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Leisk wins GSN motocross opener in San Bernardino

Leisk wins GSN motocross opener in San Bernardino

Australian International motocross champion Jeff Leisk

1988 San Francisco, Sandhills Ranch track - Jeff Leisk (right) focuses on the race, while US legend Ron Lechien entertains the riders on the start line
1988 Golden State Round at the Sand Hill MX Track in Brentwood California USA - Jeff Leisk in action - with insert

Photos: [Left] Jeff Leisk (7) focuses for the race on the start line at the Sandhills Ranch track in San Francisco in January 1988, while Ron Lechien entertains two other US legends Ricky Johnson (R1) and Jeff Ward (58); and [Right] Leisk in action at the San Francisco event (By Peter Kitchingman).

Leisk wins GSN 500 motocross opener in San Bernardino

On 3 January 1988, Jeff Leisk won 500cc class in the opening round of the Golden State Nationals in San Bernardino, California in the United States.

It was a tough day for the young Western Australian who also finished fifth overall in the 250cc class against American legends Jeff Ward (Kawasaki), Broc Glover (Yamaha) and Ron Lechien (Kawasaki). But after racing the AMA 125cc class in 1986 and 1987 and braking his jaw in a supercross accident, Leisk was keen to put these years behind him and get off to a fresh start in 1988 aboard his new Honda 250cc and 500cc machines, which he did!

Leisk took the overall win in the 500cc class aboard his CR Honda, preventing a Kawasaki sweep on the day with Team Kawasaki’s Jeff Ward and Mike Kiedrowski, who competed in Australia, winning the 250cc and 125cc classes, respectively.  Leisk finished 1-2, convincingly winning the first moto ahead of Billy Frank (Yamaha) and Tommy Watts (Kawasaki), who finished second overall (3-1), beating Leisk in the second moto.

Leisk led for most of moto 2 in the 500cc class, but riding in two classes he tired in his final race of the day with Watts catching him on lap 8, then passing him to take the lead a lap later.  With two laps remaining, Watts pulled away from Leisk who was now struggling but managed to hold off a fast finishing Breker who pulled right in behind him, but was unable to get past.  Breker’s third placing gave him third overall ahead of a fast finishing Ward, who capped off a good day in fourth overall, after winning the 250cc class.

Leisk would go on in 1988 to have his most successful year in the United States, finishing fourth in the AMA 500cc and sixth in the AMA 250cc Championships.

With a round of the 500cc World Championships being held in America in 1988, Leisk was given the opportunity to compete against the elite in the US Motocross Grand Prix.  After winning Moto 2 finishing third overall, he secured a lucrative contract with the Honda Factory Team for the coming 1989 500cc World Championships, where he came second.

1988 GSN Results San Bernardino, California US

1988 Golden State Round at the Sand Hill MX Track in Brentwood California USA - Jeff Leisk

Overall 500cc Class

1. Jeff Leisk (Honda)
2. Tommy Watts (Kawasaki)
3. Goat Breker (Honda)
4. Gordon Ward (Kawasaki)
5. Jerome Heiberger (KTM)

In 1988 Jeff Leisk moved from the 125cc class to 250 and 500cc classes in the United States 

Overall 250cc Class

1. Jeff Ward (Kawasaki)
2. Broc Glover (Yamaha)
3. Ron Lechien (Kawasaki)
4. Shawn Kalos (Yamaha)
5. Jeff Leisk (Honda)

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