Greg Williams - Class of 2023

Four times World Champion

Greg Williams started riding motorcycles at the age of 5. With dirt bike trails, farm fields and the Rouge Valley as his playground he started to chart a course unknown to him at the time that would lead to a racing career in hillclimbing.

Greg started his professional career in 1982 and it did not get off to a great start. The plan was for John (Greg ’s father) to move into the bigger 750 cc class on a newly built 750cc 6 cylinder Benelli and Greg would start his rookie season riding the 500cc Honda his father previously campaigned. As fate would have it, while testing the Benelli a couple of weeks before the first event, it blew up. With no chance of getting the bike back together before the beginning of the season, Greg chose to step back so that John could race one more year in the 500cc class.

During that year, Greg was able to watch his father race and recognized that the competition had surpassed the once dominant 4 cylinder Honda which got Greg thinking about an article he read in a Hot Rod magazine about something called Nitrous Oxide. With the help of Nick Kemp, the Williams’ builder and tuner, they went about incorporating nitrous oxide on top of the already potent nitro methane fuel for the 1983 season. Greg did get to ride a few races on his brother Wade’s 750 Honda in 1982 but many teething problems made for not much success. “I remember the first time I raced, it was in New York. Wade’s bike was pretty fast and unfortunately on my first ride the jackshaft chain broke at the bottom of the hill. My second ride I was able to make it over the hill and thought wow! that was fast. I didn’t even make the top ten and finished well down the list and wondered how fast I had to go to get a podium spot or even get in the money?”

The false start of Greg ’s rookie season behind him and back in the saddle of the 500cc 4 cylinder, fuel injected, nitro methane powered, nitrous oxide injected Honda, producing an estimated 250 horsepower, Greg was able to win three races in 1983 and finished third overall for the year.

1984 brought even more wins and a second place overall finish for the year. It was at this point that Greg realized that winning the majority of races wasn’t enough and that consistency was going to be the key to winning a championship. That was exactly what he did for 1985, winning his first World Championship. 1986 and 1987 would complete a three-peat and another championship in 1989 would make four titles in all.

In fact, Greg was so successful between 1983 and 1988 that the use of Nitrous Oxide was banned for the 1989 season. “They couldn’t compete with us. We were beating the 750 class times at some hills, so they had to do something about it.” That didn’t phase Nick as he got to work adding more compression to the motor and some fine tuning to help Greg win his final 500cc championship. Greg credits his success to having a great bike to ride and an even better team to back him up.

Greg continued to race into the early 2000’s but realized it was time to quit when he became more concerned about getting injured than winning races. He now makes his home in Mississauga Ontario where he resides with his wife, Jessica and his three adult children.