Colin Fraser - Class of 2023

Father of Superbike racing

Canadian motorcycle road racing fans sometimes refer to Colin Fraser as the father of Superbike racing in this country. Fraser always tells them “Maybe, but Lang Hindle would be the godfather.”

Fraser knows this since he was at the first ever Canadian Superbike race at Mosport in the fall of 1978, an event almost won by an unretired Hindle. He got involved while studying Photograph Arts at Ryerson (now TMU) in downtown Toronto, a short walk from the sketchy neighbourhood that housed the offices of magazine, Cycle Canada.

The first official Superbike National in Canada was held in Edmonton in 1980 and Fraser attended for Cycle Canada, shooting and writing, flying there via student standby. The other round that year was at Shannonville and Fraser had started working at the track built by John Nelson in 1979 and connected with new track owner, Jack Bostrom via the sales department at the magazine, run by Nanette Jacques.

 Fraser would eventually contribute to a host of publications, including Cycle News, American Roadracing, Roadracing World and Classic Racer. He produced the RACER programs for the National series and was part of the same publishing group when they launched Inside Motorcycles in 1997 – he is still involved with road tests, as a columnist and blogging for the same media group.  

In 1981, Fraser and Bostrom started sanctioning RACE (Roadracing Association Canada Events), taking advantage of the first “boom” period of sport bike street sales and a focus on the big street machine Superbike division. By the time Suzuki’s “race bike for the street” GSX-R750 arrived in 1985, RACE was on its way to becoming a full National series, coast to coast, covered by CTV’s “Wide World of Sports.”

During the same period, Bostrom sold the Shannonville venue and sanctioning group RACE to insurance magnate Raymond David and this led to major expansion. Now working with former star racer turned manager, Alan Labrosse, Fraser was involved with the revised, lengthened circuit and new projects including the Team U.S.A. vs Team Canada Match Races – the Roberts Marlboro Grand Prix Yamahas came to Shannonville in 1991.

This era produced the successful second generation of Canadian Superbike racers, with Miguel Duhamel, Steve Crevier and Pascal Picotte gaining stardom in the U.S.

Fraser raced on and off, as finances allowed, and started the popular RACE School with pro rider, Steve Simmons, also in 1981. He eventually took over as lead instructor – the school hosting over a thousand attendees a year at its peak – and went on to run similar activities Nationally for BMW and Kawasaki.

Fraser supported his then-spouse, Marianne, who won the WERA Pro 125 GP National title in the US in 1991. When she retired to start a family, Fraser returned to competition in the US, joining the Renaissance Race Team of Bill and Carol Mathison. Successful in a variety of National classes, Fraser twice won the prestigious Daytona Vintage Superbike race on his era correct, 1025cc Kawasaki KZ 1000 Mk II.   

Sales of sports bikes declined in the early 1990s and the RACE Nationals lost popular B.C. venue Westwood, now a housing development. New management didn’t get along with long-time title sponsor Castrol and RACE backed out of sanctioning major events.

Meanwhile, Labrosse had started the Association for Sports Motorcycles (ASM) based at Autodrome, St. Eustache, while Fraser partnered with television producer David Hatch, launching Professional Motor Sports Productions. These two had worked together on “Motorcycle Experience” on TSN since 1988 and gambled to cover the revamped National tour. Fraser and Hatch co-hosted and co-produced the ground-breaking coverage and Fraser also worked in color commentary on the Prime network in the USA.

When Labrosse sold ASM, the sponsoring manufacturers asked PMP to organize the Nationals, a relationship that continues to this day as the Canadian Superbike Championship. Fraser also started working in the US, organizing events with Formula USA, WERA, North American Sport Bike and CCS.

In 2005, the Daytona Motorsport Group optioned a Fraser proposal for a twins-based endurance series, MotoST. With mostly Canadian staff, Fraser ran the tour at a time when PMP was also running a host of other sponsored divisions, including the Honda CBR125 Challenge for young racers.

From there, in 2007, Fraser became the Director of Competition for the premier American tour with the AMA. That role lasted until the economic downturn hit the US bike market in 2010.

In Canada, CSBK had broken new ground with “spec tire” agreements with Pirelli (2005-2013) and Dunlop (2014-2022), before Bridgestone joined as title sponsor of the entire tour starting in 2023. This year, Fraser sold the PMP business to former racer, Ross Millson and family. He continues to serve at the track and as the Director and Executive Producer for broadcasts – this season the CSBK tour has a record 21 episodes on TSN.

Fraser also works for Toni Sharpless as the FIM Clerk of the Course on behalf of the CMA on the inaugural FIM MiniGP Series National tour, a project that will send young competitors Michael Galvis and Ben Hardwick to race the world’s best on identical Ohvale equipment at Valancia in support of the MotoGP finale this November, 2023.