Australian Motocross Legends

Australian Motocross Legends

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Australian Motocross Championship Legends

all-time motocross greats (by the number of australian championships won)
Australian motocross legends Bell, Flood and Leisk
Stephen Gall riding hard at the Raymond Terrace MX track
Craig Dack dominated the 250cc class in the late eighties

Photos: [L-R] Australian motocross legends Glen Bell (NSW), Gary Flood (VIC) and Jeff Leisk (WA) all won eight National Championships; [centre] Stephen Gall (NSW) dominated the early eighties winning four 250cc Championships in a row between 1980-83; and [right] Craig Dack dominated the late eighties

Australian motocross champions - by numbers

Australia has many motocross legends, but how do you determine who was the greatest ever rider of all time.

Every motocross enthusiast is likely to have a different opinion, so the Australian Motocross History website has determined an All-time greats list solely based on the number of Australian Championships won.

Top International Australian competitors Jeff Leisk, Chad Reed and Andrew McFarlane picked up many Australian Motocross Championships between the 1980s and 2010.  Undoubtably, they would have won more championships had they remained in Australia.  But they were oversees during the peak of their racing careers.

The same applies to ‘all-time great’ Gary Flood who won eight Australian Titles while also racing scrambles and pursuing an International solo speedway career in England. 

In earlier times, Ken Rumble (Vic) and Charlie West (WA) won the most Australian Championships in the 1950 to 1960s, with seven and six titles each, respectively.  Charlie also spent time racing in Europe. 

In modern times, these numbers would likely have been higher as getting to the National Championships across the country was a major exercise.   There were no professionals in the early days and competitors spent days each year driving across the country to compete on one weekend.

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Top 10 All-time Australian Motocross Greats

Australian Motocross All time great No 1 - Glen Bell

Glen Bell
New South Wales

National Titles – 8, seconds – 5, thirds – 3.

New South Wales rider Glen Bell was at the top of his game for more than a decade. Between 1983 and 1993, Bell finished on the winner’s podium in the Australian Championships 16 times, winning eight National Titles.

This feat is equal with Gary Flood and Jeff Leisk who dominated the seventies and eighties, respectively. And the number of titles could have been higher for Bell who finished second to Leisk in 1988 in both the 250 and 500cc classes when Leisk returned briefly from America before his assault on the 500c World Championship in Europe. 

It was a similar story the following year in 1989 at Acusa Park when Bell finished second in the 500s behind visiting USA rider Eddie Warren.

Bell’s first big win was in 1983 when, after just three years of racing, he won the 125cc Gold Cup. He beat Craig Dack in this new series that ran alongside Mr Motocross and was designed to allow young stars a chance to progress their careers.  That same year Bell won his first National Championship in the 125cc class at Acusa Park, South Australia, again beating Dack, and retained this crown the following year at Broadford in Victoria.

In 1985 Bell competed in both the 125 and 250cc classes and finished on the podium in both at Noble Falls in Western Australia.
He bounced back to win the Australian 125cc Championships over the next two years in his home state at Barleigh Ranch (NSW) and then in Smithton (TAS), after breaking his wrist earlier that year. In Tasmania he also finished second in the 500cc class behind Craig Dack who also won the 250cc class. 

Up until now Bell had won his four National titles in the 125cc class. But in 1988 at Mackay in Queensland Bell showed that he was just as capable on the bigger bikes narrowly finishing behind Jeff Leisk in both the 250 and 500cc classes.

In 1989 Bell won the 125 Australian Championship again at Acusa Park (SA) and for the second year in a row finished second in the 500cc class – this time behind visiting USA rider Eddie Warren.  But in 1990, Bell finally broke through to win the premier 500cc Australian Championship at Monza Park in Victoria. He retained his 500cc crown in 1991 in Kalgoorlie (WA) and won his sixth 125cc title and eighth National Championship – equaling Gary Flood and Jeff Leisk.

But Bell competed in more Australian Championships than any of the other Australian Motocross legends and – on a countback with eight first placings, five second and three third placings – based on numbers he is Australia’s greatest ever rider on home soil.

No doubt Leisk and Flood would have won more titles had they not competed overseas for lengthy periods. But Bell was committed to the sport, his training and personal health, which enabled him to consistently achieve at the highest level – winning National titles at both the beginning and end of his long career.

Bell did compete in many International events, but he did this outside of the Australian motocross season, going on to win more National titles and placings than any other competitor in the history of the sport.

Over a decade Bell won more than 40 National and State Motocross and Supercross Championships and represented Australia at the Motocross des Nations more than half-a-dozen times.

Australian Motocross legend Gary Flood

Gary Flood

National Titles – 8, seconds – 1, thirds – 3.

Victorian rider Gary Flood won eight National Titles in the 1960-70s. Flood was a teenage prodigy who, at 17 in his first attempt, won all solo classes at the 1969 Australian Championships — 125, 250, 500cc and Unlimited All Powers.

On 23 November 1969 at the St. Leonards Circuit in Devonport Tasmania, Flood became the first ever rider to achieve this feat, which was later matched by Jeff Leisk in Mackay QLD in 1988 and Kim Ashkenazi in the 1992 three-round series.

The 1969 championships were a shoot-out between two stars – Flood on a Bultaco and New South Wales rider Matt Daley on a CZ. But Flood proved unbeatable with Daley having to settle for a second in the 250 and 500 classes, and third in the All Powers.

In 1970 Flood raced in a series of English scrambles and returned to Australia prepared to defend his titles at the championship meeting in Ipswich, Queensland. But after six months of long 45-minute motos, he was not accustomed to the short sprint-style races of his homeland and managed to hold only one of his titles – the 125. Matt Daley was the fastest rider at the meeting. But a race mishap restricted his title score to one also – in the Unlimited class.

Flood returned to England in 1971 campaigning a Bultaco before returning home to Victoria to make a surprise but successful switch in bike codes. At Melbourne’s Brooklyn track Flood won his first motorcycle speedway race, a victory that saw him return to England in 1972 when he was called up as a member of the Australasia team in a series against England. 

But his first love was motocross and in 1973 and 1974 he won three more National Motocross titles – the 125cc class at Foster Park, Mulbring in New South Wales in 1973. Then in 1974 he dominated at the Cosy Creek Circuit in Manjimup in WA winning the 250 and 500cc Australian titles – all on a Bultaco.

In 1975 Flood added the prestigious Mr Motocross series to his impressive tally of eight national motocross titles setting a benchmark for future generations.

Australian Motocross Champion Jeff Leisk

Jeff Leisk
Western Australia

National Titles – 8, seconds – 0, thirds – 1.

Western Australian Jeff Leisk won eight National Motocross Championships in the seventies and eighties, including two in the Restricted License Holder (Junior) class.

Right from the beginning of his career, Jeff Leisk was out in a class of his own.  In junior competition he won four National Championships between 1975 to 1978 and in his final year in that competition he became the World Champion for his age group.  

Immediately in seniors, Leisk dominated the Junior Licence Holder class, winning both the State and National 125cc Championships in 1979 and 1980 at Wanneroo (WA) and Dargle (NSW).

The following year he turned professional and took out the State 250cc and Australian 125cc Championships in Symons Plains in Tasmania.

From here on, Jeff concentrated his racing on the East coast.  At only 17 years of age, he won the premier Australian 500cc Championship in Toowoomba in Queensland up against the likes of Stephen Gall, Anthony Gunter and Trevor Williams – becoming the youngest competitor ever to win that class.

For his standards, 1993 was relatively quiet.  But over the next two years, he was to completely dominate Australian motocross.   During this time, he clinched almost every major title, including back-to-back victories in the coveted Mr Motocross series and the 250cc National title at Broadford, Victoria.

Leisk could have easily added more National titles to his resume in 1985 when the Australian Championships were held at his home track at Noble Falls.  But unfortunately he was injured at a previous meeting and was unable to compete.

In 1986, Leisk tackled the International circuit.  After a successful few years in the USA, he secured a lucrative contract with the Honda Factory Team to contest the 1989 500cc World Championships.  He then decided to return to Australia in preparation for Europe, contesting the 1988 Australian Championships at Mackay in Queensland.  

That year he won every class – the 125, 250 and 500cc Championships – at the time becoming the second rider in the history of Australian motocross to achieve this feat, after Gary Flood’s effort in Tasmania in 1969.

In 1989 Leisk had his best ever season becoming the Runner-up World Champion behind David Thorpe, establishing himself in Australia’s Hall of Fame.  For his efforts, he was also awarded the prestigious FIM medal.

Team Honda were so impressed with Leisk’s performance, that he was appointed the Number 1 factory rider for 1990.  But the year was ruined through niggling injuries and Leisk returned home that year and announced his retirement – after 19 years of competition.  

In Australia Leisk achieved every possible feat and is one of Australia’s greatest ever motocross riders opening the door for others to compete on the world stage.

Australian Motocross Champion Ray Fisher

Ray Fisher

National Titles – 7, seconds – 4, thirds – 0.

Victorian rider Ray Fisher won seven Australian Motocross Championships in the 1950-60s.

In his first Championships in 1959 at the Royal Park circuit in South Australia, Fisher won the 500cc class on a BSA and finished second in the 350cc and Unlimited All Power classes.

In 1960 he set sail on a one way passage to England, and stayed five years making adventurous road trips to race across Europe.  This included grass track races behind the Iron Curtain in East Germany and Czechoslovakia.  

In 1963 he won the famous Teterow International Grass Track in Germany in front of 100,000 spectators against a world class field.

Returning home in 1965, Fisher easily won the 500cc National Championship at Clarendon in South Australia.  He was also on track to win the Unlimited class, until he had a gearbox fault on his Matchless.

Fisher retained his 500cc crown the following year at Christmas Hills in Victoria, then again at Mt Kembla in New South Wales, where he also won the Unlimited class.

That year a “hand-on-head clutch start” was introduced, which really suited Fisher.  The torque of his Matchless allowed him to simply kick into gear without using the clutch at all.  

In 1968 in Collie Western Australia, riding a Metisse, Fisher finished second in the 500cc class behind South Australian David Basham on a Greeves.  But in his final Championships, he won both the 125cc and Unlimited classes.

Fisher’s trophy collection includes seven Australian titles, 12 Victorian state titles and three Grand National motocross wins.  Without doubt, like other Australian Motocross Legends, he would have won more titles had he not travelled abroad early in his racing career.

Incredibly, Fisher raced for 33 years, on 33 different bikes with his favoured race number 33.

Australian Motocross Champion Ken Rumble

Ken Rumble

National Titles – 7, seconds – 2, thirds – 1.

Victorian rider Ken Rumble was Australia’s first ever Motocross Legend.  He won seven National titles in the 1950-60s, including three at the inaugural Australian scrambles championship at Korweinguboora – Daylesford in Victoria on 14 November 1953.

Ken won the 125 and 250cc classes on a BSA and the Unlimited All Powers class on a Matchless.  This was a crazily muddy meeting and after discarding his goggles in one race he had to be led to the ambulance tent to have his eyes washed out.

Ken retained his 125 title on the screaming Walsh Bantam and 250cc crown on a BSA Bantam the following year at the newly finished Sheidow Park Circuit, which was held by the South Australian Atujara Club. He was easily the fastest rider on the day and, if he’d had the machinery, he would have won every title.  

In 1960 the Australian Championships were on the grassy slopes of the Arthur’s Creek circuit in Victoria.  With two creek crossings in the valley and ten days of continuous heavy rain, the circuit quickly became a quagmire.  

Riding a BSA, as he did though his career, Rumble was suited to the muddy conditions and won both the 350 and 500cc National titles. BSA greeted scrambling’s second decade with a blitz of the solo titles, filling twelve of the fifteen placings.

In post World War 2 motorcycle racing, Ken Rumble was the star, not for what he did in one branch of the sport but for the many races and titles he won in solos and sidecars, on dirt and tar.

It was in a road-racing sidecar accident where Ken sustained the only serious injury of his racing career – a badly broken leg.  This injury continued to give him trouble to the time of his death, aged 58, in September 1986.

1992 125cc Australian 125cc Champion Kim Ashkenazi represented Australia at the Motocross des Nations

Kim Ashkenazi
New South Wales

National Titles – 7, seconds – 1, thirds – 0.

Kim Ashkenazi from New South Wales was the standout Australian rider in the 1990-2000s winning seven National Motocross Championships.

In 1992 he won all classes – 125, 250 and 500s – aboard a Suzuki, joining Gary Flood and Jeff Leisk who are the only other riders to achieve this feat in the history of the sport.

But Ashkenazi’s effort was even more amazing!  Where Flood and Leisk made a clean sweep when the National titles were staged on a single day, he won when the Championships moved to a three-round series across three states – WA, SA and NSW.

For his efforts he was rewarded and represented Australia in the 125cc class at the World MX des Nations, the year it was held at Manjimup, WA.

In 1993 Ashkenazi retained his 500cc crown, but finished second to Victorian Lee Hogan in the 250cc class. But he bounced back to win back-to-back 250cc National titles in 1994 and 1995.

He won his final National Title in the 125cc series in 2000.

AMXH All time greats No 7 - Charlie West

Charlie West
Western Australia

National Titles – 6, seconds – 3, thirds – 1.

West Australian Charlie West won seven Australian ‘Scrambling’ Championships in the 1950s to 1960s, as the sport was named in those days.

This was a period of fierce competition between fellow WA riders who dominated the National scene from the sports beginning to 1965.

Charlie was the legend of that era dominating all classes and the prestigious Unlimited All Powers riding a BSA Gold Star in this class and C15 Starfire BSA in the 250s.

He won his first National title in the All Powers class in 1956 at the Moorebank Army Camp circuit in New South Wales.

In 1958 he won both the 350cc and Unlimited classes at Holt Park in Amberley (QLD), successfully retaining the Unlimited title the following year at Royal Park in Adelaide (SA).

Although West only won one title in 1959 when South Australia hosted it’s second scramble title at Royal Park, near Adelaide, the twenty-one-year old champion was acclaimed the best in the land by the Australian Motorcycle News magazine.

“None would deny that the young WA rider is without doubt the foremost scramble exponent in the country today and but all for early mishaps would have scored early victories in the 350 and 500 title races run earlier in the day.”

The Moorebank circuit in Sydney was one of Charlie’s favourites and when the National titles returned there in 1961, Charlie won the 250 and 350cc classes and came second in the 500s.

Charlie also dominated at home winning the famous “Harley Scramble” multiple times at the Rope Works circuit in Mosman Park, near Perth.  This event was an annual event which started in 1928 and went for more than 30 years – attracting up to 20,000 spectators on occasions.

In 1963 Charlie rode internationally in England and the continent and represented Australia in a World Championship Grand Prix in France.

During the sixties he switched to a successful speedway career winning State titles in the TQ and midgets at Claremont Speedway.

Australian Motocross Champion Craig Dack

Craig Dack
New South Wales

National Titles – 5, seconds – 6, thirds – 1.

Craig Dack from New South Wales dominated the late 1980s winning five Australian Motocross Championships and four Mr. Motocross series.

After many rostrum placings behind Glen Bell, Jeff Leisk and Jimmy Ellis while riding for the Yamaha Dealers Team, Dack finally broke through in 1986 to win his first National title on a Honda 250cc machine at the Barleigh Ranch raceway in Newcastle (NSW).  In 1987, Dack won back-to-back National 250cc titles at Smithton in Tasmania on a Honda, also winning the 500cc class that year.

Dack dominated the prestigious Mr Motocross series during this era winning three in a row between 1986 and 1988.  With the Mr. Motocross series not run in 1989, Dack raced a season in Europe, including the World 250cc Grand Prix circuit.

But he found the cold and wet conditions, as well as living abroad, tough and returned to Australia in 1990.

Picking up where he left off, Dack won his fourth Mr Motocross title and the Australian 250cc Championship at Ballarat in Victoria that year, his first on a Yamaha.  Then in 1991, he successfully retained his Australian 250cc crown at Noble Falls in Western Australia.

Incredibly, Dack’s achievements are identical to champion Stephen Gall, with both winning five National titles and four Mr Motocross series.  Gall dominated the early – and Dack the late eighties, early nineties.

AMXH All time greats No 9 - Stephen Gall

Stephen Gall
New South Wales

National Titles – 5, seconds – 3, thirds – 2.

Stephen Gall from New South Wales dominated the early 1980s winning five National Motocross Championships.

Gall came within seconds of winning a sixth title, losing the 125cc Championship in 1989 at Wanneroo by a whisker in Western Australia on a countback.  Both Shane Kirpatrick (WA) and Gall tied on points finishing with a first and second placing each.  But unfortunately for Gall the title was awarded to the local as Kirpatrick had the faster time in the leg that he won.

But after showing so much promise, Gall finally broke through the following year to win his first National Title at Dargle, NSW, in his home State.

After being in the shadow of arch rival and close friend Anthony Gunter in the late 1970s, Gall picked up both the Unlimited and 250cc crowns in 1980.  He also capped the year off with the prestigious Mr. MX title for the second time, having won the event in 1978, plus the King of the Cross in Southern Cross, WA.

Gall went on to win five National titles and four Mr MX series – the most prestigious event in Australia at the time. He held the 250cc National crown for four years in a row, winning at Simmons Plains (Tas, 1981), Toowoomba (QLD, 1982), and Acusa Park (1983).

He really raised the bar for professionalism in motocross and was a great advocate for the sport and adored by the race fans.

AMXH All time greats No 10 - Trevor Flood

No. 10
Trevor Flood

National Titles – 5, seconds – 2, thirds – 1.

Fellow Victorian Trevor Flood won five National Titles in the 1970s.  Rated as one of the most naturally talented riders ever to ride in Australia, Flood won his first titles in 1972 at home in Wallan, Victoria. 

Trevor, Gary’s younger brother, was almost unbeatable in his home state that year and attempted to take out all of the Australian titles – and he nearly succeeded – winning the 250 and 500cc classes on a Bultaco.  In the 125cc class he took an early lead, but bottomed the forks of his Mk V Pursang and went over the handlebars. 

Flood won his third title in 1973, winning the 500cc class at Foster Park, Mulbring in NSW.  This win was surrounded by controversy as the gearbox on his Yamaha YZ360 blew when he was leading the Unlimited All Powers heat race.  Between races he changed the motor and officials initially excluded him for “changing bikes” and gave the 500cc title to Maico-mounted Jack Pengelly.  A week later it was ruled that Flood had not changed bikes and he was given the title again.

In 1974, Trevor Flood won the inaugural Mr Motocross series riding a Yamaha 360 ahead of Englishman Malcolm Dearn and fellow Victorian Jack Pengelly (Maico).

That same year Flood won the Unlimited class at Manjimup, WA.   He retained his All Powers crown at Tivoli in Queensland on 29 August 1976, winning his fifth title on a Maico.

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Australian Motocross History