By Billy Rainford

Welcome to what is usually my favourite non-moto week of the year – the week between Christmas and New Year’s. It’s always a week at home with my family that I spend visiting close friends and their families.

I really enjoy driving around to different homes to visit and have some Christmas “cheer” with buddies and their parents who had to put up with me as a teenager. We’ve all got those stories that we assume would leave parents hating us, but when we sit and look back while recounting stories, it seems to bring a smile to both our faces. That’s a good thing because I really think it could have gone either way in almost every case!

This year was different, obviously. I canceled my flight out to BC to visit my sister and my ailing mom, and I won’t be dropping in on any old friends who may or may not be home for the holidays themselves. It’s been a really strange season.

A band called ‘White Punks on Funk‘ used to always get together and play a gig at Call the Office every Boxing Day night, but they’ve since moved on and the club itself has closed its door for bands. All things change, and usually that’s fine, but some things just shouldn’t.

We’ve been hunkered down pretty tightly here at the house and we’re both starting to go a little stir crazy. I even looked forward to the big snowfall we go on Christmas Eve because it meant I could spend time outside using the neighbour’s snowblower to clear off 5 driveways on our crescent. I still hate trying to do that section up by the garage that sits tightly between two of our neighbours’ houses. I haven’t got my pattern sorted out, yet.

Anyway, all this spare time at home has left me scouring YouTube for old races to watch. I’ve been caught up watching every Motocross of Nations that I can find. And they’re almost all on there!

Some of the resolution is pretty sketchy, but it’s good enough to keep me glued to the TV. Also, I’m finding myself wanting to jot down specific years and incidents that happened over the years at the MXON.

For example, can you believe the Ricky Carmichael couldn’t keep it on two wheels at the 1999 event? Man, that was difficult to watch.

And when I finally caught a glimpse of a Canadian on the screen at the 2008 event at Donnington Park in England, the announcer simply says something like, “Oh, and there’s #30...” He doesn’t mention Dusty Klatt‘s name!

You can go back and watch the year the USA lost for the first time in 13 years in 1994 when Great Britain finally knocked them from the top step. Watching these old races also pointed out just how fast GP announcer (and multi-time GB team member) Paul Malin was back in the day. The dude hailed!

Jeff Ward won the event 7 times!

And I didn’t even remember the event going to Brazil (Indaiatuba) in 1999. The track and conditions were…brutal, actually. They over-watered the track and then it was a too-narrow dust bowl of a race.

And watching Stephan Everts effortlessly dominate while standing up pretty much the whole time is something every young rider should check out and learn something from.

If you’ve got some spare time this week (who doesn’t), do yourself a favour and hit YouTube for some classic racing. It’s a great history lesson, too. There are some names that land in the top 3 in some of the motos that will have you lying to yourself saying, “Sure, I would have known who they were if you asked me…

In 2004, Canada finished 8th overall (Blair Morgan, JSR, Dusty Klatt) in The Netherlands. But did you know that we finished 7th in 1964 in England when we were combined with Great Britain? I think we can all agree that the 2004 team gave us our best result as a nation.

Check out the complete winners history:

Motocross des Nations winners[edit]

Year Location Winning team Winning riders
2020 France Ernée Cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[3]
2019 Netherlands Assen Netherlands Netherlands Jeffrey Herlings / Calvin Vlaanderen / Glenn Coldenhoff
2018 United States Red Bud France France Gautier Paulin / Dylan Ferrandis / Jordi Tixier
2017 United Kingdom Matterley Basin France France Gautier Paulin / Christophe Charlier / Romain Febvre
2016 Italy Maggiora France France Gautier Paulin / Benoît Paturel / Romain Febvre
2015 France Ernée France France Gautier Paulin / Marvin Musquin / Romain Febvre
2014 Latvia Ķegums France France Gautier Paulin / Dylan Ferrandis / Steven Frossard
2013 Germany Teutschenthal Belgium Belgium Ken De Dycker / Jeremy Van Horebeek / Clément Desalle
2012 Belgium Lommel Germany Germany Maximilian Nagl / Ken Roczen / Marcus Schiffer
2011 France Saint-Jean-d’Angély United States USA Ryan Dungey / Blake Baggett / Ryan Villopoto
2010 United States Lakewood United States USA Ryan Dungey / Trey Canard / Andrew Short
2009 Italy Franciacorta United States USA Ryan Dungey / Jake Weimer / Ivan Tedesco
2008 United Kingdom Donington Park United States USA James Stewart, Jr. / Ryan Villopoto / Tim Ferry
2007 United States Budds Creek United States USA Ricky Carmichael / Ryan Villopoto / Tim Ferry
2006 United Kingdom Matterley Basin United States USA James Stewart, Jr. / Ryan Villopoto / Ivan Tedesco
2005 France Ernée United States USA Ricky Carmichael / Kevin Windham / Ivan Tedesco
2004 Netherlands Lierop Belgium Belgium Stefan Everts / Steve Ramon / Kevin Strijbos
2003 Belgium Zolder Belgium Belgium Stefan Everts / Steve Ramon / Joël Smets
2002 Spain Bellpuig Italy Italy Andrea Bartolini / Alessio Chiodi / Alessandro Puzar
2001 Belgium Namur France France Yves Demaria / Luigi Seguy / David Vuillemin
2000 France Saint-Jean-d’Angély United States USA Ricky Carmichael / Ryan Hughes / Travis Pastrana
1999 Brazil Indaiatuba Italy Italy Andrea Bartolini / Alessio Chiodi/ Claudio Federici
1998 United Kingdom Foxhills Belgium Belgium Marnicq Bervoets / Patrick Caps / Stefan Everts
1997 Belgium Nismes Belgium Belgium Marnicq Bervoets / Stefan Everts / Joël Smets
1996 Spain Jerez de la Frontera United States USA Jeff Emig / Steve Lamson / Jeremy McGrath
1995 Slovakia Sverepec Belgium Belgium Marnicq Bervoets / Stefan Everts / Joël Smets
1994 Switzerland Roggenburg United Kingdom Great Britain Rob Herring / Paul Malin / Kurt Nicoll
1993 Austria Schwanenstadt United States USA Jeff Emig / Mike Kiedrowski / Jeremy McGrath
1992 Australia Manjimup United States USA Jeff Emig / Mike LaRocco / Billy Liles
1991 Netherlands Valkenswaard United States USA Damon Bradshaw / Mike Kiedrowski / Jeff Stanton
1990 Sweden Vimmerby United States USA Damon Bradshaw / Jeff Stanton / Jeff Ward
1989 West Germany Gaildorf United States USA Mike Kiedrowski / Jeff Stanton / Jeff Ward
1988 France Villars-sous-Ecot[4] United States USA Rick Johnson / Ron Lechien / Jeff Ward
1987 United States Unadilla United States USA Bob Hannah / Rick Johnson / Jeff Ward
1986 Italy Maggiora United States USA David Bailey / Rick Johnson / Johnny O’Mara
1985 West Germany Gaildorf United States USA David Bailey / Ron Lechien / Jeff Ward
1984 Finland Vantaa United States USA David Bailey / Rick Johnson / Johnny O’Mara / Jeff Ward
1983 Belgium Angreau United States USA David Bailey / Mark Barnett / Broc Glover / Jeff Ward
1982 Switzerland Wohlen United States USA David Bailey / Danny Chandler / Jim Gibson / Johnny O’Mara
1981 West Germany Bielstein United States USA Donnie Hansen / Danny LaPorte / Johnny O’Mara / Chuck Sun
1980 United Kingdom Farleigh Castle Belgium Belgium Georges Jobé / André Malherbe / Ivan Van Den Broek / André Vromans
1979 Sweden Stockholm Belgium Belgium Roger De Coster / Harry Everts / André Malherbe / Ivan Van Den Broek
1978 West Germany Gaildorf Soviet Union USSR Kavinov / Khudiakov / Korneev / Guennady Moisseev
1977 France Cognac Belgium Belgium Roger De Coster / André Malherbe / Jean-Paul Mingles / Jaak van Velthoven
1976 Netherlands Sint Anthonis Belgium Belgium Roger De Coster / Harry Everts / Gaston Rahier / Jaak van Velthoven
1975 Czechoslovakia Sedlčany Czechoslovakia Czechoslovakia Bavorovský / Churavý / Naváček / Velký
1974 Sweden Stockholm Sweden Sweden Bengt Aberg / Hakan Andersson / Ake Jonsson / Arne Kring
1973 Switzerland Wohlen Belgium Belgium Roger De Coster / Sylvain Geboers / René Heeren / Jaak van Velthoven
1972 Netherlands Norg Belgium Belgium Roger De Coster / Rene Van de Vorst / Jaak van Velthoven
1971 France Vannes Sweden Sweden Bengt Aberg / Christer Hammargren / Ake Jonsson / Olle Petersson
1970 Italy Maggiora Sweden Sweden Bengt Aberg / Christer Hammargren / Ake Jonsson / Arne Kring
1969 United Kingdom Farleigh Castle Belgium Belgium Roger De Coster / Sylvain Geboers / Joël Robert / Jef Teeuwissen
1968 Soviet Union Chișinău Soviet Union USSR Arnis Angers/ Evgeni Petushkov / Vladimir Pogrebniak / Leonid Shinkarenko
1967 Netherlands Markelo United Kingdom Great Britain Dave Bickers / Vic Eastwood/ Jeff Smith
1966 France Rémalard United Kingdom Great Britain Dave Bickers / Vic Eastwood / Derek Rickman
1965 Belgium Namur United Kingdom Great Britain Arthur Lampkin / Vic Eastwood / Jeff Smith
1964 United Kingdom Hawkstone Park United Kingdom Great Britain Don Rickman / Derek Rickman / Jeff Smith
1963 Sweden Knutstorp United Kingdom Great Britain Burton / Don Rickman / Derek Rickman
1962 Switzerland Wohlen Sweden Sweden Jan Johansson / Ove Lundell / Rolf Tibblin
1961 Netherlands Schijndel Sweden Sweden Ove Lundell / Bill Nilsson / Rolf Tibblin
1960 France Cassel United Kingdom Great Britain Curtis / Rickman / Jeff Smith
1959 Belgium Namur United Kingdom Great Britain John Draper / Rickman / Jeff Smith
1958 Sweden Knutstorp Sweden Sweden Lars Gustavsson / Ove Lundell / Bill Nilsson
1957 United Kingdom Brands Hatch United Kingdom Great Britain Curtis / Martin / Jeff Smith
1956 Belgium Namur United Kingdom Great Britain John Draper / Jeff Smith/ Geoff Ward
1955 Denmark Randers Sweden Sweden Lars Gustavsson / Sten Lundin / Bill Nilsson
1954 Netherlands Norg United Kingdom Great Britain Curtis / Brian Stonebridge / Geoff Ward
1953 Sweden Värnamo-Skillingaryd United Kingdom Great Britain Les Archer / John Draper / Geoff Ward
1952 United Kingdom Brands Hatch United Kingdom Great Britain Les Archer / Brian Stonebridge / Geoff Ward
1951 Belgium Namur Belgium Belgium Jansen / Leloup / Meunier
1950 Sweden Värnamo-Skillingaryd United Kingdom Great Britain John Draper / Basil Hall / Harold Lines
1949 United Kingdom Brands Hatch United Kingdom Great Britain Harold Lines / Bob Manns / Ian Soovell
1948 Belgium Spa Belgium Belgium Cox / Jansen / Milhoux
1947 Netherlands Wassenaar United Kingdom Great Britain Bill Nicholson / Bob Ray / Fred Rist

If you need to kill some time, watching these races will do that for you. You’re welcome, and I’m sorry.

As I watch the local news each night here at 6pm, whenever the weather forecast comes on they always show record temperatures on the specific day in history. Every time they show the high record, they show 1984. I remember this Christmas.

It was the year we were still loading up the bikes in the trailer and heading to practice tracks around London. Back then, it was very rare for the area not to have a ton of snow over the holidays, so we jumped on it when we could.

If my dad couldn’t go with us, we were side-saddling our bikes through the east end of town and out to the Shaw’s Dairy Dell track or way out to the rough track at the Southwinds Gravel Pit farther north on Fanshawe Park Road.

Jeff May at Shaw’s Dairy Dell track, as I watched post-knee surgery (not the Christmas time in the story…). | Cary Hitchen photo

It’s funny how, looking back, I somehow thought that not throwing both legs over my bike as I rode down city streets and through the Northland Mall parking lot made it legal.

This was also the year I had my knee problems and a big chunk of bone came off my right knee that is the cause of my more recent knee situation. It was called ‘Osteochondritis Dessecans‘ and I don’t recommend it to anyone.

That also reminds me, I also used to have a go kart and would drive that little sucker around our neighbourhood until the police showed up.

We had 3 walkways that connected a few of the streets and crescents in our hood. I always knew that if I were to be chased by the cops, I could easily elude them by using any one or all of these to my advantage.

Unfortunately, 2 of them had a set of 3 stairs in the middle of them. It was fine when I had to tear away on my little KX80, but it was a different story on the homemade go kart.

I remember turning into one with the police hot on my tail and then realizing this was the walkway with the stairs. Uh uh…

Too late, I was committed.

Screw it, I’m going to risk making the jump rather than stop and have to try and talk my way out of a ticket and scolding from my parents. If the Dukes of Hazard could jump rivers in a Dodge Charger then surely I could drop 2 feet in my little go kart!

I made the drop and the kart held together. I made it. But wait…

We had mounted our old 5HP lawn mower engine onto this frame and jury rigged the thing together in a very unprofessional way. I had a hard time keeping the motor running at the best of times, and jumping stairs wasn’t helping the situation. It sputtered a little then died altogether.

Unphased, I hopped off and pushed the the dead kart up a friend’s driveway and into their backyard and under a shady tree and waited.

Of course, I couldn’t stop myself from heading out front to see if they’d go driving by, so I ripped my t-shirt off, threw my ball cap (I wasn’t wearing a helmet) on the seat and headed out front all skinny and bare-chested. I wanted to look like a different kid, of course.

Side note: I used to cut my own bangs back then to keep my hair from dropping into my eyes when I rode my dirt bike. My helmet and goggles fit so poorly that the goggles didn’t touch my forehead and my hair could just fall in my face. It was a different era, folks!

Self-cut bangs, baby! And my buddy’s least favourite photo of him picking his butt… | Bigwave Sr. photo

I sat at the curb with my feet in the street and pretended I was playing with something in the gutter (which was something else we actually did back in the day…) and waited.

Sure enough, here they came ripping around the crescent in hot pursuit of the punk on the go kart.

They slowed right down as they passed me and I looked them in the eye and kept my cool. It was one of those moments that reminds me of any scene in an early-80’s kids adventure movie and it was great.

They didn’t ask me anything or even roll down a window. I had made it. The only thing left to do was to wait a while and then see if I could get the kart started so I could drive it home and get it in the shed before my parents got home from work.

I rolled it out front and onto the street. I pulled the choke out and gave it a hefty pull. It fired right up, but the throttle somehow stuck wide open, and it took off down the street…without me!

It went pin straight down the right side of the road, gaining speed as I chased it.

It decided to make a sharp right turn and smashed its way up the curb, did some dramatic flips, and landed awkwardly on its side.

I caught up, rolled it over and tried to start the process again without the choke.

It started up, but the right front wheel frame piece was bent straight up into the sky. I wasn’t going to be able to drive it home, after all. I wasn’t far from home and another friend came out to lend me a hand. We managed to push it back and into the shed.

I hadn’t been busted by the cops, but now I was going to have to explain what happened to my dad. At that young age, that was a fate much worse.

To be honest, I don’t remember what happened when I told him about the bent kart or if I even rode the thing ever again! Along with the kart itself, the memory, too, is simply gone. Oh well, I never turned into a Formula 1 champ, but the MX continued!

With Christmas over now, we’ll try to get back to a more normal time so I can stop boring you all with stories from back in the day. I hope everyone had as good a Christmas as was possible this year.

Next, it’s time for our annual DMX Awards! We’l recruit Greg Poisson for his thoughts on this one. Watch for that coming up soon here on the site.

Next time we sit down for a Monday Morning Coffee, it will be 2021. Have a great week and a very Happy New Year! Thanks for all the support this past year.

Bigwave Senior ripping it up! | Cary Hitchen photo

This was my first Christmas without my dad. He passed away in late March. It’s been a roller coaster ride of emotions for us here. For every moment of sadness, I’ve got hundreds of fun stories about great moto times with him and the travels and adventures we went on together.

I’ve got a massive photo album filled with photos he took over the years. We never took the sport to the top, but that was never the point for us. No matter what the results were, the deeper meaning was always the time we spent together as a family. Remember that and we’ll see you at the races…