Australian Supercross Champion Stephen Gall

Australian Supercross Champion Stephen Gall

Australian Supercross Champion Stephen Gall

Stephen Gall Supercross 1983
Stephen Gall Bunbury Supercross
Stephen Gall Supercross 1984 - Chelsea Stadium (London) presentation with Leif Niklasson Sweden

Photo: [Left]  Australian SuperXhero from the 1970s-1980s era  – Stephen Gall  at the 1983 Fremantle Supercross;  [Top right] Gall winning  WA’s first “real” supercross event at Bunbury  (By Peter Kitchingman); and [bottom right] Victory celebrations for Gall with  Swede Leif Niklasson at the 1984  World Masters of Supercross  at the Chelsea F.C. stadium in London.

Stephen Gall - Australia's first SuperXhero

Australia’s first “real” supercross-style race event, as we know the sport today, was held at Sydney’s Parramatta Raceway in 1978. Speedway promoter, Sid Hopping had a man-made motocross track built inside the confines of his clay speedway venue and a three-round series played out.

Mr. Motocross series rivals Stephen Gall and Anthony Gunter were the star attractions with
Gunther winning the Unlimited class ahead of Gall, who won the 250cc class, with the two riders winning Yamaha YZs as the major prizes, supplied by the major sponsor – the Brian Collins Motorcycles dealership.

During the late 1970s, speedway promoters in WA, NSW and QLD hosted stadium motocross events, copying the idea from the United States at the Los Angeles Coliseum in 1972. The event paved the way for constructed, stadium-based motocross events known as “supercross”, which took the world by storm.

supercross circuits - From speedways to indoor stadiums

The speedway venues eventually moved to indoor stadiums in major cities with thousands of new fans able to see all the racing from comfortable grand stand seats.

The Sydney Supercross on 18 April 1980 was Australia’s first indoor stadium supercross event with Stephen Gall taking it right up to the visiting Americans. Gall led US Supercross Champion Rex Staten for almost the entire 20-lap final, until Staten won in controversial style after T-boning Gall with just laps remaining.

With American three-times “Stefan’s Superbowl of Motocross” winner Mike Bell blitzing the opposition in Brisbane, Gall realised that the Americans were more advanced in technique and stamina, so at the start of 1980 he and Gunter travelled to race and train in the United States with Gall taking his fitness to a new level.

With his increased fitness and technique, he quickly adapted to this new branch of the sport and won most of the earliest supercross events in this country.

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Gall’s big international supercross wins

Placegetters in the 1980 Coca-Cola Superbowl of Motocross in Sydney [L-R] Rex Staten (first), Stephen Gall (third) and Marty Smith (second)
Stephen Gall Supercross - Beating Jimmy Weinart in 1981 Sydney Supercross

After his disappointment at the inaugural 1980 Sydney Supercross, Gall made amends in 1981 to beat American Jim Wienert at the Sydney Showground in front of 20,000 fans who were chanting ‘Go Gall’ throughout the race to urge him on, which Stephen describes as one of the highlights of his supercross career.

That year he also won the inaugural Bunbury Supercross in Western Australia, pegging back young Jeff Leisk – who was just up into seniors – around the half-way mark in the 20 lap final, recovering from several race falls including a tangle with Ron Sun (US) early on the first lap.

The 1983 Penrith Supercross at Sydney’s Penrith football stadium was another highlight for Gall – racing up against reigning World 500 motocross champion Hakan Carlqvist and two ther world champions Graham Noyce (England) and Danny LaPorte (US), who won the event.

Then the following year when promoters Bob Leisk and Kim Parsons (WA) promoted the first ever Supercross at Chelsea Football Stadium in England – The World Supercross Masters – Gall got to compete and won the event against the likes of reigning World Champion Georges Jobe (Belgium), Swedish supercross champion Leif Niklasson and Aussies Beatle Bailey and Bob’s son Jeff.  

Gall was then invited to compete in the 1984 Bordeaux Supercross in France, placing sixth and being the first non-American home.

Photos:  [Top] Gall finished third at the 1980 Sydney International Supercross to Americans Rex Staten and Marty Smith after his controversial crash while leading;  and [Right] Gall made amends in 1981 to win the Sydney International Supercross, beating American Jim Weinart

Gall calls time on his supercross career

Back home, Gall continued to race supercross through to 1988.  However, following a knee injury sustained at the start of the 1986 season, Gall was unable to compete at the same level he had become accustomed to over his long and illustrious career.

The final supercross event he competed in was at the 1988 Supercross Masters in Sydney, where he came out of retirement  on 12-13 August  to finished second to Queenslander James Deakin.

Ironically, two years later, the first official Motorcycling Australia sanctioned National Supercross Championship series was held with New South Wales rider Craig Dack being the inaugural winner.  Without doubt, had this championship been run in earlier years, Gall would have added more National titles to his incredible list of achievements.

Photo:  Stephen Gall ‘s last supercross race at the 1988 Supercross Masters in Sydney, with James Deakin

Stephen Gall Supercross 1989 - Last ride with James Deakin
1978 Paramatta Supercross - Publicity day - Stephen Gall with photographers and Greg Flood
1981 Bunbury Supercross - Ron Sun (US, 3rd), Stephen Gall (1st) and Jeff Leisk (2nd) - Peter Kitchingman
Stephen Gall Supercross 1983 - Penrith

Photos:  [Left] 1978 Paramatta Supercross  publicity day – Stephen Gall with photographers and Greg Flood;  [Centre] 1981 Bunbury Supercross – Ron Sun (US, 3rd), Stephen Gall (1st) and Jeff Leisk (2nd) –  By Peter Kitchingman;  and [Right] Gall competing at the 1983 Penrith Supercross.

Video gallery

1980 SYDNEY SUPERCROSS – Gall leads Aussies home against the US

1981 BUNBURY SUPERCROSS – Gall wins 20-lap final after first-lap fall

Stephen Gall – Motorsport Hall of Fame Inductee – Speed Cafe TV

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