Via : www.offroadmotorcycles.ca
The above photo is a perfect representation of the ‘Johnny Parker’ era I remember so fondly. I was just a little kid in the stands at Welland County Speedway, watching Parker hammer around with a ton of ’70s hair streaming out behind his Kawasaki or Harley XR750. My parents used to ‘sugar me up real good’ and force me to have a Saturday afternoon nap so I had a fighting chance of staying up long enough to watch the finals. Invariably the show would run late, and lots of times I’d fall asleep on the wooden bleachers listening to the ferocious sound of a pack of XR750s.
The next morning I’d tell my friends all about the races, and before long we’d be scraping our knees to the bone racing our bicycles around in circles. Naturally I’d be rocking the 111 of Johnny Parker, I mean, by putting his number on my Schwinn how could I lose? Besides, it was an easy number to replicate with electrical tape.
Parker, who holds five CMA #1 titles, 21 National Titles, 32 Provincial titles also has the record for the most National wins in a row and has won the coveted White trophy. Of course he has a small handful of rivals, but it’s safe to say he’s pretty much dominated Dirt Track in Canada.
Now, a whole bunch of years later, I got to know John a bit through his job as Shop Operations Manager of the motorcycle department at Budds BMW where he’s taking care of our long-term test BMW G450X. Honestly, I was a bit nervous about meeting him since he was a hero of mine as a kid, but before long we got talking about dirt track and all the people we both knew. A few days later we were hanging out n his garage, digging through old photos and talking motorcycles, just like a pair of kids who never really grew up.
Parker is still racing, winning and psyching-out the younger racers in the pits. And he’s just as fast as ever, finishing second to Don Taylor in 2009. He’s long been associated with Kawasaki Canada, and his home business, John Parker Racing, is a leader in dirt track engine and chassis technology. For motoheads, like you and I, the amount of craftmanship that goes into a Pro-level dirt track bike when compared to your average motocross bike is sick. Sick enough in fact to make even factory MX bikes look downright agricultural. They say a picture tells a thousand words. If that’s the case, then the following thousand or so photos can give any classic adventure novel a run for the money.
The following pics are from John Parker’s personal archives, unless otherwise noted.