Five years ago today, on May 14, 2016, CMG founder/owner/publisher/editor-in-chief Rob Harris died in a motorcycle crash in Ontario. Shortly after that, we ran these photos of life with Rob, working on various CMG projects. Here they are, again, the highs and lows of CMG life with Editor ‘Arris. We still miss you, matey.– Ed.
From snaps of track days, to the beginnings of the Mad Bastard Scooter Rally, to the time Rob and crew went out west to challenge the Numb Bum mid-winter ice race aboard a scooter, to multiple failed attempts at the Paris-Dacre rally, to his fall tours (an annual tradition for many years), to general madness and mayhem (much of it occurring on the trails, with a flat tire or water crossing involved), these photos give you a pretty good idea of what “CMG Life” was all about.
Some of these photos go back to the days when consumer digital cameras and Internet technology were in their infancy, so the resolution is fuzzy. Some have captions, some don’t, but if you were there at the time, you’ll remember the stories.
Check out all the pics that go with this story!
Taking to the BC asphalt aboard a brand-new Suzuki.
Last year’s Suzuki launch saw Rob aboard a powerful naked bike, one of his favourite street rides.
A 150 scooter isn’t typical hooning material, but Rob wasn’t your typical motojourno.
Rob aboard a KTM 990.
When it all goes CMG, but you don’t want to pay for an ambulance, what next? Simple. Rob ferries a banged-up Mr. Seck for medical attention.
Another track day, this one back in 2001.
Rob gets the perfect camera angle.
Sharing a laugh with Michael Uhlarik on tour in southern Nova Scotia.
Even if you don’t have a heated vest or grips, you’ll need proper weatherproof riding gear in fall or spring. You won’t find that at Wal-Mart.
Have puddle, will cross — Rob vs. H20 on tour in BC.
A bike that fitted Rob’s lanky ergo needs even less than usual.
Just another day in the woods with CMG.
Just the thing for hooning around the estate, thinks ‘Arris.
Aboard a Borile Scrambler in Italy.
Taking in the view in BC during a 2002 tour.
Rob ponders what exactly a vegetarian is supposed to do with a massive fish.
‘Ere now, ‘ow do you fly this thing?
Rob cuts through the dust on a backland tour of BC.
Stretching out his knee before taking to track in Shubenacadie.
Finally, a chair too big for Rob.
Enjoying the curves of the Cabot Trail.
Rob at Cape Breton’s motorcycle Mecca.
Yet another stuck-in-the-muck snap, this one from Calabogie in 2009.
Victory at Shubie! It helps when you’re battling a field of one opponent …
An early east coast tour with transplanted friends.
If you’re going to be spending serious time wrenching, a full-sized motorcycle lift is going to save you a lot of back pain.
Editor ‘Arris tinkers on the long-term Honda CRF250L project bike.
The fall tours were a favourite event for Rob.
Heading out from a Dawn 2 Dusk break.
Rob and Alex Crookes on-track at Shubenacadie, before Rob’s win.
A nippy day for a ride in Quebec.
The glance behind the scenes. While everyone else hoons around on the trails, Rob sticks to the unglamorous background work behind the rally.
Who’s doing what now? Courtney and Rob go over rally details at the 2015 Fundy event.
Coordinating rider releases at the 2015 Fundy Adventure Rally.
Rob always enjoyed his job as rallymaster.
Laying down the law at the Fundy Adventure Rally.
Rob with Motorcycle Mojo publisher Glenn Roberts. That driveway was the starting point of many road trips in the east coast.
Rob’s Suzuki GS750, a bike that went through many different configurations during the early Ontario Motorcycle Guide days.
What happens on the Pennsylvania tour stays on the Pennsylvania tour.
Rob’s kitted-out CRF250L test bike. He might have been a very large man, but he had nothing against small bikes.
Hooning through the fall colours in Quebec.
Jim Vernon and Rob take on the Calabogie Boogie. Dual sport events were always high on Rob’s to-do list.
Rob and Jim, just before their ride to Labrador. The trip ended with a broken collarbone and banged-up bike, but plenty of fun until that point …
A momentary break during a US tour.
A cold crossing on the Lake Champlain ferry.
Of course, sometimes the touring budget wasn’t that swanky, as proven by this Burger King stop on the Original Mad Bastard run.
A young, strapping Mr. ‘Arris enjoying the life of a journalist with a budget for touring.
More Mad Bastard prizes!
Rob takes a break from scouting for the ’05 Mad Bastard rally.
Mark Richardson gets his stupendous winnings for being the Maddest Bastard of the media at the 2005 scooter rally.
Think Canada doesn’t have good riding? The province of Quebec has some of the as good as anywhere else in eastern North America.
Rob whips a Beemer through its paces at Mosport in 2001.
The crew of the insane quest to run the Numb Bum endurance race (on ice!), way back in 1998.
The original Dawn 2 Dusk riders from 2011. Everybody here was a serious rider, and a repeat attendee.
The original Mad Bastards take a break mid-ride.
Helping with the work of motorcycle extraction in Morocco.
Little did that poor KTM know what ‘Arris had in store for it.
Attempts to prolong their rally by raiding their downed comrade for water and bike parts still left Rob’s team unable to finisht he ’06 Paris-Dacre.
Kicked out! The ignominious end to yet another Paris-Dacre event.
The 2005 Paris-Dacre Rally. Despite multiple attempts, often with henchman Jim Vernon alongside, ‘Arris never managed to complete the P2D.
Eschewing boy racer leathers, Rob flogs the Yamaha R3 through it’s paces.
Returning test bikes wasn’t always something ‘Arris did willingly …
More racetrack action. How did ‘Arris get in front?
Although his second-generation V-Strom wasn’t the world’s most svelte ADV bike, Rob had a lot of fun with it anyway.
Rob looking cheery in a gear test shot.
Rob left the tricorn hat back at Louisbourg when he left, as it didn’t meet CSA helmet standards.
Rob and Courtney coordinating the insanity of the 2007 Mad Bastard Scooter Rally.
Scouting for a rally was always fun with Rob, even when there was a flat tire involved.
I think I can! ‘Editor Arris flogs CMG’s much-abused made-in-China supermoto during a Dawn 2 Dusk rally, trying to get just a bit more steam by cutting wind resistance.
Rob might have been the fastest journo on track during his double-header win at Shubie, but the other CBR class that ran concurrently was another matter. Here is the setup for Stacey Nesbitt’s pass to lap …
Off the bike, during a visit to the Fortress of Louisbourg.
Rob with CMG faithful at one of the magazine’s many track efforts back in the day.
As we said elsewhere — out of gas at the D2D. Again. Thankfully, someone was always around with some fuel to spare.
Out of gas. As usual. Rob’s reputation for failing to fill up as needed was legendary at Dawn 2 Dusk rallies.
Victory! Rob’s doubleheader victory at Shubenacadie (against only one opponent) was one of the high points of his track career.
The R3 launch might have been rainy, but Rob made it worth his while.
Rob takes advantage of loose US helmet laws for an old-school ride on Daytona Beach.
A typical touring scene with CMG’s big cheese — roadside notes on a particularly good (or bad) stretch of pavement.
Hoon a scooter around a track? Why not? The advantage of immense height is being secure in your masculinity.
Sadly, this was not the first time, nor the last.
Rob beams, trophy in hand. This was Rob’s last race, and he took both events that weekend.
Rob’s first days aboard the Honda CRF250L, one of his favourite bikes in recent years.
The start of Rob’s ill-fated Labrador adventure, which ended in a crashed test bike (not by Editor ‘Arris’s ‘hand). Rob always intended to go back.
A Buell suffers the ultimate off-road test: “Trial by ‘Arris.”
Never one to resist a good splash …
Go through the archives, and you’ll see Rob spent a lot of time aboard BMWs. His favourites always had the initials “GS.”
Rob always welcomed his mid-winter motorcycle escapes, whether they took him to Daytona or further abroad.
The winners of the original Fundy Adventure Rally in 2014.
Rob consults with Alex Crookes, just before beating him in the CBR250 Challenge at Shubenacadie.
Mark Richardson and Rob in the middle of a rip around the Gaspe.
Rob horses around on the 2004 Fall Tour.
In the early years, Costa was part of Rob’s fall tours and other moto extravaganzas. Later, he took on the Mad Bastard Scooter Rally, probably mainly because he wanted to see Rob dressed like this.
[…] is an area that CMG’s Founding Editor Rob Harris and I had often talked about visiting, but we’d never managed to set aside the time. Now, I […]
[…] A truly remarkable fellow biker that inspired me to get back on a bike after 16 years of not riding. His CMG family will never be the same without him. A lovely tribute by them is on the CMG Website. […]
Yeah, your efforts here in putting this together are a testimony to just how much you love him. So very tragic. I was looking fwd to making Rob’s acquaintance here in NB this coming summer… Words are so damned inadequate at a time like this but they are all that we have. I could sound-off w/ the usual platitudes about living like you’re dying, living in the moment, counting your blessings, usual stuff like that. But events like Rob’s too-soon death bring me to a much more basic level & revolves around actually telling your loved ones just how much you really love them. So do it. Call your Dad (or Mom, sister, whoever – they’re your family, not mine!) & get it out there. Let them know just how much he means to you.
We cannot sit on it & do that tomorrow as we only really have now.
Rest in peace brother.
Just wanted to say well done to the CMG team for putting these together under such circumstances. An emotional roller coaster of a tribute for many, I’m sure.
Rob was the John Cleese of Canadian motorcycling – witty, self deprecating, not afraid to take chances and an all round good person.
Its not often you find all those qualities together.
We miss you, its a pretty big pair of shoes you’ve left behind to fill…
In almost every pic, you can see that shit-eating grin. Man, this is still tough to take.
Nice selection of pics, lots of good memories there.
I was just re-reading some of the original Numb-Bum ice race stories and remembering what a kick it was following the team when they did it.