This past week I got the chance to talk to one of the biggest names in Canadian motocross scene. And I’m sure he’s someone whose name you’ll all recognize. He’s worked in the industry for nearly his entire adult life. He is a multiple title holder. He has raced in Canada, the US and around the world, representing the Maple leaf on our national MXdN team, and yes, he would use a “d” for “des,” not “o” for “of.”
He is the one, the only...
Jean Sebastien Roy.
I’m not someone who grew up in the sport; I was brought in by B when we first started dating back in 2003, and the following season, 2004, I was introduced to the greats of the sport on television: Ricky Carmichael, Kevin Windham, Tim Ferry and this new guy, Chad Reed, in the AMA, but in at the time Canada there was really only one big name: JSR.
What impressed me the most was how humble, but factual, he was. Very polite and down to earth, surprisingly so. Not that I expected him to be arrogant or disrespectful, but ... I don't know. I guess I didn't know what to expect.
I'd seen him at races, at a few trade shows, and even accidently bumped into him at a Toronto Supercross event once, but I'd never talked to him. Maybe it goes back to my own insecurities; it still hasn't sank in that I'm someone that these people might want to talk to. That talking to me is mutually benificial. Calling up Bobby Prochnau, or sending a quick text to Geoff Nelson, or even chatting with Jade Dungey, Mike Brown's mechanic, is nothing (okay, so maybe chatting with Dungey wasn't nothing, but it certainly wasn't the same as JSR); they're all in the off road world, they're “my” people, I guess.
It's easy to get caught up in the glamour of the professional rigs, for those on the outside and inside alike. We see these athletes as larger than life, up on stage and the podium, but JSR was just like anyone else I've ever spoke to.
The conversation was for an upcoming feature (look for it in November) honouring Blackfoot Racing and their indelible impact on Canadian motocross. Having been involved with the team for almost a third of his life, Roy had a unique perspective on the team and had seen it from a rider and supporting role. He was articulate, well spoken and, as I mentioned before, very polite.
When we were done talking about him, he even asked me a few questions. Am I knew to IMX? Have we met before? No, well, are you planning to go to Toronto SX? Yes? Well, we shall have to be introduced then.
WOW! To say I wasn't expecting that was an understatement.
Like I said, most of the guys and gals I've talked to for IMX have been off road riders, enduro racers, hare scramble riders, etc., though the motocrossers I have had the pleasure of interviewing have always been polite, courteous and genuine.
It is, however, refreshing to know that one of the biggest heroes in the history of our sport sets such a positive example for all those who look up to him, and to the younger racers he mentors.
It also reminded me, at some point JSR was a young rider looking up to the heroes of his day, and one day those who look up to the JSRs, the Facciottis and the Klatts of today will one day take over and be the next generation of heroes.