Halton Off Road Riders Association History
Originally authored by Betsy Cornwell for the OFTR Chapter origination article.
The Off-Road Landscape
In the early 1970s, the interest in motorcycle sport mushroomed along with the crop of baby boomer males with disposable income. New bikes were reviewed in every monthly motorcycle magazine and snapped up by the salivating wannabe Roger DeCosters. Like the parallel boom in snowmobilers, motorcyclists were soon in conflict with public and private landowners who were themselves snapping up all the formerly vacant or agricultural land surrounding the cities of Southern Ontario.
In what is now known as the fringes of the GTA, the regionalizing of Halton had created the Town of Halton Hills. Suburban development was just getting underway here and even in this Northern outpost of the Golden Horseshoe riders were finding it difficult to enjoy any off road form of the sport without kindling the wrath of neighbours and officials.
The Yellow Jackets
Prior to the 70’s the small and fairly low profile form of motorcycle sport in this part of the province was well served by a club known as the Yellow Jackets. Their favoured forms of sport included cross-country junkets and they developed a notable outing known as the ” Terra Nova ” enduro named for the tiny hamlet where the event originated. However, by about 1975 the original Yellow Jackets had matured into fathers with mortgages and kids to put through school and their charter with the CMA lapsed.
About this time a group of unorganized but enthusiastic new generation riders, all complaining about the death of places to ride and restrictive local by laws came together to do something about their plight. It was clear that the old free wheeling days were gone and that in order to find opportunities to play they were going to have to become more organized.
The Birth of HORRA
Some of the new riders knew of the Yellow Jackets and the legendary Terra Nova. They decided to see if they could resurrect that fabled event. In this case youth and enthusiasm overcame old age and inertia. Within a matter of months the group incorporated, registered with the CMA and taken up the challenge to produce riding opportunities for like-minded riders.
The charter members literally spent months haggling over the colours and a symbol for their new club but the choice of the name, Halton Off Road Riders Association was a piece of cake. The stuffy formality of the full mane never bothered the founders since they always preferred the acronym HORRA. HORRA not only revived the Terra Nova but also produces motocross, trials, dirt track and ice races. At the height of the motorcycle competition craze, the club membership regularly hovered around 100 members. As the baby boomers in turn became fathers with mortgages and kids to put through school, HORRA club membership and entrants levelled out.
We await each generation to echo in the next wave of berm busters.