Rocks, trees, mud, wet leaves, fallen logs, steep hills—just add deep water and stir well. Continue for two days and you have the makings of a Canadian classic with an international reputation. It’s the formidable Corduroy Enduro, the toughest motorcycle event in Canada.
Since its inception in 1953, the Cord has been a rite of passage for every aspiring off-road competitor. It began as the first two-day endurance run in Canada and after 60 years its September date remains a fixture on the competition calendar.
The first Corduroy Enduro was organized by Don Charters and Ron Jackson, two young members of the British Empire Motor Club in Toronto, and they remained associated with the event over the decades as it grew. They laid out a course starting at the northeastern outskirts of Toronto and proceeding northeast through Bobcaygeon to Gold Rock Lodge near Norland. The entry fee was $1 and a bed for Saturday night cost another $2.
The winner of the first race, in 1953, was Basil Jackson on a twin-cylinder Triumph; he had half the penalty points of second-place man Bill Sharpless, a teenage trail novice on his ride-to-school Norton twin. Despite its small number of entries, the first Cord was deemed a success and its future was assured. Gerald Robarts was the overall winner the following year on a 750 cc Harley-Davidson and by 1955 Bill Sharpless was victorious on a 650 cc Ariel. Entry numbers grew gradually and the Enduro’s reputation soon extended to the northern United States.
Nowadays the event is organized by the Haliburton Trail Riders. It’s a non-profit organization dedicated to maintaining the volunteer spirit that has made the Cord so successful. This year, The Corduroy Enduro™ celebrated its 60th anniversary of racing competition.