FAQ

What is Off-Road Ontario?

Off-Road Ontario is a not-for-profit cooperative of local clubs and race organizers throughout the province working together to bring you top caliber off road motorcycle racing.

The objective of Off-Road Ontario is to offer a Provincial Series of family friendly off-road motorcycle racing events. Our class structure is designed to facilitate learning and enjoying the sport at any age, gender or level of experience.

The competition is designed to create just the right challenge for anyone from trail rider to Pro racer.

You can contact us here for general inquiries : Offroad Ontario Email Address

What are the origins of Off-Road Ontario?

The inaugural season for Off-Road Ontario (OO) was 2010. The seeds for the creation of OO were sewn throughout the early years of this millennium, but finally germinated in the fall of 2009. To ‘get’ where OO came from, it is helpful to know what existed before.

For decades, all things motorcycling in Canada fell under the Canadian Motorcycle Association (CMA), which was the national sanctioning body for most any form of motorcycle racing. For purposes of administration, the country was, and still is, divided up into regions – some just one province, like Ontario or Quebec Region and others like the Atlantic Region, consisting of all Maritime Provinces.

The National office and the Ontario Region were operated out of Hamilton. The CMA BOD consisted of elected volunteer directors from each region, and one of those directors was chosen by the Board to be the President. There was a paid National General Manager and a very small staff. Within the regions, there were volunteer committees to direct the motorcycling agendas of those regions. Competition in Ontario was overseen by the Ontario Region Competition Committee. On that committee, there were elected or acclaimed representatives from the various racing disciplines such as dirt track, trials, motocross, road racing and off-road.

Commencing in the late 1970s, promoting clubs and riders alike began to sense a degree of dysfunction in the way regional and national racing was governed. Those with expertise in specific genres of racing felt restricted by the generalist nature of CMA leadership and its racing model. One by one, not in conjunction with each other, and sometimes years apart, motocross, then road racing, trials and some dirt track organizations formed their independent organizations.

The Ontario off-road clubs were reluctant to abandon the CMA, which has a proud and respected history, which includes years of ISDE and formerly ISDT participation. These clubs, who had traditionally hosted CMA hare scrambles and enduros had witnessed reduced enthusiasm for, and participation in, both types of off-road competition. At year-end review meetings of the CMA promoting clubs in both 2008 and 2009, the feeling was expressed that change was required to inject some life into our Ontario series. Some tweaks could be made by the individual clubs hosting events, but most clubs felt there needed to be some administrative changes in the CMA/club relationship to help promote our racing. When almost divine intervention was required to get the CMA to accept the term “Cross Country Race” instead of “Hare Scramble”, we knew that we didn’t have much chance of getting CMA buy-in for some of our other suggestions.

The big difference between the fall of 2009 and previous years was that one club, the Oshawa Competition Motorcycle Club (OCMC), showed up at the fall CMA review, with an alternate plan, should the CMA again reject our suggestions. When CMA leadership advised us that our requests, with the exception of the hare scramble name change, could not be accepted, Off-Road Ontario was formed. Without the forethought and groundwork of Bill Watson, supported by his club, OCMC, OO likely could not have taken flight for the 2010 season.

Below, copied from the FAQ section of this website, is the mandate, or mission statement, or raison d’etre of OO. It has existed from the beginning, with minimal change.

 Off-Road Ontario is a not-for-profit cooperative of local clubs and race organizers throughout the province working together to bring you top caliber off road racing.

 The objective of Off-Road Ontario is to offer a Provincial Series of family friendly off-road motorcycle racing events. Our class structure is designed to facilitate learning and enjoying the sport at any age, gender or level of experience.

 The competition is designed to create just the right challenge for anyone from Trail Rider to Pro racer.

We are still a club based organization, but we have tried to make room for independent promoters, while operating primarily on volunteer manpower. Where we go from here is largely up to our members, at least the ones prepared to invest their time in the organization. In the words of a very good friend, ” The world is run by those who show up.” So if you would like to help guide OO in to the future, let the current executive know. Opinions are good; workers are even better!

2010
President – Dave Percival
Treasurer – Stephan Van Klink
Treasurer – Warren Thaxter
Secretary – Bill Watson

2011
President – Blair Sharpless
Treasurer – Warren Thaxter
Secretary – Bill Watson
Competition Chair – Rick Day

2012
President – Bill Watson
Treasurer – Warren Thaxter
Secretary – Cam Lowe
Competition Chairman – Rick Day
Registrar – Bryan Kowalchuk

2013
President – Rick Hone
Treasurer – Dave Kube
Secretary – Cam Lowe
Competition Chairman – Ted Dirstein
Registrar – Bryan Kowalchuk

2014
President – Ted Dirstein
Treasurer – Dave Kube
Secretary – Cam Lowe
Competition Chairman – Wayne Brogan
Registrar – Bryan Kowalchuk

 

2015
President – Ted Dirstein
Treasurer – Dave Kube
Secretary – Cam Lowe
Competition Chairman – Wayne Brogan
Registrar – Bryan Kowalchuk

 

What kind of races does Off-Road Ontario offer?

Off-Road Ontario offers two similar but distinct race series; Enduro and Cross Country

How do Enduros work?

Enduro races are series of stages where the competitor is timed from the start of the stage to the end. Some stages are timed to the second while some are timed to the minute. The timed stages are connected by transit sections where the competitor is expected to maintain an average speed, but are usually not timed. Since Off-Road Ontario is investing in electronic scoring, most enduro sections will be timed to the second.

Competitors are lined up at each section usually by three bikes based on the minute you are currently on. When you sign up for the race you are given a minute which is the number of minutes you have to start after the “key time” which is the time when the race begins. For example, if key time is 10:00AM, and have been given minutes 20, you and two other riders (20A, 20B, 20C) will leave the start at 10:20AM.

Enduro races are usually over 100km but may exceed 140km over the day. Typically, sections are timed by a standard speed, often 36km/hr and competitors collect “minutes” by how many minutes late the competitor arrives at the check leaving the stage based on the average speed. The goal of the racer is to collect the fewest minutes over the day; the lowest score wins. If a competitor collects more than 60 minutes during the race, they are considered “houred out” and may be asked to return to the start without completing the course. Enduro races can last from 4 to over 6 hours depending on the race and conditions.

Often, enduro races have one or more “special tests” which are not based on an average speed, but on the racers exact time to the second to complete the stage. These special tests are often used to break a tie where two or more competitors in the same class who have collected the same amount of minutes during the day.

Unlike the traditional old school enduro races, no special time keeping equipment or crazy time math is required to race an enduro. Simply ride as fast as you can through the timed stages, and maintain the proper speed through the transit sections. Most races leave adequate time to get from check to check during the transit sections, so you typically will have a few minutes to catch your breath and have a drink of water before you enter the next stage.  You will usually have two gas stops during the day which also allow you to have a 10 minutes break to take care of yourself and your motorcycle.

How do Cross Country races work?

Cross country or “hare scramble” races occur over a closed course and have a duration of 2 to almost 3 hours depending on the course and the class you enter. The competitors line up in with other riders in the same class at the start with their motorcycle engines turned off. When the class lined up in front of you leaves, you typically would have one minute before the flag man waves you to start your engine and race to the first corner with the other competitors in your class.

Cross country courses vary in length but typically you would complete anywhere from 2 to 6 or more laps during the race. At each lap, you are required to stop and pass through the “timing barrels” where your lap time is recorded electronically. There is a large display visible to the competitor which will show the amount of time left in the race and their current position. Some motorcycles can complete the race on a single tank of gas.  A pit area is provided where competitors can stop and refuel their bike if required. DON’T FORGET TO TURN OFF YOUR BIKE WHEN REFUELING!

Scoring is simple; get to the finish before the other racers in your class. The competitor who completes the most laps in the shortest amount of time wins.

Cross country races are typically split into the morning and afternoon races. The slower classes start in the morning while the faster classes start in the afternoon. Often the course maybe modified in the afternoon to include more difficult sections.

Which type of race should I attend, Enduro or Cross Country?

The choice is really up to you as a racer which series you attend.

Enduros have a less frantic start and allow you to have small breaks during the day, but are much longer in duration than the Cross Country races. Cross Country races have you racing full out for 2+ hours. Enduro stages are typically under 30 minutes in length, but you have several of these stages connected by transit sections and overall race time is much longer.

Because you complete several laps during a Cross Country race, you have the opportunity to improve your speed each time through the course as you learn the track. This is not possible in enduros. Competitors are not permitted to ride any sections before the race and you only pass through each section once. However, some enduros do have special test sections which may be ridden more than once. For example, the Corduroy enduro offers a “motocross” section which is ridden as part of a transit section in the morning, and later as a timed section.

Traditionally, enduros have had more technical sections than Cross Country courses, so speeds in enduros might be lower than typical Cross Country events and often the natural terrain might be more rugged.

As far as the “spirit” of the race, there are slight differences. Because of how enduros are staged, you seldom race bar to bar with your competitors. You are racing the clock and yourself more than the other racer. This along with the length and small breaks between sections creates a more social feel during the event. It is more of a “gentlemen’s” race.

Cross country races on the other hand, have the adrenaline rush of the dead engine start and the rush to the first corner, much like a motocross race. If you don’t want to battle at the start, it is acceptable to wait a few seconds until the group leaves to avoid the rush. It’s a long race and you will plenty of time to make ground you lost at the start.  You can’t win on the first lap but you can definitely make a big mistake and lose.

Some say that Cross Country races are more difficult than enduros since you don’t stop racing for the 2+ hours, but there is nothing easy about racing a motorcycle for 6 hours in an enduro.

If you are undecided, it is highly recommended that you try both.

How much do the races cost?

Single day events typically cost $50. A $30 Off-Road Ontario annual membership is required to attend any Off-Road Ontario event. Pre-registering for your annual membership and some races will save you a few dollars.

How do I get an Off-Road Ontario Membership?

Memberships are available here. Payment is made through PayPal

What does the Off-Road Ontario Membership provide?

By getting an Off-Road Ontario annual membership you support the off road racing community in Ontario. All money collected goes back into the racing series. Off-Road Ontario is constantly improving its service to the racing clubs and provides scoring, technical and logistical support for events.

All About Membership Cards

Please bring your OO Membership Card to ALL events and present it when you check in. It is acceptable and encouraged to put the membership card PDF document on your smart phone, and show this at check in. Your membership card will NOT be mailed out to you.

If you require a new print out of the membership card, Click Here an click I want to Edit My Membership. Then enter your membership number and email address. Click “Find My Member Data” and on the next page you will see a button to print your card. If you have forgotten you membership number you can use the same link to enter your name and find your membership number.

How do I sign up for a race?

Some events offer pre-registration, but you can always sign up at the event. Make sure to bring your Off-Road Ontario membership card to help speed up the registration process.

After you get your Off-Road Ontario membership, simply show up at the event. Leave enough time to signup and get your bike sound tested. If you have any questions, feel free to ask any Off-Road Ontario official at the sign up desk or scoring trailer. Also free to ask the other riders. They are a friendly bunch and probably can answer any question you might have about the event.

My bike is loud. Can I still race?

No. All events require the motorcycle to pass a sound test (typically 94 dB limit at part throttle)

How do I get my race number?

When you register for the season, you may choose your race number from a pool of available numbers based on the class you entered. If you already have a number from the previous season, it will automatically be reserved for until April 2 the following year. At this time, Off-Road Ontario will make all unused numbers available.

You can change your race number at any time to another unused number. Your race number is NOT your membership number. Your membership number you retain for life, it does not change.

Race numbers mounted on your bike are required for Cross Country events, but not for enduro events. For enduros, you will be assigned a unique number for each event based on your starting minute. You will still have to choose a race number when getting your Off-Road Ontario membership even if you only race enduros since you may choose to try a Cross Country race during the season.

I didn’t get the race number I wanted, what should I do?

Many of the race numbers have two variants. For example, 101 would have 101 and 101A. It is recommended the A,B or C suffix be used to denote the class you are in. For example, 101A would denote a Veteran A class, 101B the Veteran B class.

If the number you really desire is unavailable, you have two choices. If you contact Off-Road Ontario, we can provide the email address to the person who currently has the number you want. You would contact that person, and if that person agrees to relinquish the number, you may use it.

The other choice is to wait until all unused numbers are available to all members. The number may become available to you if the current holder of the number does not renew their membership in time.

What is the Waiver All About

If you are over 18 year of age, you will be asked to digitally “sign” a waiver that will be good for the entire series of races. The waiver is nothing special, it just states that you assume the risks of racing and protects the event holders and Off-Road Ontario.

If you are under 18 years of age, your parent or guardian must print out the waiver, and have BOTH parents sign it if applicable.

Do I need a motorcycle license, a plated motorcycle or insurance to race events?

Cross Country events do not require a plated or insured motorcycle since they all operate on closed courses. Some enduro events require a green plate/offroad insurance or a blue plated street legal bike.  Watch for requirements on event flyers.

What kind of motorcycle should I ride?

With the exception of the youth classes, you can ride any motorcycle you choose. Classes are not divided by motorcycle type or displacement. There are always exceptions, but most motorcycles are 125cc to 450cc competition style bikes.

What equipment do I need?

You bike should be quiet and mechanically capable of completing the race. Knobby tires are strongly recommended as well as a skidplate and metal wrap-around hand guards.

For the rider, a Snell or ECE rated helmet is mandatory. Proper motorcycle boots, gloves and protective eyewear are also recommended. Most riders carry a hydration pack which is also strongly recommended.

What class should I signup for?

Classes are based on age, experience and sex.  If you haven’t raced at all, Novice C is the preferred class. If you have a few competitive events under you belt, Novice B would be a good choice. Novice A, Intermediate and Pro classes are for those riders who have more racing experience, typically at least a couple of good seasons.

If you are over 40 years old, the choice becomes more difficult. You could enter Veteran classes or any of the other classes that are not age based. The Veteran C class can be considered the “beginner’s” class for the older guys. Veteran AA class consists of many old Expert and Pro racers who didn’t’ have the sense to slow down as they got older.

What if I pick the wrong class?

You can move your class once during the season. You can voluntarily move up a class at any time, but, generally speaking, points cannot be transferred between classes so you will loose the championship points from the previous class.

If it is obvious that you are dominating a lower class, you may be asked by Off-Road Ontario to move up a class during the season. At this time Off-Road Ontario will review your championship points to see if they can be transferred. If you would like to move down a class, this would have to be done with the permission of Off-Road Ontario who will review your status to date to determine if you are eligible to move down.

Can I just ride the course and not race?

In past years, Off-Road Ontario implemented a Sportsman class, which allowed anyone to simply ride the course without collecting points. This class was seldom used, so in 2016 it was dropped. It appears that all the OO riders really want to race!

How does scoring work?

For enduro races, you are checked into and out of timed sections. You collect “minutes” over the day which is the number of minutes you have lost compared to the set time through the section. Your time may be recorded electronically at most enduro events. The lower the time you have collected, the better your day is going.

Cross Country races are scored electronically as you pass through the scoring barrels. Your current time and position in your class are shown real-time on a large display.

Off-Road Ontario is continuously improving its scoring methods. As scanning and RFID technology is advancing, expect to see changes to transponders in the future.

What are these coloured stickers on the back of the riders helmet?

The coloured sticker on the back of the racers helmet indicates which class they belong to. Click here to see what the colours mean. Some racers find the stickers useful in that they can tell if the person they are approaching or that just passed them is in the same class. If they are in front of you, then they are probably going to score better than you in the standings.

You can get the helmet stickers free of charge at the registration desk.

What happens if I can’t finish the race?

Riders can quit the race at any time. If you are racing an enduro, you would simply complete the section and ride back to the start. For Cross Country races, it usually is best to finish the lap you are on. Riders should NEVER race any section or course backwards, this is very dangerous.

If you have a mechanical breakdown and cannot continue, you will get assistance from the sweep riders. However, you may have a long wait; the race would have to be completed before the sweep riders will be by to help.

If you are injured and cannot continue, assistance will be more immediate. Usually, the next rider along will provide assistance and course marshals will be notified of your problem. A plan will be made to get you out of there quickly and safely.

If I stop to help an injured rider, will I be penalized?

No. The scoring people will take into account the amount of time you provided assistance and adjust your time accordingly.

What can I expect to win as a prize at the race?

The racer organizer determines what prizes and trophies are available and each race is different. Many classes offer trophies to third or fourth place and many have great door prizes as well. If you are racing for the money or prizes, you are probably in the wrong sport. However, the bragging rights you earn with you friends might be priceless.