Keller wins 1986 Sydney Supercross Masters, first indoors

Keller wins 1986 Sydney Supercross Masters, first indoors

Keller wins 1986 Sydney Supercross Masters indoors

1986 Americans Jo Jo Keller (1) and Guy Cooper (3) with Jeff Leisk - Victory celebration at the first Sydney Indoor event
1986 Sydney Supercross winner Jo Jo Keller USA - by Mika Manninen

Photos:  [Left] 1986 Supercross Masters podium at the Sydney Entertainment Centre – American Jo Jo Keller (1st) , Guy Cooper, USA (3rd, far right) with Jeff Leisk (WA, 3rd); and [right] Keller entertaining the  massive crowd after his big win (by Mika Manninen)

American Jo Jo Keller wins historic indoor Supercross in Sydney Entertainment Centre

On 1 November 1986, American Jo Jo Keller took out Australia’s biggest motocross event of the year – winning the prestigious Supercross Masters in Sydney – grabbing the whopping $8,000 first place prizemoney at the first indoor motocross event in this country.

After two sold out nights and half a matinee on the Sunday, the country’s leading supercross promoter Spokes Promotions pulled off what remains to this day as a promotional coup – taking the Supercross Masters indoors to the plush confines of the downtown Sydney Entertainment Centre.

The Supercross Masters took the spectacle to a new level – introducing grand parades, fireworks, laser shows, monster trucks and event fire-breathing robots – just like you see at the world famous Paris Bercy Supercross today. The indoor venues added a new level of comfort, including more comfortable velvet covered seats and central heating. And in Hollywood style, the star riders would arrive in limousines with the commentators wearing white dinner suits.

Jo Jo Keller’s physical style was perfectly suited to the tight indoor circuit. But to take home the big winners cheque, the Yamaha-mounted rider had to fight off strong challenges from Honda riders – fellow American Guy Cooper and Australia’s own Jeff Leisk, who had just returned home from his first season in the  United States.  Up and coming Australian legends of the sport Glen Bell (Yamaha) and Craig Dack (Honda) finished 4th and 5th, respectively.

Jo Jo Keller's racing profile

American Jo Jo Keller, winner of the inaugural Supercross Masters in 1986

Photo:  American Jo Jo Keller was at  the peak of his AMA motocross and supercross career when he raced at the Sydney Supercross Masters in 1986.

A New England boy from Plymouth Mass, after winning the NESC 125 Championship on a Honda in 1979, Keller soon moved up into the pro ranks to do battle at the national level in the United States.  

Between 1982 and 1993 Keller charged the national scene dominating the top 10 and placing well – up against the likes of US legends Bob Hannah, David Bailey and Broc Glover, with Glover also racing down under winning the inaugural Melbourne Supercross Masters in 1981.

Keller was at his peak in the mid-1980s, finishing on the national podium for the third time at the Washougal motocross in 1985 on a 500cc Honda. In 1986, he would podium twice more at AMA National Motocross events before competing down under.

Honda rider Robert Scott won the Expert 125cc class at the 1986 Supercross Masters ahead of Daryl Kelly (Kawasaki) and Queenslander David Armstrong (Honda).

Americans dominate early SX Masters

During the 1980s the Supercross Masters went from strength to strength, becoming Australia’s National Supercross Series between 1989 and 2007.  The initial Masters were one-off events with the Americans dominating. 

Jeff Leisk in 1982 was the only Australian to beat the Americans, with Glover (1981), World Champion Danny LaPorte (1983), Jim Ellis (1984) and Jim Holley (1985) the other winners.

At the time, motocross purists feared the indoor stadium floor spaces would be too small for racing. But although the tracks were tight and the lap times short, the racing was intense, the facilities were top-shelf and the crowds absolutely loved it.

1981 Broc Glover Australian Supercross Masters winner Melbourne

Photo: American motocross legend Broc Glover was the inaugural Australian Supercross Masters winner in Melbourne in 1981.

Results -
1986 Australian Supercross Masters, Sydney

TOP FIVE – FINAL (1 Nov. 1986)

1. Jo Jo Keller (USA, Yamaha)
2. Guy Cooper (USA, Honda)
3. Jeff Leisk (WA, Honda)
4. Glen Bell (NSW, Yamaha)
5. Craig Dack (NSW, Honda)

1986 Expert 125cc Class

1. Robert Scott (NSW, Honda)
2. Daryl Kelly (Kawasaki)
3. David Armstrong (QLD, Honda)
4. Gavin Hutton (Yamaha)
5. Barry Cockle (Honda)

Rosco Holden – Sydney Supercross Triple MMM , Channel 9, 1986 Saturday Final and Friday International Challenge races.

View Jo Jo Keller’s results in the AMA Championships – See Racer X Online

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