Ross “Rollerball” Pederson was, in his day, unbeatable. It’s that simple folks. His reign of terror (for his competitors) from 1980 to ‘93 was also a lot longer than RC’s, who only stuck around for a puny 10.5 years. Ross captured 29 (yes, twenty-nine!) Canadian motocross titles in that time. In this time span, The Ross only lost four titles out 33 that he raced. He didn’t race a 500 because Suzuki didn’t make one for a few years, throwing a bone to Carl Vaillancourt and letting him win. Some guy named Mike Harnden beat him on a vastly superior CR480 one year, and I still remember being in my local shop and hearing that somehow, some way, Doug “Sweeper” Hoover had managed to topple the King in the 125s in 1985. When I heard that, I immediately climbed into our family bomb shelter because the world was coming to an end.
I agree that RC probably had tougher competition (Tim Ferry) during his run, but for giggles’ sake, let’s take his 29 titles and, using today’s U.S.-Canadian exchange rate….divide it, carry the one…and it still works out to 26! Much better then RC’s 10 titles. The Medicine Hat, Alberta Machine also found time during his moto beat-downs to travel south and try his luck against the mighty Americans. Did you know he got third overall at the ‘87 Hangtown National? What about another third at Red Bud? Didn’t think so. What about him getting eighth O/A in the 1987 AMA 250 Nationals, despite missing some races? The GOAT just did that in supercross, but he raced seven times; the whole ’87 250 outdoor tour was only six rounds!
All in all, Ross managed to get 12 top-ten O/A’s in AMA motocross, despite never having factory equipment like our boy RC.
One final thought, while RC was out winning all of his championships, he was racing two 35-minute motos. That’s pretty tough, except that the Maple Leaf Missile was racing three classes, six 40-minute motos in a day—with no Aldon Baker in sight! I heard he ate lightning and crapped thunder, but that can’t be confirmed.
So remember all of this next time you’re saddled up to the local watering hole discussing who the greatest Moto-X rider is.
Take this bench racing ammo and cram it in your pie hole:
1980: 500 MX Champ 1981: 250 and 500 MX Champ 1982: 125 and 250 and 500 MX Champ 1983: 125 and 250 and 500 MX Champ 1984: 125 and 250 MX Champ 1985: 250 and 500 MX Champ 1986: 125 and 250 and 500 MX Champ 1987: (Yawn) 125 and 250 and 500 MX Champ, plus 8th AMA 250 MX 1988: 250 MX Champ 1989: Injured in an off track bar fight where he beat up the whole bar 1990: 125 and 250 MX Champ 1991: 125 and 250 and 500 MX Champ 1992: 125 and 250 MX Champ 1993: 125 and 250 MX Champ