Ashkenazi first Australian to podium in AMA Supercross series

Ashkenazi first Australian to podium in AMA Supercross series

Australian Supercross Champion Kim Ashkenazi

1994 Kim Ashkenazi Australian 250cc Supercross Masters Champion

Photos: [Left]  1994 Australian Supercross Masters Champion Kim Ashkenazi in action.  After a one-off ride that year in the United States, Ashkenazi returned to the US to contest the entire AMA 125cc SX West  series in 1996, creating history in Denver to become the first Australian to achieve an overall series podium finish (Video – YouTube 1996 Denver AMA Supercross 125cc Main Event – Robmaniac32 ).

Ashkenazi – First Aussie to podium in AMA SX series

On 18 May 1996, Australian Kim Ashkenazi created history becoming the first Australian to podium in an overall AMA Supercross Championship, finishing third at the final round in Denver in the United States. Earlier, in the same series, Australian motocross legend Jeff Leisk finished 9th in 1986 on a Honda and 6th in 1987 on a Yamaha. Since then Australians Chad Reed and the Lawrence brothers, Jett and Hunter) have all won AMA SX Championships.

After winning six Australian motocross Championships between 1992 and 1995 – and the prestigious Australian Supercross Masters series in 1993 and 1994- Ashkenazi moved full-time to America to contest the 1996 AMA 125cc SX West Series.

1996 would be Ashkenazi’s first full season in the United States after a one-off appearance in 1994 when he rode in the 250cc class at the San Diego Supercross. It was an impressive performance as a privateer up against the professional American factory riders.

In Denver, Ashkenazi finished second to the series winner Kevin Windham (Yamaha) and ahead of Americans Casey A Johnson (Kawasaki) and Michael Brandes (Suzuki) with Mexican Honda rider Pedro Gonzalez in fifth.  Windham won six rounds in 1996 to win the series convincingly, finishing on 170 points ahead of James Dobb (UK, Suzuki, 127) and Ashkenazi (101).

Earlier in the year, on 10 February 1996 in San Diego, Ashkenazi achieved his first podium finish in the United States finishing second in the AMX SX West 125cc round.  Honda rider Jeff Willoh won in San Diego ahead of Suzuki riders Ashkenazi and British Motocross Champion James Dobb, who would go onto win the World 125cc Motocross Championship in 2001.

After competing at the 1996 AMA SX West as a privateer on a shoestring budget driving across America in a utility without any support, Ashkenazi’s supercross performance earned him sponsorship for the outdoor motocross season in the US with Bill’s Pipes Primal Impulse Honda Team. But unable to secure a factory contract for the 1997 season, Ashkenazi returned home to Australia after competing in his fifth Motocross des Nations at Jerez in Spain. 

After winning his seventh and final Australian Championship in 2000, he moved to the United Kingdom and took up road racing.


1996 Ashkenazi's AMA SX 125cc Highlights

1992 Australian Team Motocross of Nations - Kim Ashkenazi - By Peter Kitchingman

San Diego Round
February 10, 1996

1. Jeff Willoh, US (Honda)
2. Kim Ashkenazi, AUS (Suzuki)
3. James Dobb, UK (Suzuki)
4. Michael Brandes, US (Suzuki)
5. David Vuillemin, US (Kawasaki)

Photo: Kim Ashkenazi
(By Peter Kitchingman)

Denver Round (Series Final)
May 18, 1996

1. Kevin Windham, US (Yamaha)
2. Kim Ashkenazi, AUS (Suzuki)
3. Casey A Johnson, US (Kawasaki)
4. Michael Brandes, US (Suzuki)
5. Pedro Gonzalez, SPAIN (Honda)

1996 Overall points
AMA 125 SX West Series

1. Kevin Windham, US (Yamaha) 170 points
2. James Dobb, UK (Suzuki) 127
3. Kim Ashkenazi, AUS (Suzuki) 101
4. Greg S Schnell, US (Suzuki) 97
5. Michael Brandes, US (Suzuki) 89

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