Chris Ellis - Class of 2023

Motorcycling Was His Life...

Ever since Chris rode his first bike at age 10, motorcycles have been the focus of his life. In an interview, when he was the oldest active professional dirt tracker of that time, Chris remarked, For me, this is a love affair. Obviously, the love affair goes on....

The excitement of dirt track when your wheel slides out of control, dominated Chris' early life  starting in 1982. At the suggestion of a friend, with whom he went ice racing, he took to the dirt. In his first year as a Junior, Ellis captured the Ontario High Point title and the following year was National Junior Champion.  In 1985, he achieved his goal of gaining points in every form of motorcycle competition. He loved racing his Harley-Davidson XR750 and never passed up an opportunity to spread the word about the sport he loves.

He was a member of the CVMG, Halton Off Road Riders, Dufferin Outriders and member of Team Can-Am.

In 1988, Chris received the Billy Mathews Memorial award from the CMA. Mathews, also a dirt tracker, was the first Canadian to win the Daytona 200 on the beach, accomplishing this in 1941 and again in 1950. The award, voted on by Chris’ peers, the executives and referees across the country, was given to the dirt tracker who makes the most significant contribution to the sport.

Ellis was the owner/partner of Twin City Cycles in Waterloo and later, Central Ontario Cycle, whose slogan was, “motorcycles are our way of life” and was one of Canada's leading dirt track promoters and ambassadors. He spent thousands to sponsor up-and-coming riders from all disciplines of the sport including Jon Cornwall, Steve Crevier, John Parker, Al Perry, Rob Kuchma, Bob Sobering, Todd Sharpless and Toni Sharpless among others.

He was the promoter, along with Peter Grant, of half mile races in New Hamburg, Ontario.

Chris took a job with Triumph in 1994 and in 1999, became the Canadian General Manager for Triumph Canada. In 2000 he promoted the unveiling of the new Triumph Bonneville, an evening of excitement at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum. Among Spitfires, Harvards and de Havillands, the spotlights were on the Triumphs!

For many, you probably know him as the face of Triumph Motorcycles in Canada and he was involved with the racing teams for Triumph and all aspects of promotion. They supported many events and clubs as well and were a faithful supporter of the Hall of Fame.

Chris boasted 45 years continuous attendance at Daytona Beach races, surely a record!

Chris was an icon in the Canadian Motorcycle Industry and was passionate about the industry as a Dealer Principal, a racer, and for the past 25 years as the Canadian General Manager of Triumph Motorcycles.

As well as riding and racing motorcycles of all genres, he enjoyed flying floatplanes, scuba diving, fishing, boating, snowmobiling, skiing and music. Chris’s favourite places included summers in Muskoka and winters in Key West.

Shortly after retiring from Triumph Canada, Chris passed away suddenly in 2021 and is remembered as a man who had a true passion for motorcycling, it was his life!