RIP - Robbie Meiklejohn

Canadian roadracing stalwart and industry insider Robbie Meiklejohn died on Wednesday, June 12 following a major stroke two days earlier.  A top competitor in eastern Canada in the 1970s and 1980s, Meiklejohn co-founded Oakdale’s Rocket Motorcycle, a former Kawasaki dealer and long-time race-oriented performance shop.

Meiklejohn also worked at famed multi-line dealer and machine shop Ontario Honda in the 1970s, and served a stint at Cycle World prior to the opening of Rocket in 1980.  In the early 1980s, Rocket featured famed race tuners and bike builders Ron Lefebvre, deceased last year, as well as Michael Crompton.  

Rocket supported top Canadian racers including George Morin, Alan Labrosse, Gary Collins, Steve Simmons, Steve Galbraith as well as many rising stars such as Al Royer, Grant Foster, Paul Penzo and Sandy Noce.  Meiklejohn was also a pioneer in track day activities and road racing schools.

After an early flirtation with British bikes, Meiklejohn rose to fame as a CMA and Brimaco Series Junior aboard a high handle barred Honda CB750 racer in an Open class full of Rickman Kawasakis.  He eventually turned Pro in 1976, aboard a unique Mike Crompton-built, Weber carbureted, Curtis framed single cam Honda 750/1000.    

Meiklejohn famously departed the Feature race lead battle with Jim Allen (Egli-Yamaha) at the first ever race at Nelson International Raceway (now Shannonville Motorsport Park) on Thanksgiving of 1976 when a connecting rod let go on the big bore Honda.  Later, Meiklejohn would ride Yamaha TZ Grand Prix equipment, hooking up with two-stroke drag bike builder Lefebvre.  

Meiklejohn also raced in Production classes, mostly on Yamahas, often joined by Brother Gordon.  The 24 Hours of Nelson Ledges in Ohio was a major feature of the Meiklejohn program in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and while Robbie’s various teams never won, they had a number of Podium finishes.

Meiklejohn ran Kawasaki equipment in a return to the track in the late 1980s, when Rocket was also the Dunlop race tire distributor in Canada.  He was a particular fan of the EX500 twin.

The outspoken Meiklejohn will be missed by a wide range of friends who shared his enthusiasm for motorcycles and the track.

A graveside service will be held at the Harriston Cemetery on Saturday, June 20 at 11 AM.  For details please see ww.hardyleefuneralhome.com.