On the Radar | Stephen Harper | Scott Sports Canada

By Jeff McConkey

Presented by Scott Sports Canada.

Name: Stephen Harper

Age: 18

Hometown: Erinsville, Ontario

School and Grade or Occupation: Welding Apprentice

Number: 14

Bike: 2018 CRF 250r

Race Club or Series: MMRS

Classes: Open Beginner

This week, Stephen Harper from Erinsville, Ontario, is ‘On the Radar.’ | Geoff Schimmel photo

How did you get started in racing and riding?

I was first introduced to riding ATV’s when I was 4 years old, and began racing quads back in 2011. I finally made the switch from racing quads with CMRC to racing bikes in 2016. I’ve been loving the change and don’t think I could ever look back (Laughs). Even when I was on four wheels instead of two, I’ve always been good friends with a lot of people on bikes, so making the transition was a lot of fun.

What is your favourite track and why?

My favourite track would have to be Gopher Dunes. I’ve spent a lot of time riding in the sand at local tracks and it’s by far my favourite terrain. I really enjoy the challenge of a rough track, and Gopher never disappoints. Nothing beats the feeling of carving a nice sand berm!

“This off season is going to take a lot of hard work and physio to get back to where I once was, but with the support of all my friends, family, and the man upstairs, I feel like the sky is the limit.”

Who is your favourite rider and why?

My favourite rider has got to be Bruce Cook. I really admire the attitude and determination that he has. Overcoming and adapting his injuries to continue to pursue his passions. Although he’s not a racer, I think there is a lot to be learned from what a positive outlook can accomplish. You are only limited by your own mind, and the amount of dedication and hard work you are willing to put into something, and that really shows with Bruce.

What Canadian Pro do you look up to and why?

As far as Canadian Pro’s go, I really look up to Dylan Wright. I’ve had the chance to speak with his family before at MX101 and they are all very down to earth people. Hearing about Dylan’s dedication to moto is pretty inspiring, and it seems to be paying off, especially to end his season with an overall win at Walton.  I love seeing him as a young gun, up and comer.

Who is your hero?

My hero is hands down Phil Smage. It’s been crazy watching his recovery from his world record RZR jump crash, going from not being able to move anything but his left toes, to getting up and around walking again just a few months later. The guy has a warrior’s spirit and doesn’t let anything stop him. He shows a very optimistic attitude towards anything in life, whether it be one day getting back on a bike or something as simple as an everyday task that he now has difficulties with due to his spinal cord injury.

Stephen’s hero is “hands down” Phil Smage. | Geoff Schimmel photo

What are your goals for next season, and what is it going to take to reach them?

My goals for next season are to get back on my bike and podium at the MMRS Madoc National event. This might seem like a pretty small goal to some, however, this past season has been a huge road block. I was in an accident while training for that event that left me with two broken vertebrae, fractured neck, lacerated spleen, and several broken ribs. I’m currently learning how to walk again after being paralyzed from the chest down, but I feel like being competitive on the bike next season is still a possibility. For next season, I will be riding alongside Ethan Stevenson representing More Than Moto as we strive to bring an aspect of faith and family back into the sport that we love. This off season is going to take a lot of hard work and physio to get back to where I once was, but with the support of all my friends, family, and the man upstairs, I feel like the sky is the limit.

What are your biggest accomplishments?

When I look at my biggest accomplishments with riding, I feel like I don’t really have any outstanding championships or anything, but I have had many great opportunities with help from sponsors and teams to travel and ride at different levels. I would say my biggest accomplishment recently was getting back on my bike for the first time after my accident. It was absolutely terrifying, but felt so great to get over that fear.

What is your favourite part about going to the race?

My favourite part about going to the races has to be the people! So many amazing families all coming together to share the same passion. It’s amazing some of the things you can witness in a weekend, from sweeping victories, to scrambling last minute to get a clutch changed, or watching a little kid riding a 50 before they’re even old enough to go to school. The motocross community is amazing, and it’s the same anywhere you go from track to track.

After more time to recover and build strength, Stephen will be back, better than ever, in 2019. | Dawn Harper (Mom) photo

What do you like to do when you aren’t racing?

When I’m not racing, I spend a lot of time working on my old Toyota truck, camping, or being out in nature in general. I live in the middle of nowhere, so when the weather is nice 99% of my time is spent outside with buddies.

Who would you like to thank?

I owe a huge thank you to everyone who has been there for me through not only my years of racing, but all of the friends and family who have been there in the hospital with me over the past few months. I would say I’m definitely responsible for a few of my parents’ grey hairs, but I’m so thankful to have parents who are so supportive all the time. Some of my mentors over the years including Matt Bos, Sean Mitchell, Ethan Stevenson, all of these guys have really helped me keep my head on straight and kept me focused over the years and I cant thank them enough. Also, thanks to Jeff at Direct Motocross for this opportunity! Hope to stay ‘On The Radar’ next season!