Memories of Rollerball
By:
Steve

It's no secret that I'm a big fan of Ross "Rollerball" Pederson, the bajillion time Canadian champion. Ross was an icon in Canadian moto, nobody could beat him for many, many years. When I was a little kid, the only pro racing I got to see was when the gods of Canadian moto came to my local track. And that track was Austin, just the roughest sand track ever. Endless depths of beach sand, big rolling bumps...only the fittest could challenge and tame the Austin track. And The Ross always tamed it, even when the pros raced 3 classes, 6 motos in a day. The Ross would lay the smack down on each and every challenger until he retired as the defending CDN champ in 1993. He ventured south many times and podiumed the '87 Hangtown national behind RJ and Wardy. He was top five in the AMA outdoors many times and his best supercross finish was a 7th. If he didn't already have a cool nickname, I would nominate "MX Jesus" as his.

He also raced arenacrosses across the country, The Ross would go anywhere if the purse was big and he would challenge anybody, anytime. His epic battles with Jim Holley is the stuff of legends, his sx wins in Montreal,Vancouver and Toronto helped the whole country come together as one. He was also not one to be fooled with on the track as his nickname suited him well. He liked the aggressive racing and basically was the size of a linebacker so not too many people tried anything with him. Mitch Payton told me one time that Danny Storbeck and Jeff Hicks came to him to ask if he could tell Ross to take it easy out on the track. They figured that since Mitch sponsored all three guys, maybe he could talk some sense into the man known as "Roller". Mitch just said to the guys to settle it on the track if they didn't like him. Of course, there was nothing ever done. Ross Maeda told me that when he did Ross's suspension his mechanic would show up at the shop and then 45 min later Ross would come up, all sweaty. He had told his mechanic to drop him off miles from the shop and he would jog there. Ross said he would be wearing jeans and some running shoes! The Ross told me that he used to ride until the tank was empty on his bike and then drink some water and head out for more training. He was a self made champion who was just an animal.

The men who beat Ross in Canada should be imortalized. Al Dyck, Mike Harnden, Doug Hoover and Carl Vaillancourt were the only ones from 1981 to 1993 to ever beat Ross in a title chase. I've gone on enough about Ross, send me your Ross stories and pictures and I'll put'em up. We can all share what it was like to be around a hero.

Here's a podcast I did with him recently. I almost pooped my pants when he picked up but somehow I managed to get through it. Listen to it here.

I gathered up a Greatest Hits of the Rollerball and put it down to paper HERE

I did a second podcast with Ross and included his long-time racing rival Jim Holley HERE

Here he is in all his glory. The Ross wore Answer gear for most of his career. Never mind his number putting on abilities, he was all business at the track. Ross rode Suzukis his whole career except the early 80's when he was on Kawi's and two years on Yamaha ('86, '87). A Bill Petro photo.

 

This is a photo from MXA that I scanned all crappy like. This is Roller with his lowest AMA number. Notice the "RM" on the shrouds that is worn off, Ross went so fast he blew them half off. What I wouldn't give to be in those...errrr... have those pants.
Found this on Google images. This is absolutely CLASSIC Roller. Attacking the track, R&M Pro Flo gloves (Canada only), Griffin helmet which wasn't legal in the USA so Ross, in a clever move, would put Griffin stickers on a Bell. Only a man like Ross wouldn't be scared to wear bright pink gear or use pink handlebars. What are you gonna do, try to beat him up?
Ross's Hi-Flyer card, he was winding down his career at this point and #80 would be his last AMA number. He was older and maybe not as dangerous as he once was but I guarantee you he was still faster then you at this point.
Found this on Google images also. He's not THE Ross Pederson, but I bet he wishes he was. I also bet he is the best flooring specialist in the world because of his name.
I heard that when you looked him in the eyes your legs turned to jello and you peed your pants. I was too young to know for sure but that's what I heard.
Another crappy scan but this was 1987 and he had his best year ever in my opinion. Won everything in Canada and got 3rd at Hangtown 250 National. He was a force, just an immovable object...like a Rollerball.

 

The epic story written by RXC's Brett Dailey, the man, myth and legend was in full display here. Look at him doing up his glove before he goes to battle. Something I always wondered, why is one boot clean and the other so dirty?
His cover shot and the last ever issue of RXC published. Kind of fitting I think. This was 1984 and he was the man, he told me in the podcast that this was the year he made the most money.

 

Look at the intensity! This is Ross in the early 80's, just getting into his prime years. I dunno about you but I get goose bumps just looking at this. That helmet makes him look a little like Marvin the Martian though. Thanks to Bill Petro for the use of his photos.
This is 1981 and probably Toronto SX because it was always muddy at the Old Ex stadium in TO. Ross was a great mud rider, a great dry rider and a great sand rider. The promoters would always bring these big shot American riders up to battle The Ross in the sx's but more times then not, he would defend his countries honor. A Bill Petro photo.
Montreal Supercross in early nineties, The Ross ducking to the inside like any good rider would. He no doubt had such a prime gate pick from dominating his heat race. The #2 rider is his arch enemy Al Dyck (himself a great rider), #4 is No Fear head honcho Jeff Surwall and I think the #5 is "Wild" Bill Wallin. Bill Petro photo.
I thought it was appropriate to end this photo essay with a pose that The Ross was very used to. Look at the cuffs of his gloves, they look like gardening gloves! How much you wanna bet he took the trophy girl home that night? He pissed excellence and pooped first place trophies. Another Bill Petro photo.

 BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE!

Here is the Ross at the 1982 Quebec 500 GP. I had no idea they had a GP in Quebec. Of course, I was nine. But whatever, here he is flying through the air on his POS RM500. MY buddy Gerald who took these photos thinks he went 5-DNF or something like that. I heard he went 1-1 but what do I know?
Here's Roller talking things over with Mike Harnden and a guy named Kingsley at that same GP. Ross was number 54 in the USA this year so this must be practice.  His sweet race van and tent is in the background there. I remember him having that in Austin, it was pretty sweet for sure. Kingsley should get bonus points for the awesome KTM 495 that I'm sure handled great
This is the start of a Canadian national in Quebec. Again, Gerald took this photo because there are two Manitobans in the picture, number 11, Don Gill and number 52 Al Keith. We were laughing because they both have their first and last names on their jerseys. That must've been a Manitoba thing! Check the guy dropping the gate just chilling in the middle. Also that number 99, Rob Hodgson was pretty fast I think.

 

Here he is in 1986 at Millville in the massive whoop section. Once again he's on a sub-par big bike. His YZ490 up against the CR and KX500's is like a small double cheeseburger against me. I love this gear and Gerald thinks he went 5-6 or something like that on this day.

 

Here's a cool shot of Ross from the Thunder Bay national that the guys are talking about below. Nice form and nice picture all these years later. Thanks to Allan Legacy for this picture and that cool story below.

Comments

Those were the days

Good to see some history of the old days. I always thought I was pretty fast at Austin but Ross sure was at another level. I haven't seem any Manitoba MX guys for a long time so it's good to see some pics. I raced from '81-87 with Don Gill and Screamin' Al. Bryon #29 (always on Suzuki). Now #129 on a YZ in Coquitlam.

Ross Pederson 1981 Jersey

Hey !
I have a 1981 jersey from Ross Pederson. I wonder where I could find pictures of
him that year on the racing track. I know there was a Suzuki photo shoot of him that
year with this jersey, but I can't find them anywhere. Thanks !!
Here is a link if you want to see my Ross Pederson Jersey from 1981.
http://s1231.photobucket.com/albums/ee520/moyzemusic/Ross%20Pederson/
pgauthier3 [at] hotmail [dot] com

Cool site for you Ontario

Not 100% sure but..

I think that Kingsley guy is Paul Kingsley..It sure looks like him.If it is him, he is now the head ref for the CMX in Ontario...

Of course I knew you Al,

Of course I knew you Al, (that's why I was teasing you) but it wasn't until the mid 80s that we ever talked. (at parties lol) Casey had just moved to Thunder Bay I think and we started hanging out. I was all done with MX by then. Casey was still a schoolboy when I started in racing 250 Junior in 1978 and I think he moved to the big bikes in 79. I won the Ontario High Point award 3 years running myself, 250 Junior, Senior and Expert. My main competition through the the years were Shane Drew, Bill Drew (when they were home) Bernie Cox, Dave Goodfellow, Dave Drew, Ron Doiron, Casey, Brian Hill, Ted Jedruch, Murray Williams.....

When Casey went road racing in the late 80s I was his mechanic for a few years.

Terry K.

Ahh Terry I am a complete idiot, I can't believe I didn't remember you, Of course "Terry". I was thinking who the hell is this guy busting my balls? I was trying to think of who you were for a week straight. How are you Terry? I'm glad to hear from you. You got the High Point award to eh, three years running, very nice. Where you racing or around the track in 81, 82, 83? I sort of kept to myself back then so I don't think I would have known you then. i found this site by chance and when I saw that story about Drew trying to hit Pederson on the track I dam near fell off my chair, It all came back to be in spades ,when he kicked my RM 250 and sent me flying at Blake Hall. What really bothered me was nothing was done to him, he wasn't black flaged , no suspension, nothing! It's someting that always stuck in my side over the years. This is nothing against you being from T-BAY , however the Thunder Bay crowd didn't like Casey and me and always were looking to bust us for the smallest infractions and little things, If I would have nailed Drew like that if front of the grand stand they would have crucified me, no doubt, black flag and suspended, oh well, thems the breaks eh. Have you seen the site on Face book, called CMA racing in the 1970's and 80's, its a great site and I posted many pics on there, check it out if you have time. Steve put a pic of me on this site as well, old ass moto pics, Murillo fall fair, 1982, you were probably there. Any way great to here from you and please post again on here, It's always nice to talk to an old friend, take care.

Allan L.

lol, no problem. There were

lol, no problem. There were some foggy years between then and now and they come back to bite me as well more and more often the older I get! it's funny how much faster I get every year and how much slower everyone else was! lol

I was pretty much done racing by 82' but I did the odd local event.

Have you ever heard the Kim Houde/Don Gill story that happened after the Provincial championships in Nipigon?? Not sure I can share that one here lol.

Hey can you post the facebook link to that CMA site? I can't seem to find it.

I know this story (and the

I know this story (and the Drews) well. It was in Thunder Bay, and Bill never, ever took any shit, from anyone on the track. I guess all the hype around Rollerball got the best of Billy! lol

PS: Allan L you are a legend in your own mind buddy! lol, jk
Casey was the fastest dude to come out of Nipigon.

I know this story!

I guess the 7 huge boxes of all first place trophies in my basement, are in my mind as well eh, ha ha. I maintained a perfect 1-1 race record the three years I raced, all joking and kidding aside I'm very proud of that fact and the HIGH POINT awards I recieved during those years. Casey and I were best friends. As I was in senior and he was in expert we couldn't race aganst each other on a regular basis, I was only 16 and just moved up from 125 junior,Casey and many others told me I should have skipped senior class and went directly into expert however I was told by some official that I had to run senior for that year, and I believed him, Casey was 21 or 22 and was riding expert for many years. However the very last race we both were in was a open race at Blake Hall, it was 3 motos instead of two, the track was the absolute best we had ever seen. First moto Casey won it by a bike lentgh to me,second moto I took it a bike lentgh on Casey,it was that tight and the third moto I took it. We blew the hinges off all the other riders that day, Casey told me it was the fatest he ever rode, me to. We pushed each other to the edge and beyond that day, we always talked about that race when we talk about the past. Guys that were once serious contenders over the years like Shawn Appel and Rob Tougenhaggen, and other experts I can't recall their names just seem to fizzle out, they were lost in our dust that day. Casey had his KTM 250 and me on my Suzuki RM 250. Also Casey was faster than Bill Drew as well, but he had a'lot of bad luck with mechanical problems that hampered his placings, it was really too bad, he deserved better. The Drew boys were down in southern Ont racing some were else that day I remember, It wouldn't have mattered any way, I don't care what anyone says, not that day. Perhaps some one who was there that day could give their account, I would love to hear from them. Terry K? Did I know you? did you race? If you were around at that time you would have known me.

the beginning

my name is rob anderson, my family moved from thunder bay to nipigon in 1978, and i had a passion to race motocross, i had a kx-80 at the time, and i met allan legacy, he hadn't raced yet but had a rm 80, and we used to go to the pits to ride and just goof off, i remember once allan and i were at his place and it was really muddy, he had a home made track and we rode around it and after that, we spent some time spraying each other with mud, we were both covered from head to toe, then we went to the carwash and sprayed each other clean, i was into racing and told him he should come out and join, i was an average racer, fast when practicing, but not good in competition, i was more in it just to be one of the boys, anyway, i remember allans first race, this was in nipigon, i knew all the hotshots from thunder bay, i told them of my new friend allan legacy, his first race, he shot out front and was gone, but he was so fast and crazy, he crashed, still did well, don't remember exactly what place he got, but we had some good times, he had so much talent, i think he was by far the best to come out of nipigon, havent seen him for many years but will never forget out times together as this was a difficult time of life for me, thanks for all the good times allan, if you want to get a hold of me, i am on facebook

Re Race Bikes

Hey I'm looking for some of my old Race Bikes that my Brother and i used while racing in Thunder bay Kawasaki kx 80,125,250 1980 thur 1984

if anyone out there may know..

Regards

Andy Myers

Billy Drew threw punches at Ross at a Thunder Bay National

Maybe someone will remember this, it would have happened in the early 80's at a national at Thunder Bay. My brother Bernie Cox was in the race as were both Drew brothers. Shane Drew is the more famous Drew, but is brother Billy was very fast in his day too. Bernie told me this story and I would have to ask him to recount the details.

Apparently Ross was coming around to pass Bill, it might have been to lap him or perhaps Ross was just coming through. Bill got mad and deliberately knocked the Rollerball off his Suzuki and proceeded to lay a series of punches on a totally surprised champ.

Ross got back up and finished the race, he always won by a long ways. Later Bernie was out for dinner with Bill and a bunch of other local racers when they spotted Ross. They approached him for just to say hi and congrats and Ross said something to effect "You're not going to punch me again are you?"

Bill Drew Punches!!

HA HA HA

I can't believe I found this site, I was looking at old moto-x videos and came across this. First of all the race was in Thunder Bay not Nipigon, I am from Nipigon and was there at that race in Thunder bay. I was racing in 125 junior support race they had that day at the national(I went 1-1)Bill Drew, ahh man this guy I knew too well. I was racing 250 senior, my first race on a 250 it was the next year after the nationals Pederson was at. They let the experts go first as not to conjest the track up, then they let us go 30 secs later. I caught up to the experts very quickly and right in front of the grand stand I made my move on Drew on his left side,it was a hello and good by pass, but his ego couldn't handle a senior passing him so he kicked my bike, in front of everyone, right on my forks and it sent me tumbling down. I was so mad I wanted to kill him, ha ha. I raced back passed everyone I could and was going to t-bone him and send him to the moon, I caught him and was waiting for the right moment on the back part of the track but the race ended before I could finish my mission, I have imagned thatscenario a million times over the years, I was just a crazy as he was but I was a "good guy' and I was only 15 or 16, he was like 21,22. Back at the pits I grabbed a tire iron I think and was going to kill him, lucky my dad was there,So yeah, Drew definetly did this to Ross. Ross absolute killed at the nationals, he smoked everyone like the little salmon they were. I remember the speed was insane I thought I was fast and I was, faster than Bill Drew and he knew it, Shane? I would say he and Casey Beerman and I were all at the same skill level and speed at the end. Ross had some weird warp speed, I was in awe. In the pits everyone was around his van and tent, all the factory image and mechanics was nothing any of us were use to at the time. The club died out 3 years later and I packed it in, I remember I was looking to go pro, was talking with Suzuki at that time but got into street bikes and the rest is history, something I have always regreted. I have a cool pic of Ross that day, Ill scan it and send it in. Love the site and all the good memories, I'll be back, thank you.

Allan Legacy.

Punches

I think this was Nipigon not Thunder Bay. As I remember the story, Billy felt he was slighted by Ross somehow as he was passed or lapped, so he waited for Ross to come around again and tried to take him out. I understand the sentiment. You have a picture of me lined up next to Ross at the Ulverton, Quebec National in 1983. Ross lapped me and as he did he caused me to cartwheel down a huge hill. Ross was such an iron man that he caused shit all around him without realizing it. I agree, he was amazing.

Roller Ball

Hey Steve, I've got 1 of his jersey's!
I was Doug Hoovers Mechanic in 84 and 86 for Half of the Canadian nationals, also went to Gotenberg SX and was the Wrench for the MX Des Team Canada in 85. I just listened to the Ross Pederson podcast and it brought back alot of memories.
Great Podcast
Rick Sparling
X Factory Wrench

well I remember

at a arena cross in Minneapolis with my kids riding support, yes the big Steevo was on his 80 cc , walking the track during an intermission and Ross was sitting on his bike in the middle of the trak. I went up to say hi and we were talking and he asked me about what I thought about his suspension. We both bent down and were looking at the shock, well when I went back to the kids and told them, Steves eyes started to tear up and a look of adoration came into his face. That day I knew I was a super star in my sons eyes. Thanks Ross

Ross riding for Kawasaki

The only time I ever saw Ross (that I remember ) was at a Supercross race in the U.S. It was 1981 and I remember vividly that he was on a KX 250 which I had gotten as a 18th birthday present. It was hard not to be impressed with his speed that race although I'm not sure how well he finished.