Leisk makes spectacular debut in Dutch Grand Prix opener

Leisk makes spectacular debut in Dutch Grand Prix opener

Australian International Motocross Champion Leisk

Jeff Leisk Runner Up World 500cc Motocross Champion
1989 Jeff Leisk in the World 500cc Championship
1989 Jeff Leisk and Jean Michel Bayle

Photos:  [Left  and centre] In 1989 Jeff Leisk convincingly won the second 500cc moto at the Valkensvaard Grand Prix  in The Netherlands, after running out of fuel while leading the first in his debut ride in Europe; and [right] Leisk with Honda team mate Jean-Michel Bayle from France. 

Leisk makes spectacular debut in opening 1989 Dutch 500cc Motocross Grand Prix

On 3 April 1989, Australian Jeff Leisk made a spectacular debut in Europe at the opening Dutch Grand Prix, in what would be his first full season and crack at the 1989 World 500cc Motocross Championship.

The Team Honda rider won the second moto in Round 1 at the Valkenswaard circuit in the Netherlands, finishing fourth overall, ahead of Kurt Nichol (Kawasaki, UK) and Jacky Martens (Belgium, KTM) in this race.  American Kawasaki rider Billy Liles finished ninth in this moto after leading early with Leisk reveling in the sandy conditions to work his way up through the field mid-way through the race to win comfortably.

Leisk could well have finished the outright leader in Round 1, with 1989 being his first full assault on the World Championships. However, his Honda machine ran out of fuel just before the finish line.  He earned his Honda Factory contract after competing in the 1988 US Grand Prix, where he showed his capabilities beating the world’s best riders to win the second moto.

Belgium rider Dirk Geukens (Honda) won the opening moto in Valkensvaard – his first overall Grand Prix, victory – after finishing fourth in the second moto.

Former World Motocross Champion Eric Geboers (Belgium, Honda) finished second overall (2-6) with Dutch KTM rider Kees Van der Ven in third (4-5).

In his first full season, Leisk went on to become the 1989 Runner-up World 500cc Motocross Champion, behind Honda team mate Dave Thorpe from England.

Thorpe had a disastrous opening round finishing 7-11. Unlike the ‘Sandgroper’ Leisk – who was used to the sandy conditions back home in Western Australia – the Englishman was uncomfortable at the Dutch circuit.

Duke Video – Moto 2 highlights – Leisks wins at the 1989 500cc Motocross Grand Prix in Valkensvaard, The Netherlands

1989 Leisk running out of fuel after leading the Dutch Grand Prix - Australasian Dirt Bike
1989 Jeff Leisk debuts at Valkensvaard in The Netherlands - At the start of Moto, which he won (By ADB)

Photos: [left] In his debut at Valkensvaard, The Netherlands, in 1989, Australian Jeff leisk led  Moto 1 in the World 500cc Championship until running out of fuel in the the dying stages of the race; and [right] Leisk (centre) at the start of Moto 2, which he won (By Australasian Dirt Bike)

1989 World 500cc Motocross Grand Prix Results Valkensvaard, The Netherlands

1. Dirk Geukens (Belgium, Honda)
2. Eric Geboers (Belgium, Honda)
3. Kees Van der Ven (NL, KTM)
4. Jeff Leisk (Australia, Honda)
5. Jo Martens (Belgium, Kawasaki)

Moto 1
1. Dirk Geukens (Belgium, Honda)
2. Eric Geboers (Belgium, Honda)
3. Dietmar Lachar (Germany, Honda)
4. Kees Van der Ven (NL, KTM)
5. Stefan Larsson (Sweden, Kawasaki)

Moto 2
1. Jeff Leisk (Australia, Honda)
2. Kurt Nicholl (UK, Kawasaki)
3. Jacky Martens (Belgium, KTM)
4. Dirk Geukens (Belgium, Honda)
5. Kees Van der Ven (NL, KTM)

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