Photos: [Left] Winner of the inaugural Superbowl of Motocross at Bunbury Speedway Stephen Gall (NSW, Yamaha) in action; [Top right] Gall celebrates on the podium with Jeff Leisk (WA, Honda) and Ron Sun (US, Honda); and [Bottom right] Leisk in action, just up into senior ranks. (All photos by Peter Kitchingman)
Bunbury Superbowl of Motocross – the first major stadium supercross event in WA
On Sunday 22 January 1981, the first major supercross event in Western Australia – on a manmade circuit on the track and infield – was held at the Bunbury City Speedway in the South West.
In April 1980, the ACU of WA (now Motorcycling WA) staged a stadium motocross at the Belmont Horse Racing Course and in 1979 a similar style event was held at Claremont Speedway, which had a few jumps on the infield. But the Bunbury Supercross was the first major Supercross as we know it today with Australia’s top National and a visiting US rider – Ron Sun.
The event was billed as the “Superbowl of Motocross” and was run by Bunbury City Speedway Director and former Australian Speedcar Champion John Fenton.
Fenton got the idea from another speedway speedcar champion and promoter Blair Shepherd who established the Stefan’s Superbowl of Motocross at the Archerfield Speedway in Brisbane back in 1979.
Due to its success, Shepherd then took the supercross show to Sydney, staging two magnificent events at the Sydney Speedway in 1980, which was held at the then Sydney Showgrounds at Moore Park, which were filled to capacity.
This became an annual event and supercross started spreading across the country.
Fenton and other officials flew to the 1981 Sydney Supercross, which was held a week before the inaugural event at Bunbury, to see how it was run. And the Bunbury event was a big success and became an annual event through to the mid-1980s.
Stephen Gall (NSW, Yamaha) won the 20-lap final ahead of Jeff Leisk (WA, Honda) and Ron Sun (USA), Beatle Bailey, and Anthony Gunter. Sun was the younger brother of 1980 AMA 500cc Champion Chuck Sun and the brothers were in the US Honda Team.
Leisk was only sixteen at the time and had just moved up into senior ranks after a very successful junior career, which included winning a World Championship for his age group (13 years).
He actually led the Bunbury supercross final for more than half the 20-lpa race, after passing the initial race leader Beatle Bailey with Gall and Sun colliding and crashing on the first corner at the start. Gall and Sun recovered with the pair storming through the field to catch up to Leisk, who had opened up a commanding lead.
Gall had just returned from racing and training in the United States with Anthony Gunter and his speed and fitness was on show in front of the big crowd. He overtook Leisk after a brief battle on lap 12 and created history to be the first winner of the Bunbury Superbowl of Motocross.
Leisk managed to keep Sun at bay with the pair joining Gall on the winner’s rostrum in that order.
US stunt rider Doug Domokos also entertained the big crowd at interval and in between races – riding around the motocross circuit on one wheel. The commentators were Chuck Redmond and Claremont Speedway promoter Con Migro.
Winners are grinners: [Top] Stephen Gall won the inaugural Bunbury Supercross final on 19 January 1981, and [Bottom] Beatle Bailey won the second event on 10 October that year.
Bunbury Supercross Photos
Riders in action at the inaugural Bunbury Supercross [Left to right] 5. Jeff Leisk (WA, Honda), 6. Robert Woodward (WA, Suzuki), O. Neville Cutts (WA, Honda), and B. Beatle Bailey (NSW, Suzuki)
Overall winner Stephen Gall being interviewed by race commentator Wayne “Chuck” Redmond
1. Stephen Gall (NSW, Yamaha)
2. Jeff Leisk (WA, Honda)
3. Ron Sun (USA),
4. Beatle Bailey (NSW, Suzuki)
5. Anthony Gunter (NSW, Suzuki).
1981 Bunbury Superbowl of Motocross – 20 Lap final
US Stunt rider Doug Domokos mono-wheeling at the Bunbury Supercross
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