The land of the Walton motocross track was originally part of the acreage farmed by the Lee family. An early interest in motorcycles evolved into an interest in off-road riding. This led to the track becoming a local centre of activity for many casual riders and aspiring competitors.A club was formed called the Maitland Dirt Riders which organized its first event in August 1974. This was for Juniors and Schoolboys only (today beginners, juniors, 80 beginners & 80 Experts). Over 300 riders showed up and was so successful that another event was held in October. The sight of riders sliding down frozen clay slopes dictated earlier race dates in following years.
The Maitland Dirt Riders hosted a two day event every year with Juniors and schoolboys one day and seniors and experts the next. From 1976-1979 Molson Breweries sponsored a provincial championship series for experts and Walton was the favorite site of both fans and racers. Racers competing in the Molson series came from Sweden, Japan, England, Czechoslovakia, Finland, and of course across Canada and the USA. Qualifying heats for expert classes , 3,000-4,000 spectators were not unusual.
In 1981 the Ontario round of the Canadian National Series at Walton saw Ross Pederson begin his dominance which extended until his retirement after his sweep at the 1993 TransCan.
The track sat dormant until a new Lee generation were getting involved in the sport, so a two day event was organized in 1991.
While reflecting about the success of the 1991 event, we noted that there was a lack of a really major, prestigious event (such as Loretta Lynn Amateur Nationals in the USA). Thus a concept was born. Walton would hold an annual event drawing on all the best things in the sport, an annual coming together for bragging rights, a celebration of Canadian motocross!
We developed a five year plan, building from a great natural track ridden on once a year, strong community support, accessability and support facilities. The emphasis was to be real outdoor style motocross, highly competitive with lots of extracurricular attractions and opportunity to socialize. The format was to be a four day schedule with open practice and four long motos per class.
1992 – It’s expensive, risky and a lot of work! Would sponsors participate? Would riders come? Could we get everything done? What did we forget? Craig Pratly and Ryan Hunt head up a contingent from England to show how to ride outdoor motocross. Is it over already? EVERYBODY LOVED IT!! Are we broke? Do we ever want to be this tired again?
1993 – Ross Pederson makes a farewell tour and spanks everyone one more time while he does it.
1994 – (the year of the beer bug) TSN gives the event a national profile with two half hour shows. A torrential downpour on Saturday provides a brief interlude for ‘belly racing’ on the finish line hill. The bridge goes up.
1995 – (the year of the fly)Carl Vaillancourt calls it quits after clinching the National pro title in titanic duel with Marty Burr while Marty sweeps all four motos.
1996 – 800 riders, full national coverage of the pro racing on TSN which includes Nicolas Wey’s pro debut, Jeff Matiasevich, Jean Sebastien Roy having his worst race of the year and Marco Dube proving he’s for real.
1997- Nick Wey returns winning the 125cc/250cc. Travis Pastrana won the fans and the Intermediate class.
1998- JSR showed up to win both 125cc and 250cc, but Dube would be crowned champion by days end. An unknown Canadian named Justin Thompson
wins the first Bronze Boot Award.
1999- Josh Woods made his Pro debut taking the 125cc/250cc wins.
2000- Sean Hamblin shocks his team Blackfoot Honda by showing up on a Two Wheel Kawasaki, when Honda opted not to bring him to the East/West Walton Shoot Out. Doug Dubach celebrated his birthday with a National Championship.
2001- Peter Raymer becomes the first rider to swept 9 motos straight. Rain of biblical proportions fall forcing CMRC officials to cancel 2nd motos. Darcy Lange in the 250cc and Simon Homans in the 125cc get soggy wins.
2002- Blair Morgan finally won a Walton overall, out dueling JSR. Trevor Hall dominated Junior to win the Bronze Boot. Gavin Gracyk won the Pro 125cc.
2003- The Extreme Sport Series rolls in. JSR rolls the competition with two wire to wire moto wins. Bronze Boot winner Tyler Medaglia shocked everyone by winning his Pro qualifier, beating series leader and eventual Champ Randy Valade. The Honda Pavilion unveiled-Big, Bad and Red!
2004- Justin Keeney arrived and put a clinic on in smooth riding winning the 125 Pro class. Donnie Mc Gourty clinched the 125 East National championship. JSR had wrapped up the championship the weekend prior but came to Walton to hold his title as King of Walton. Mitch Cooke had his break out ride and earned his first career 250cc Pro podium finish. For the first time in Canadian Motocross history a full line of women lined up for the womens championship.
2005 Gavin Grayck wins his first ‘King of Walton’ sword. Heidi Cooke wins her last of 5 consecutive titles…a TransCan record.
2006 Nathan Slater wins Atlantic Canada’s first bronze boot. Dean Wilson wins his last Amateur National Championships at Walton.
2007 Jolene Van Vugt finally wins Walton. Tucker Hibbert wins the last East/West MX2 shootout.
2008 Dylan Kaelin and Ryan Millar wage war in intermediate. Doug Dehaan wins their his TransCan Championship.
2009 Josh Woods, Marco Dube wage war in +25. Dube, ends up going down, while unhurt it does signal the last race of his long career at Walton. Dean Wilson wins his first moto as a Pro. Jeremy Medaglia wins Walton MX2 overall.
2010 Richard Grey holeshoted the MX2 Pro class. Bobby Kinary wins his first Pro Canadian National.
2010 – Parts Canada comes on board as the Title Sponsors of the TransCan, A pre tailgate party is born to cope with over 450 vehicles lined up on the road in 2009 before opening day
2011 – A perfect week is ended late saturday as a huge weather system blows in. Sunday is pounded by what we would later learn to be a deadly tornado that ruined the town of Goderich. The amateur week is highlighted by Swiss Champion Julien Bill in the +25 class.
2012 – A big facility change greets the very best riders in the country for the 2012 Walton TransCan. The week is highlighted by great racing in the schoolboy classes and emotional wins for east coast rider Ryan Lockhart. A first ever “Fan Party” has more than 1000 fans go through a giant autograph line up featuring all the Pro racers. It was also a home coming for London girl, Nitro Girl Jolene Van Vugt.
2013- The 2013 Parts Canada TransCan continued with records crowds and great racing to make the week one of the best ever. Everyone who attended will not forget the great racing from riders like Dylan Wright, Joey Crown and local boy Nathan Bles. On Sunday fans got to witness one of the best riders in the world and the 2013 MX1 Champion Brett Metcalfe have his win streak ended by another local boy Cole Thompson. Cole is a former Walton TransCan Champion so for fans to see him hoist up the Walton Sword as the “King of Walton” was very special.
Canada’s Biggest Outdoor Motocross Event
The Walton TransCan Grand National Championship is a week long festival of fun and excitement! For this annual “Celebration of Canadian Motocross,” over 1,000 motocross riders and their families cross borders and cross the country to compete for Canada’s most prestigious motocross awards.
Starting early in the race season every CMRC region in the country hosts amateur national qualifier events to establish who is invited to compete. They arrive early in the week for four days of amateur racing at Walton for the title of CMRC Amateur National Champion.
Walton has the honour of hosting the final round of the nine-race National Pro MX1 Championship, which follows the amateur event schedule. The Pro MX1 championship is highlighted by the presentation of the spectacular “King of Walton” sword to the overall winner during the final round.
Walton also stages the final clash between the top pro MX2 riders. The event has been coined the MX2 Shootout and every year the racing is filled with excitement and controversy as young-gun riders battle for recognition in the last outdoor national event of the year.
Amongst the racing there is also a full slate of social activities: scavenger hunts, bingo, nightly entertainment, paint ball, food court, and lots more. Plus special events like the Heritage race and the popular Canada Cup east/West Challenge.
Every year, over 30,000 visitors have full access to pro and amateur racing pits, where fans are welcomed to mingle with racers, get autographs and posters. Walton also hosts the biggest off-road motorcycle trade show in the country along with live entertainment, freestyle demos, riding demos (with supplied equipment and instructors), beer gardens, helicopter rides, hospitality tent and lots of contests, games and giveaways.
The #1 Motocross Race in Promotion, Presentation and Organization
Over 15 million impressions of combined pre-event promotion, event participation and international post-event coverage help to draw the largest motocross crowd in Canada to the small, quaint town of Walton.
Extensive mass media promotion include advertising on television, radio, billboards, Internet, direct mail, print, posters, etc. plus creative co-promotions with some of the region’s most successful marketers.
Media coverage includes Canadian and US motorcycle magazines, regional television and radio reporting plus national TV coverage is provided by SPI’s one hour broadcast production and internet sites too numerous to count.
The Walton TransCan is the result of the efforts of many individuals and their efforts over the years, too many to list, but all can take great personal pride in their contribution. When the fields of Huron County once again reverberate to the pulse quickening sounds of motocross, the pageantry and the spectacle of the ultimate motorized competition each one can take pride in being part of the tradition.