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Motocross Champion Martin

Australian Motocross Champion Brian Martin

1972 International Motocross - Brian Martin - 1st in Unlimited class at Calder
Motocross buddies - Brian Martin, Terry Gunter and Laurie Alderton – Early 1970s

Photos: [Left] New Zealander Brian Martin won the Unlimited class at Calder (VIC) during the 1972 International Motocross Series; and [right] Martin with motocross buddies Terry Gunter and Laurie Alderton, who introduced him to the sport in the early 1970s.

Kiwi Martin creates motocross history for Honda

New Zealand rider Brian Martin created history in 1974, winning Honda’s first Australian Motocross Championship at Cosy Creek in Manjimup, WA.  It was a breakthrough victory for Martin on a CR 125cc Honda at the National titles after showing much promise earlier riding Maicos.

In 1972, Martin finished third in the Unlimited Australian Motocross Championship aboard a Maico at Wallan in Victoria. That year he competed in all three rounds of the International Motocross Series, winning the Unlimited class at Calder Park (VIC) and 250cc class at Oran Park (NSW).

Martin also won the New South Wales 500cc and Unlimited titles that year, after winning the 125cc State title in 1971 at age 20.

Two years earlier, in 1969, Martin left his homeland for Australia and arrived in Sydney on his 18th birthday. He made the trek with three of his mates – Craig Brown, Ross King and Chris Wargrams – to seek warmer weather and have more fun in a place where motorbikes were a lot cheaper.

Martin got a job at Ryan’s in Parramatta (NSW), the Montesa importers, where Australian Motocross legend Laurie Alderton was the workshop manager, who offered to take him and his race bikes to motocross meetings.

His first event was at Moorebank where he won the B-Grade event and got hooked. From there, he moved up – eventually to a 400 square-barrel Maico – which he had much success on.

After impressive performances at Bundaberg (QLD) and Queanbeyan (NSW), Martin started getting sponsors, with his bikes being supplied. He was one of the earliest riders in Australia to become semi-professional and was paid by Honda NSW the year he won his and Honda’s first National motocross title.

In 1976, Martin was sponsored by the high profile Grace Bros team, which included Geoff Worrell (Suzuki) and up and coming rider Stephen Gall (Yamaha).  Gall went on to become an Australian motocross legend and Worrell won the Australian 500cc Championship that year. Martin also had success – finishing third in the prestigious Victorian Grand National.

Brian Martin was a versatile motorbike rider and throughout his racing career he won many events across Australia and New Zealand in motocross, road-racing, enduros, short circuit and even beach racing. He retired from racing motocross in 1977 and stayed put in Australia.

1976 Mr Motocross - Final - Amaroo Park - 23 S Gall, 2 Geoff Worrell, 35 Brian Martin, 191 John Behrins and 37 Alan McCarthy

Photo:  Brian Martin (35, Maico) third from left on the startline for the final of the 1976 Mr. Motocross series at  Amaroo Park with Grace Bros team-mates Stephen Gall (23, Yamaha) and Geoff Worrell (2, Suzuki). Other riders include John Behrins (191) and Alan McCarthy (37) – By Peter Kitchingman

Stunt role in 1974 bikie movie Stone

Martin even did some stunt riding in the iconic Aussie bikie movie Stone that came out in 1974 with close mate Craig Brown.  

In the race scene between Captain Midnight and Stone around Sydney suburban streets, Martin played Captain Midnight on the Z1 Kawasaki 900 and Brown stood in for Stone on the Norton Commando.  However, where Stone crashed his Commando at the end of the race, this stunt was performed by Hamish Cameron.

Australian Film: Stone (1974) – Mosman Collective

Martin's career highlights

1976 Brian Martin - Grace Bros Team

Brian Martin in 1976, when sponsored by Grace Bros with Stephen Gall and Geoff Worrell

1971
New South Wales 125cc Champion

1972
3rd Australian 250cc Championship, Wallan, VIC (Maico)
New South Wales 500cc Champion
New South Wales Unlimited Champion
International Motocross 250cc class winner at Oran Park (NSW)
International Motocross Unlimited class winner at Calder Park (VIC)

1974
Australian 125cc Champion, Manjimup, WA (Honda)

1976
3rd Grand National in Victoria

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Australian Motocross History