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Well, this article has already broken the interweb and its only week two. We kicked this 7 article saga off last week with British Columbia and nearly 10,000 unique readers gave it a look. Now, I know not all provinces will draw that many hits but damn, thanks for showing this idea (given by PulpMX) was a good one with the potential to be great.
This week it’s the quite yet very distinctive to Canadian moto: Saskatchewan. With the obvious names like Blair Morgan and Shawn Maffenbeier after that, Saskatchewan racers were hard to find and place in their respective spots. I did some homework; called around, and even chatted with some of the greats that made this list to showcase Saskatchewan had some amazing talent back in the day. So here you go, the top 5 greatest Saskatchewan born racers of all time.
#5 – Wayne Jones
Wayne Jones started racing in 1975. He was born in Regina and was a provincial champion early on in his career once but always came second to Kevin Ferguson. If it wasn’t Kevin both Ross Pederson and Zoli Berenyi would show and make it hard for me to stay on top in the province from time to time.
For Wayne Jones, the highlight of his career came in 1980 when he finished an amazing 3rd overall in the 125 championships. This never got him a top 10 number but this accomplishment sits very high is the eyes of his peers who help make up this list.
Wayne Jones is still racing in the PMA series in Northeast BC. He spends his time at the track with his grandsons whom he loves to watch and give his knowledge to. After I chatted with Wayne the one thing he shared was, “I will never forget racing motocross in the 80’s. It was very memorable.”
#4 – Kevin Ferguson
This amazing racer was the very first pro ever from the province of Saskatchewan. That right there gives a big nod to the history Kevin created during his race career.
In his day Kevin won an unprecedented 22 Expert provincial titles over a span of 11 years. His dominance was heard all around Canada back then and there was no such thing as the internet or cell phones. People drove from afar to race against the guy that never seems to lose on home court. He rode for both factories, Yamaha and Honda during his career.
The same year Wayne Jones finish 3rd, Kevin was 5th in the 125 championships. Kevin’s career spanned over 25 years of racing with memories that last a lifetime. When chatting with him on the phone he shared, “I’m honored to be recognized for these accomplishments from so many years ago. You reaching out and sharing this idea has really made me smile. Thanks.”
#3 – Brent Shury
In 1973 is where it all began for the name Brent Shury aboard a Keystone 50. He would destroy that in one year and then never got a bike again till 1976 when he rode a Suzuki TM75. This is where the story of “Shurshot” began.
He would din a bunch in his 80 to Senior class years and move to Pro in 1980. From 1980-83 he only one once which pissed him off because he was always second or third to Wayne Jones and Kevin Ferguson. In 194 he decided to start training properly and then the accomplishments began to roll. From 1985-1990 he earned national numbers 7, 9, 17, 19, 27, and 38. Provincially in those years he never lost an Expert title.
I think the best part of chatting with Brent Shury was this story he shared:
“In 2015, at 51 years old and still holding a Pro license, I was challenged to move back to Intermediate to see how I would do against young upcoming riders. So I asked CMRC and was allowed to move down to Intermediate, and ended up winning the Intermediate MX1 Provincial Championship. I was also awarded the longest active provincial award “Barker Hi-point Award” (for an 8th time and some 25 years after the last time I won as a Pro). By winning Intermediate MX1 in 2015, I was bumped back to a Pro license in 2016 LOL. I never raced at all in 2016 due to wife’s health issues. In 2017, I raced a 125 for the first time since 1991. I built a trick RM125 and raced a few races and won the Vet motos on it. Most fun I’ve had in decades!!!!!”
#2 – Shawn Maffenbeier
The little man from Swift Current or as he calls it Speedy Creek is mostly known for what he’s done nationally. A quiet kid that decided one day he wanted to race the nationals and showcase what he learned at home in Saskatchewan. The names mentioned above raced in such different times then Maff but the determination and toughness of his predecessors could be seen every time he hit the track.
I still bug Shawn today about how scary he looked when he first turned pro which only makes his story after last year when he became an MX2 Canadian National Champion that much better. Shawn is the perfect example of work hard to get what you want in life. Handouts and talent can only get you so far. If you believe in yourself and never let up you can achieve anything.
In 2018 Shawn will carry a #1 plate across this country trying to repeat his amazing 2017. There have only ever been two champions nationally from the province Saskatchewan and Maff is one of them. Will his legacy continue in 2018 and beyond?
#1 – Blair Morgan
I personally first saw Blair in 1991 at the CMA amateur nationals in Westlock, Alberta. I actually have footage from this race where he finished 3rd behind Carl Kuster and Doug Dehaan. I never thought anything of it back then. In 1992, he showed up again but as an Intermediate in La Tuque, Quebec and won the 250 Intermediate championships. Again, I never really thought that much of this guy.
Over the next few years we never really saw Blair much as he didn’t really chase the nationals nor really care about the political battle between CMA and CMRC. It was in 1996 on a Saturday night inside the Rogers center where Blair Morgan would reveal he was going to be somebody to watch in Canada for the future. He shocked the world by winning a 250 main in the two-night event. He actually stole the win on the last lap from JSR, who later on would become his biggest rival.
In 1997 Blair would win his first of many Canadian championships by winning both the 125 and 25 classes that year. The humbled redhead from Prince Albert, Sask. had done soothing no other racing from that province had ever done. His career would continue to rack up titles and even revolutionizing the sport of Snocross from some redneck drunken sit-down event to an entertaining wowing the crowd show. He would do things on a sled that nobody had ever seen before. He was one of the world’s best all-around athletes in many people’s opinions, not just motocross.
In 2008, a silly crash sent Blair to the ground and has since left him paralyzed. It was an accident that shocked our little community as well as saddened it. How could such a thing happen to such a great guy? Blair will admit it got the better of him in the early years but his inner toughness and will to succeed have now brought him back into the limelight that was so bright for so long. Next weekend Blair Morgan will line up at the 2018 X Games Adaptive class aboard an OTSFF Yamaha Yeti. It will be quite the story after such a life of moments that make millions remember and smile. Blair is ranked top 5 all-time in our sport but 1st in the province of Saskatchewan.
Next week Alberta!!