The Burnaby Conference Centre in British Columbia hosted the 13th annual Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame event on Saturday, November 17, with a large crowd of almost 300 on hand to meet this year’s group of new arrivals. Backing for the event came from Federated Insurance, BMW Motorrad Canada and Joe Rocket, with additional support provide by Yamaha, Husqvarna, Motorcyclelawyer.ca and Beta.
Star of the show was the always-entertaining Steve Crevier, the six-time Canadian Superbike Champion and hero of the long-lost local venue Westwood venue. Crevier began racing in the early 1980s at the Vancouver city area track, and rose to fame with a host of other famous locals in “mountain high racing.”
“Well, it was a lot of fun,” deadpanned Crevier after getting an award from 1978 F-750 road race World Champ Steve Baker. “I was raised in Port Coquitlam, and as a kid I use to go and see people like Steve Baker and Jimmy Dunn race at Westwood.”
“My dad would ask me what I wanted to do when I grew up, and I would say a motorcycle racer. He would suggest an engineer, and I would say I don’t want to drive a train! When I was 17 I bought an RZ350 and headed out to Westwood, because that is what I wanted to do anyway.”
“My first race, they put the Amateurs in the back row, behind the Pros, and it was raining and I did pretty good, fourth overall. And they gave me a cheque for maybe $180, and in Motocross I never earned a penny. But they tell me if I ride Pro, I won’t get an Amateur title. And I said I just wanted to ride with the fast guys, give me my friggin’ cheque! I thought they wanted to take away my cheque!
“I feel like I haven’t really accomplished that much in life, except for four great children, and winning on a motorcycle – I couldn’t ask for any more from my life. This is truly an honour.
“My heart is really in where I started, here in Westwood. Those were the best years, even though I was broke, so broke. Those years were hard, but the travelling was so exciting, really in that first year we went east, 1986. I was with Gary Goodfellow, Rick Hobbs, Steve Wyatt, a few others.
“We blew a head gasket in my van near Golden, rebuilt the van, got to Shannonville, didn’t know where the race track was, so we slept by Highway 401, and Tom Walther slept in a lawn chair on the roof of the van! It was so exciting back then, the racing was so great, we started at Westwood and went from there.
“My break through year, 1989, we had the OW01 Yamaha, it was a fabulous platform for Superbike, we didn’t have much luck with the superbike Yamahas before that, but it was great. That was a crazy, great year with me, with Rick Hobbs and the late Steve Wyatt.
“You can be a great racer, but without the right equipment and the right crew, you’re nothing – it really is the help behind you that makes all the difference. It took me time to understand that, I was so angry when I was young. I use to think that if I ever get on a podium, I’m going to make those people listen!
“When I went east, I met the whole Sharpless family, Toni, Blair, Todd and Bill, it really opened lots of doors for me, it calmed me down. I really came to understand that they just loved motorcycles.
“At first with my racing, we didn’t have much going for us, hardly any spares, but eventually I won a World Superbike-level race on a nearly box-stock motorcycle (Mexico City, end of 1989). That was unbelievable. It seems today, that wasn’t really that difficult, and I wonder why we didn’t do that more? But it isn’t really that easy.
“That 1989 year, to win the three National titles, that was the start of the big things - that got me a job with Yoshimura down in the States, but then I broke my ankle and had to head back to Canada. Then I went to the Two Brothers program and bugged Freddie Spencer.
“I eventually got the dream job of all time with Smokin’ Joe’s Honda, one of the best rides of all time, at the top of the world in road racing, and I got there. Miguel was pretty good at the time, probably pound-for-pound one of the best motorcycle racers in the World at that time. But I got hurt on a water craft, and I suffered the consequences of that for a long time, and I let that Honda team down.
“I made a mistake, not even on a bike, and that was such a bad thing. I still apologize to the Honda Team, I worked with the greatest mechanics in the world, I really enjoyed it, and I really regret all that, the wrong place at the wrong time.
“I went to Suzuki, and I fought and I fought and fought, pushing that old 600, and right before the last race in Vegas, I had some major health problems after a bicycle race. But we got it all together, battled Doug Chandler, and we put it together and it did work – I got the SuperSport Championship.
“After that I rode this strange beast of a bike, Suzuki’s twin, the TL1000, and I don’t know what was on the back, it wasn’t a shock, it was a box – a rotary box! But we did well, it was awesome. But now, thirty years after, I’ve got this Facebook cult of weirdo TL followers, they want to know all about everything with that bike!
“I went back to Canada, great years with Honda, especially with Fast Company Yamaha in 2007, and I rode for Diablo Paintball, it was a good team, the economy was great. We weren’t supported that much by the motorcycle industry, but it was a really creative team, although sometimes a bit of a disaster! It was fun, and I really enjoyed those three years.
“After that I joined the Deeley Camp with Ruthless Racing, and that took a while to get going. Then we got the Rotax motor, and working with that group, based in the Lower Mainland, I was thankful for those three years, another great experience.”