Australian Supercross Champion Jeff Leisk

Australian Supercross Champion Jeff Leisk

Australian Supercross Champion Jeff Leisk

1989 Jeff Leisk at Burswood Supercross - By Adrian Kitchingman
1981 Bunbury Supercross - Jeff Leisk with commentator Chuck Redmond - Peter Kitchingman
1981 Bunbury Supercross - Ron Sun (US, 3rd), Stephen Gall (1st) and Jeff Leisk (2nd) - Peter Kitchingman

Photo: [Left]  1980s Australian SuperXhero Jeff Leisk – 1987 to 1989 Castrol International Burswood Supercross winner;  [Right] Leisk interviewed by Wayne (Chuck) Redmond at the inaugural 1981 Bunbury Supercross; and second to Stephen Gall at that event. ( By Adrian and Peter Kitchingman)

Leisk and Supercross explode in Australia

Runner-up World 500cc Motocross Champion Jeff Leisk (1989) became a household name across Australia when he moved up from junior to senior ranks in the early 1980s – at the same time the exciting brand new sport of supercross emerged down under.

The 1979 Australian Junior and World Mini Grand Prix Champion for his age group was immediately competitive against Australia’s best motocross and supercross riders. 

Between 1981 to 1985, he became one of Australia’s top supercross racers, entertaining packed stadiums across the country, before moving to the United States to compete in both the AMA supercross and motocross championships in 1986 to 1988, then Europe to contest the 1989 and 1990 World Motocross Championships.

top australian supercross racer

The 1981 Superbowl of Motocross events (Brisbane and Bunbury) were Leisk’s first major supercross events and he led the Bunbury event in the South West of Western Australia for more than half of the 20-lap final, eventually finishing second to the more experienced Stephen Gall.

But between 1982 to 1985, Leisk would become Australia’s top supercross racer taking it up to the Americans.  In 1992, he won the prestigious Supercross Masters in Melbourne (VIC), beating home Americans Chuck Sun, the late Marty Smith and Goat Breker.

That year he also won the Fremantle Supercross, promoted by the late Kim Parsons and late Bob Leisk (Jeff’s father), which later moved to the Burswood Superdome – an event that Jeff would go onto win many times through to 1989, returning home at the end of each international season to compete in.

Leisk got his first taste of international supercross abroad, competing in the 1984 World Masters Supercross at Cheslea Football stadium in West London, which was won by fellow Australian Stephen Gall.  Kim Parsons and Jeff’s father Bob ran this event, which was won by fellow-Australian Stephen Gall.

Leisk won two unofficial National motocross series in 1984 and 1985 before heading overseas full-time, but at the time these events were not sanctioned by the sport’s governing body, now Motorcycling Australia.

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1982 Melbourne Supercross Masters winner Jeff Leisk
1982 Jeff Leisk - Fremantle Supercross winner WA
Jeff Leisk dominated Australian motocross and supercross in 1984 and 1985
1983 Danny LaPorte leads Jeff Leisk at Fremantle Supercross

Photos: [Left] Jeff Leisk – 1982 Melbourne Supercross Masters winner; [Centre top]  1982 Fremantle Supercross winner with his proud parents – Bob and Helen; [Centre bottom];  Leisk dominated Australian motocross and supercross in 1984 and 1985, and [Right] Chasing World Champion Danny LaPorte (US) at the 1983 Fremantle Supercross in Western Australia (By Peter Kitchingman).

Leisk's international career begins in the US

1988 Leisk racing supercross in the United States, on outside of Ricky Johnson
Jeff Leisk wins a Supercross

Photos: [Top] Leisk , up against American legends Ricky Johnson and Jeff Ward ; [Bottom] Leisk at the 1989 Burswood Supercross in Perth (By Peter Kitchingman).

In 1986, Jeff was ready to tackle the International circuit, deciding to start in America. His first year in the US was a big learning experience, the competition was extremely tough, and he got off to a bad start being sidelined early with a broken jaw which he sustained at the San Diego Supercross.

But he would recover to be one of the top racers on the US scene, becoming the first Australian to podium in an AMA Supercross event on 29 March 1987 in the 250cc class at the Seattle Kingdome behind US AMA legends Rick Johnson (Honda) and Jeff Ward (Kawasaki).

That year Leisk finished 5th in the AMA 250SX Championship, going on to finished sixth in 1988 having finished 19th in his first injury-affected season in 1986 . He was an international pioneer for Australian supercross and motocross, at the time becoming the most successful Australian to compete in the United States and in Europe.

In 1988, Leisk beat American legend Broc Glover in a thrilling finish in the Castrol International Supercross at the Burswood Superdome, returning home at the end of the season for a well deserved rest after winning all Australian Motocross Championships that year at Mackay in Brisbane, before his assault on the 1989 World 500cc Championship in Europe.

1989 would turn out to be the most successful of Leisk’s career – both in motocross and supercross. After being crowned the Runner-up World 500cc Champion, Leisk returned home briefly in October to win the Castrol International Supercross at the Burswood Superdome in Perth, his third in a row.

Then after a few weeks, he returned to racing in Japan, Paris and the United Kingdom. He finished sixth at the Tokyo Supercross in Japan, behind fellow Australian Glen Bell in fifth, then went on to create history twice in France.

Leisk won the final night of the prestigious international Paris (Bercy) Supercross in France, becoming the first Australian and non-American to win a night at the Paris Supercross and finish on the podium for overall points over the three-day event.

A real pioneer of the sport, Jeff Leisk paved the way for many top Australian motocross and supercross racers to forge international careers, plus he was responsible for bringing many Americans down under, with the likes of Eddie Warren permanently migrating to Australia.

Video gallery

1981 BUNBURY SUPERCROSS – Leisk second to Gall in 20-lap final (David Geneve)

1982 MELBOURNE INTERNATIONAL SX – Leisk second to American Chuck Sun (Darren Smart)

1987 AMA SUPERCROSS – Supercross Classics – Leisk podiums in Seattle (Motocross Vault)

1988 AMA SUPERCROSS – Leisk podiums at Daytona (Monster Energy SX)

1988 BURSWOOD SUPERCROSS FINAL – Leisk beats US Legend Broc Glover (David Geneve)

1989 Paris (Bercy) Supercross in France – Leisk wins final night (The Motocross Race Vault)

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