Australian Motocross Championships Archerfield 1963

Australian Motocross Championships Archerfield 1963

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Australian Motocross Championships Archerfield

11 August 1963, archerfield - QUEENSLAND
1963 Bob O'Leary's winning Cotton motocross machine
Bob O'leary 1963 250 and 500 Australian Motocross Champion - Headshot
Australian Motocross Champion Robert O'Leary

Photos: In 1963 Western Australian Bob O’Leary won Cotton’s first ever National title in the Australian 250cc Championship at Archerfield in Queensland. 

O’Leary wins Cotton’s first ever Australian Motocross Championship at Archerfield

Western Australian motocross rider Robert (Bob) O’Leary was the standout rider at the 1963 Australian Motocross Championships in Queensland.

O’Leary, won both the 250cc and 500cc classes at Archerfield in Brisbane on 11 August.

He clinched the first ever National Australian Championship for the Cotton motorbike factory that year in the 250cc class, with Victorian John Burrows finishing second aboard the same model Cotton. South Australian rider Richie Stephens finished third on a Greeves.

Based on the Mark 34a Villiers engine (as was the Greeves), the Cotton barrel was made of alloy with an anodised bore, running the semi-slipper type alloy piston-alloy to alloy. Although slightly heavier than the Greeves, the Cotton was a much better handler and the likes of O’Leary and Burrows pioneered the new model machine with great success.

O’Leary won the 500cc class on a B.S.A, ahead of a young emerging speedway solo champion Jim Airey (NSW), who also rode a B.S.A. and John Burrows on a Tribsa.

The Tribsa (pictured below) was a BSA/Triumph hybrid which evolved when it was found that a twin-cylinder Triumph Tiger 100 motor gave more power than the Gold Star motor and was also lighter in weight.

Burrows’ Tribsa was built in England and brought to Australia by a friend of his and he borrowed the machine for the National titles.

Unfortunately, Burrow’s borrowed Tribsa was down on power and was no match for the competition-honed B.S.A’s of O’Leary and Renfree, and the more prestigious title events went one apiece to the Western Australians, who dominated the Championships.

Gordon Renfree, from Bunbury, won the Unlimited Championship and Max Annear – Colin Mottram the Unlimited Sidecars. Renfree won the Unlimited solos on a B.S.A. ahead of John Burrows (Tribsa) and Burrow’s brother Mike (B.S.A.).

Annear and Mottram won the Unlimited Sidecars on an Ariel outfit ahead of W. Martin – K. Turrell (Norton) and H. Rowe – D. Davison (VIC, B.S.A.). The 1962 West Australian State Sidecar Champions were unlucky not to win this title the year before in their home State at the Rope Works Circuit in Mosman Park, when they had bad luck while leading.

After placing behind the Western Australians in the 250, 500 and Unlimited Championships, John Burrows won the 350cc title on a B.S.A. ahead of Gordon Renfree (WA, B.S.A.) and Jim Airey.
Airey scored a number of placings at Archerfield but a title win eluded him as would the World Speedway title at a later date.

Airey finished second in the 125cc class to Victorian rider Stan Jones, who picked up his second title – winning his first four years earlier in this class at Royal Park, Adelaide (SA) in 1959 aboard B.S.A. machines.

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1963 Australian Unlimited Sidecar Champions Max Annear and Colin Mottram

1963 Australian Unlimited Sidecar Champions Max Annear – Colin Mottram (WA, Ariel)

1963 Australian Runner-up 250cc Champion John Burrows on a Cotton

Victorian John Burrows was second to O’Leary in the 250s, also on a Cotton, but won the 350 title

1963 Tribsa motocross bike

Burrows rode a Tribsa motocross bike in the 500cc class, finishing third behind O’Leary and Jim Airy 

1963 Australian Motocross Championship Results


1 Stan Jones (VIC, B.S.A.)
2 Jim Airey (NSW, B.S.A.)
3 Brian Carr (NSW, B.S.A.)


1 Bob O’Leary (WA, Cotton)
2 John Burrows (VIC, Cotton)
3 Richie Stephens (SA, Greeves)


1 John Burrows (VIC, B.S.A.)
2 Gordon Renfree (WA, B.S.A.)
3 Jim Airey (NSW, B.S.A.)


1 Bob O’Leary (WA, B.S.A.)
2 Jim Airey (NSW, B.S.A.)
3 John Burrows (VIC, Tribsa)


1 Gordon Renfree (WA, B.S.A.)
2 John Burrows (VIC, Tribsa)
3 Mike Burrows (VIC, B.S.A.)

Junior Sidecar

1 Jim Mioni – R. Freene (VIC, B.S.A.)
2 B. Anderson – E. Cooper (B.S.A)
3 Harry Rowe – D. Davison (VIC, B.S.A.)

Unlimited Sidecar

1 Max Annear – Colin Mottram (WA, Ariel)
2 W. Martin – K. Turrell (Norton)
3 Harry Rowe – David Davison (VIC, B.S.A.)

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