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Australian Motocross Championships Moorebank 1956

Australian Motocross Championships Moorebank 1956

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Australian Motocross Championships Moorebank

27 May 1956, moorebank army circuit, liverpool - new south wales
1957 George Bailey won three National motocross titles at Moorebank in New South Wales
1956 - Peter Nicol, WA on his way to victory on a BSA in the 350cc class at the Australian Scramble Championships at Moorebank, Sydney on 27 May 1956
The Western Australian team at the 1956 Moorebank Championships - Peter Nicol, Charlie West, Don Russell and Ron Gill

Photos:  [Left] 1956 Victorian George Bailey won three National motocross titles at Moorebank; [Centre] Reigning National 350 Champion on his way to back-to-back titles; and [Right] The Western Australian team at  Moorebank Championships (L-R) Peter Nicol, Charlie West, Don Russell and Ron Gill.

Bailey caps off an incredible year with three National Motocross titles at Moorebank (NSW)

On 27 May 1956, George Bailey was the dominant rider at the 1956 Australian Motocross Championships at the Moorebank Army circuit, near Liverpool in New South Wales, winning three titles.

Bailey, from Langwarrin in Victoria – who was a member of the Frankston Motor Cycle Club – won three of the five title events that he entered – the 125cc (Triumph), 250cc (Bailey Matchless Special) and 500cc (Matchless) on three machines. After winning his 350cc heat on his 250, mechanical failure let him down in the final and he was fourth in the All Powers (Unlimited) class on his 500cc Matchless.

The 1956 Australian Scramble Championships were the fourth to be staged and, for the first time, had true national status with the early titles held in Victoria (Daylesford), South Australia (Sheidow Park) and Western Australia (The Ropeworks). The 1955 titles in Perth were combined with the iconic Harley Scramble with a record 20,000 people attending this event.

Official state teams from WA, SA and Victoria all attended the 1956 National titles at Moorebank, with Bailey taking advantage of legend Les Sheehan’s retirement. Bailey finished the year with three Australian Titles (from this meeting), two Victorian titles, two South Australian titles and four New South Wales titles.

Such was Bailey’s confidence, as the Moorebank titles approached, he decided to try for all five titles with his major opposition to come from WA – Charlie West , Peter Nicol (who won three titles in 1955) and Don Russell.

Beginning with the 125 race, Bailey led a clean sweep for Victoria on his sleeved down Triumph Terrier 150 ahead of BSA riders Mal Williams and Ian Heggart. Riding his own-built Matchless Bailey Special, Bailey had another decisive victory in the 250 class, ahead of Blair Harley (NSW) and Mal Williams.

After a short break, Bailey was confronted with four consecutive events, including the 350, 500 and Unlimited finals. Bailey convincingly won the 500 final (Matchless), defeating Charlie West (BSA) – the young WA champion – with Charlie Scaysbrook (NSW, Matchless) in third.

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WA's clean sweep in 350cc and All Power classes

Charlie West winning his first Australian Motocross Championship at Moorebank NSW in 1956

WA rider Charlie West  – Australian All Powers Champion in 1957

In the All Powers final, because of sheer physical exhaustion, Bailey could do no better than fourth with the WA riders making it a clean sweep – Charlie West (BSA), Peter Nicol (BSA) and Don Russell (Velocette).

After Bailey won his 350cc heat aboard his 250 Matchless Special, he broke a crank-pin when in third position. This was also a WA clean sweep in the final with the defending champion, Peter Nicol, successfully defended his title ahead of David Christie (BSA) and Don Russell (Velocette).

South Australian sidecar ace Rex Wilson and his passenger Ian Baldock had little trouble on their Arial in defeating the local sidecar outfits to take their second title, winning the Junior class in 1953.

An almost complete lack of scramble competition in NSW saw no serious competition from the local riders, although some talent was evident in the performances of Blair Harley, Chas Scaysbrook, Harry Pyne, Les Fisher, Johnny Astley and Kel Carruthers.

According to the Australian Motorcycle News, a number of oddball aspects surrounded the meeting, including the use of the Les Mans start in all title events (where riders started off based on their qualifying times in the heats).

1956 Australian Motocross Championship Results

125cc

1. George Bailey (VIC, Triumph)
2. Mal Williams (VIC, B.S.A)
3. Ian Heggart (VIC, B.S.A.)

250cc

1. George Bailey (VIC, Bailey Matchless Special)
2. Blair Harley (NSW, James)
3. Mal Williams (VIC, B.S.A.)

350cc

1. Peter Nicol (WA, B.S.A.)
2. David Christie (WA, B.S.A.)
3. Don Russell (WA, Velocette)

500cc

1. George Bailey (VIC, Matchless)
2. Charlie West (WA, B.S.A.)
3. Charlie Scaysbrook (N.S.W., Matchless)

All Powers (Unlimited)

1. Charlie West (WA, B.S.A.)
2. Peter Nicol (WA, B.S.A.)
3. Don Russell (WA, Velocette)

Senior Sidecar

1. Rex Wilson – Ian Baldock (SA, Ariel)
2. J. Riley (N.S.W., Triumph)
3. K. Linnett (N.S.W., Triumph)

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