Motocross Champion George Scott

Motocross Champion George Scott

WA Motocross Champion George Scott

1952 George Scott wins third Harley Scramble at Rope Works in Mosman Park
1948 George Scott - WA scrambles legend at Harley Scramble at Rope Works in Mosman Park
George Scott - WA scrambles legend at Harley Scramble - 3 times winner

Photos: [Clockwise]  WA scrambles rider George Scott pictured at the Rope Works in Mosman Park in 1948. He is one of four riders to win the famous Harley Scramble on three or more occasions (1949, 50 and 1952); In action at the 1948 event; and George also was a road racer, winning a National 125cc title in 1962. 

Scott wins his third Harley Scramble in 2.5 hours

On 16 June 1952, 70 years ago, George Scott won the famous Harley Scramble motocross event for the third time at the Rope Works course in Mosman Park, on the outskirts of Perth in Western Australia.

Scott, who was born in Collie in the South West, but grew up in Maylands, near Perth, won the gruelling 65-mile journey aboard the latest 350cc A.J.S. competition bike in a time of 139 minutes (just under two and a half hours).

Motocross, or scrambles as it was called in those days, is one of the most physically demanding sports in the world with the World Motocross Championships contested over 2 x 30 minute, plus two lap events.  But imagine riding more than double this distance on heavy four-stroke street bikes (like 1000cc Harley Davidsons and 500cc B.S.A.s) with suspension being non-existent!

The Harley Scramble was the first ever large-scale scramble in Australia with the Harley Davidson Motorcycle Club hosting the event from 1928 onwards. The event was held annually at the Rope Works circuit through to 1964, with breaks during the war when George enlisted in the army and served in the Pacific Theatre.  During its peak in the 1960s, the Harley Scramble would attract crowds of over 20,000 people.

In the beginning, the circuit was longer than today – more like an enduro – with the first event finishing at Billy Goat Farm on the banks of the Swan River.  But over time, the circuit length and race duration was reduced, with the annual event moving onto other circuits between 1964 through to the 1980s.

One of the conditions of the Harley Scramble was that if you won the perpetual trophy three times, you got to keep it. So the trophy took pride of place in George and his wife June’s trophy cabinet for many years, joining Aub Melrose – the founder of the event (1929,31&38) and four-times winner Les Clinton (1939, 40, 46 & 48). In later years, Peter Nicol won the event four times (1953 to 55, & 57).

George Scott won the 23rd annual Harley Scramble by six seconds over Les Clinton. Eighteen-year-old Milton Carlisle of North Fremantle received concussion when he was thrown from his bike. In a separate incident, two women received slight leg injuries when a motorcycle left the track and ran into the crowd.
Northam rider Ron Edwards was the first country rider to finish the event and the Gold Star B.S.A. team won the team trophy, being the only team to finish.

Born in Collie, in WA's South West

George Scott was born in Collie in 1923 and was one of five children who later lived in Maylands in a street that produced successful sports stars in swimming and boxing, as well as motorcycling. His elder brother ran a motorcycle repair workshop and George started to help him in the early 1930s, aged ten.

George was small of stature, unassuming and quietly spoken, but once on a bike he was described as “a natural – at one with his motorcycle”. While still in short pants, George learnt to ride his brother’s Matchless and went on AJS Club runs until his 17th birthday when he obtained his road licence on a 350cc Velocette purchased the year before for ten pounds.

He commenced his road-racing sidecar racing career in Albany in 1940 and went on to ride 250cc solos in North Beach later that year. Successes and minor disasters followed at road circuits in Yanchep, Caversham, Applecross, Boulder and others.

The Second World War intervened and George enlisted in the army to serve in the Pacific Theatre. After his discharge he became one of only three officially trained motorcycle mechanics working for the WA agents of AJS and Vincent, as well as JAP speedway engines.

Three-times Harley Scramble winner

1948 George Scott - WA scrambles legend at Harley Scramble at Rope Works in Mosman Park

George continued to ride 125 to 650cc solos successfully in both road racing and scrambles, going on to win the Harley Scramble at the Ropeworks Circuit three times on a 350cc AJS – in 1949, 1950, and 1952.

One of the conditions of the Harley Scramble was that if “you win the trophy three times – you keep it!” The trophy took pride of place in George and June’s trophy cabinet for many years.

After being selected to represent Australia at the Isle of Man TT, George was married to June in1953 and their honeymoon was a voyage to the UK factory of AJS and Matchless to take delivery of a new 7R AJS racer. They arrived too early for the new bike, so George was put to work in the factory and eventually assembled his own racing bike.

George in action at the 1946 Harley Scramble at the Rope Works circuit in Mosman Park, Perth (WA)

Road racing in Europe

His first practice lap at the Junior TT was short lived and he crashed at Governor’s Bridge. In the race he finished 14th and was awarded a Silver Replica.

The Senior TT was not as good and George finished well down the field, but was the second Australian to finish and the first 350cc machine to finish.

The races were over 7 laps, totaled 420 kilometres and lasted three hours each! 

George competed credibly in the 1953 European rounds of the Grand Prix Championship with a third place in Germany and a number of top five finishes.

George represented Australia in the Isle of Man

George Scott - Represented Australia in the Isle of Man

More racing success back home in Perth

George Scott - Don Collins Collection

George Scott was a Western Australian motocross champion, winning the 1957 Unlimited title at Manjimup in the South West of WA.

On their return to Perth, George and June lived in Perth City for two years before moving with their three children to a War Service home in Scarborough. George continued racing successfully and went on to win the WA State Unlimited Scrambles Championship at Manijmup in 1957.

In 1962, George won the Australian 125cc Road Racing Championship on a Honda, then moved on to Ken George Yamaha sponsored YZ racers.

George retired and hung is leathers up in 1976 after 36 years of Australian and International competition. He was a Foundation Member and a Life Member of the MCRCWA, and was its inaugural President. George loved life and loved motorcycles. Sadly he died of breathing complications in 2002, aged 79 years.

For his ability and performance at the highest levels, in 2015 George was inducted into the Motorcycling WA Hall of Fame.

George Scott's key career highlights

In 2015, George Scott was inducted into the Motorcycling WA Hall of Fame

George Scott in action at the 1957 Harley Scramble at the Rope Works in Mosman Park

Harley Scramble winner

Harley Scramble winner

Harley Scramble winner

West Australian Unlimited Scrambles Champion (Cosy Creek, Manjimup)

Australian 125cc Road Racing Champion

Stay connected through social media

Mr Motocross
Legends and Stars

Mr Motocross Legends and Stars

Australian Motocross History

AMXHistory - Facebook Homepage

Old Stars WA
Motocross Group

Old Stars WA Motocross Group

Australian Sidecarcross Association

AMX Social Media Group - Australian Sidecarcross Association

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Australian Motocross History