Leisk creates history at muddy Swiss Motocross Grand Prix

Leisk creates history at muddy Swiss Motocross Grand Prix

Runner-up World Motocross Champion Jeff Leisk

1989 Final Round of World 500cc Motocross Championship in Switzerland - Jeff Leisk

Photo: [Left] Jeff Leisk – On his way to finishing second in the 1989 World 500cc Motocross Championship at the final  round in  Wohlen, Switzerland on 27 August 1989; and [Right] Duke Video – 1989 World 500cc Motocross Championship Review, including the final placing presentations.

Leisk creates history in Switzerland to finish second in World 500cc MX Championship

On 27 August 1989,  Australian Jeff Leisk created history at Wohlen in Switzerland to become the first Australian to place in a World Motocross Championship.  Leisk from Perth in Western Australia, became the runner-up World 500cc Motocross Champion, behind HRC Honda team mate Dave Thorpe, from Great Britain, and ahead of reigning World Champion Eric Geboers (Belgium, Honda).

Heading into the final round, Thorpe had already clinched the World title, but Leisk, Geboers and British Kawasaki rider Kurt Nicol were neck-to-neck for the minor rostrum placings.

Thorpe continued on his winning way (1-1) scoring maximum points at Wohlen in the treacherous wet conditions.  Geboers crashed out in the mud at the start of Moto 1 to DNF and only just scraped in the points in Moto 2.  Nicol finished fourth overall (4-4), but with Leisk finishing in fifth position (9-3) he scored enough points to finish second in the title chase ahead of Geboers and Nicol.

Belgium rider Jacky Martens (Belgium, KTM) was second at Wohlen (5-2) with Leif Persson (Sweden, Honda) tying on points (2-5), but finishing third on a countback after finishing lower in the final race of the year.

Thorpe had an incredible second half of the season.  He won the final four rounds with 8 race wins to score maximum points – 12 race wins for the season.

Leisk scored four race wins throughout his first full Grand Prix season, with overall wins in Round 5 in Finland on 28 May and San Marino on 2 July.  He could well have won the opening round in the sand in Valkenswaard, Holland on 2 April where he convincingly won the second moto and led the first until the last lap after 45 minutes of racing when his Honda ran out of fuel.

It was an incredible year for Team Honda with Thorpe, Leisk and Geboers finishing 1-2-3.

1989 Jeff Leisk debuts at Valkensvaard in The Netherlands
1989 Jeff Leisk winner of the World 500cc Motocross Grand Prix in Finland

Photos: 1989 World 500cc Championship highlights from  Western Australian Jeff Leisk aboard his CR Honda – [Top] Debuting at Valkensvaard in The Netherlands at Round 1; and [Bottom] His first overall win in Finland.

1989 World 500cc Motocross Grand Prix Results Final Round - Wohlen, Switzerland

Overall Round
1. Dave Thorpe (UK, Honda) 35
2. Jacky Martens (BEL, KTM) 28
3. Leif Persson (SWE, Honda) 28
4. Kurt Nicholl (UK, Kawasaki) 26
5. Jeff Leisk (Australia, Honda) 22

Moto 1
1. Dave Thorpe (UK, Honda)
2. Leif Persson (SWE, Honda) 
3. George Jobes (BEL, Honda)
4. Kurt Nicholl (UK, Kawasaki)
5. Jacky Martens (BEL, KTM)
9. Jeff Leisk (Australia, Honda)

Moto 2
1. Dave Thorpe (UK, Honda)
2. Jacky Martens (BEL, KTM)
3. Jeff Leisk (Australia, Honda)
4. Kurt Nicholl (UK, Kawasaki)
5. Leif Persson (SWE, Honda)

Overall Championship Points
1. Dave Thorpe (UK, Honda) 358 pts
2. Jeff Leisk (Australia, Honda) 293
3. Eric Geboers (Belgium, Honda) 279
4. Kurt Nicholl (UK, Kawasaki) 277
5. Jacky Martens (Belgium, KTM) 215

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