instagram and he also does a lot of riding schools which I’ve heard are really good. The one thing that Dusty can take away from his career and something I would constantly brag about if it was me, he stopped the 5-time reign of JSR in 2006. It was a year that if you were able to see Dusty ride live you would think he was born to be a champion. He was un-believe-able that year and when you mash up that with all his other accolades he sits #3 in my opinion for greatest BC racers of all time.
#2 – Alan Dyck
I don’t know much about Al Dyck other then he is a Canadian champion and in his prime, he was one of the only guys to beat Ross Pederson straight up. Al was never flashy but worked hard. In his career, he was the only other rider in the history of our sport to ever claim all three titles (Pederson being the other). He started riding late at the age of 15 but quickly realized racing was something he wanted to do.
In 1979 he won a Schoolboy championship (that was the 85 class name back then) but nothing you would consider “highlight” material till 1988 when he won the 125 Expert title. The year after is when he matched Pederson by winning all three titles. You see, back then to earn your top 10 number you had to participate in all three classes to earn points. So, winning all three was quite prestigious.
In the early 90’s Dyck called it a career but stayed in the industry running an awesome Arenacross series, a suspension business, and today can be found running a team called Sky Helicopters with Holeshot Racing which will be racing the Rockstar Triple Crown in 2018. To see Al now and even chat with him you would likely never know he was one of Canada’s all-time greats as well one of the greatest out of BC.
#1 – Colton Facciotti
There is no doubt in my mind and the folks I brought in on this list that Colton Facciotti is the greatest racer British Columbia has ever raised. His 4 titles in the premier class are 3rd all-time to Pederson and JSR.
It’s funny how the career of Facciotti has worked out. At the beginning, it was all people could talk about when he turned pro in 2002 at only 14 years of age. You could see that the kid was all talent with his effortless style. In the early years of the 125 class, he did some moto winning but never brought home overalls or a championship. It took 4 years until he really turned heads at the end of 2006 on a big KX 450 when we really started to see what this kid was made of. The 06’ season actually ended with an injury but the power team of Blackfoot racing saw something in this kid and they took a chance. Well, it paid off with a few overall wins and a runner-up in the title chase and the name Colton Facciotti from that point on is the best Canadian racer for 10 years running.
The one thing, and it has to be a little regret, is some great results in the US. He had flashes aboard a Blackfoot Yamaha at Southwick and again on a TLD Honda at Pala but he never came close to the stuff Pederson, Lange, JSR, Dehaan, Morgan, and others gave Canadian fans. Regardless, he can be argued to be on the podium of one of the greats ever in Canada. For this column he is for sure the greatest BC racer ever born.