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Motocross Clubs – Southern Cross (WA) 50th Anniversary

Motocross Clubs – Southern Cross (WA) 50th Anniversary

Southern Cross MCC 50th Anniversary Celebration

SXMCC Top motocross riders contesting the King of the Cross in 1978
Southern Cross MCC 50th Anniversary 2023
King of the Cross History - Big crowd

Photos:  [Left] The Nations top motocross riders contesting the King of the Cross in 1978 – Trevor Flood (5), Pelle Granquist (78), Stephen Gall (2), Mark Pace (13), Anthony Gunter (1), Neville Cutts (25) and Graeme Smythe (2); [Top right] 1984 program; and [Bottom right]  Thousands would flock to Southern Cross each August to witness a truly iconic motocross event – one of the biggest annual events on the National Calendar in the 1980s  (By Peter Kitchingman)

Southern Cross Motor Cycle Club - Promoter of the iconic King of the Cross motocross spectacular

On Saturday, 23 September 2023, the Southern Cross Motor Cycle Club (SXMCC) celebrated its 50th Anniversary.  Hundreds of current and past members, riders, officials, sponsors and fans attended a special event at the Southern Cross Town Hall, looking back at the club’s incredible achievements and paying tribute to its pioneers and everyone who has contributed to the club’s success.

The SXMCC is renowned for running the annual King of the Cross Motocross event, which since the 1970s has been held on the first Sunday in August and attracted the country’s leading motocross riders, including international champions.

Over the years, this event has drawn thousands of spectators from all over the country (and the world) to Southern Cross, which is situated 370 kms east of Perth in Western Australia with a population of around 700 people.

The event is like the “Bathurst” of Motocross, with the population of the tiny town on occasions reaching over 5,000 people with the majority camping at the circuit. But instead of the racing car drivers vying to be King of the Mountain, the riders are vying to be King of the Cross.

What was unique about this event in the 1970s and 1980s was that it was held at the Carnicelli Park mining site, near Southern Cross, with the winner receiving big prizemoney, a trophy and a gold bar worth more than $10,000 in today’s market.

On occasions, raw gold nuggets actually mined from the circuit were presented to the winners with New South Wales Champion Vaughan Style the first to win this special prize after taking out the 1983 and 1984 events back-to-back.

The other big names to win the prestigious King of the Cross were Mr. Motocross legends Stephen Gall, Anthony Gunter and Craig Dack – all from New South Wales – with all of these riders paying tribute remotely to the club and co-founder Bob Couzens via video at Saturday’s special celebration.

NSW rider Vaughan Style won back-to-back King of the Cross titles in 1983 and 1984, winning gold nuggets mined from the Carnicelli Park circuit (By Peter Kitchingman)

Photo:  NSW rider Vaughan Style won back-to-back King of the Cross titles in 1983 and 1984, winning gold nuggets mined from the Carnicelli Park circuit (By Peter Kitchingman)

View celebration video

Video – Southern Cross Motor Cycle Club 50th Anniversary Celebration, featuring the history of the  club and the famous King of the Cross  MX spectacular.

Tribute videos from past champions

Hear their stories about winning the historic iconic event  and what they did with their gold bars

1980 King of the Cross – Stephen Gall (NSW)

1982 & 1985 KoC winner  –  Jeff Leisk (WA)

1979 &  1981 winner –  Anthony Gunter (NSW)

1983 & 1984 winner Vaughan Style (NSW)

1987 King of the Cross winner Craig Dack (NSW)

1981 KoC Runner-up – Trevor Williams (VIC)

Local Kalgoorlie legend Graeme Smythe, three times winner of the King of the Cross in the 1970s

Three-times King of the Cross winner Graeme Smythe in the 1970s (By Peter Kitchingman)

Local Goldfields motocross legend Graeme Smythe, who won the King of the Cross three times in its early years in the late 1970s, along with two Australian Motocross Championships, was a special guest and received an honorary life membership on the evening.

Up and coming WA rider in the 1980s Jeff Leisk also won both the “Kid” and “King of the Cross” multiple times, going on to win two Mr. Motocross titles and becoming the 1989 World Runner-up 500cc Champion – the first Australian to achieve this feat. 

Bob Couzens, the former owner of the Railway Tavern in Southern Cross, was also recognized on the night.  He co-founded the club and its first circuit in 1973 with local motocross legend – the late Ritchie Kings. Couzens was the King of the Cross promoter when the event was at its biggest during the 1970-80s, and was the Clerk of Course.

Photo:  Three-times King of the Cross winner Graeme Smythe in the 1970s (By Peter Kitchingman)

Southern Cross Motor Cycle Park era, since 1980s

Since the late 1980s, the SCMCC has hosted the King of the Cross at its purpose-built facility in South Yilgarn – the Southern Cross Motorcycle Park – which is located off the main highway about half a kilometer before Southern Cross coming from Perth.

In the 1990s, the big names to contest the King of the cross included Australian Champions Kim Ashkenazi from New South Wales and WA riders who all moved interstate to further their racing careers, including Dale Britton, Jason Marshall, the late Paul Broomfield and Lee Hogan, who permanently moved to Victoria.

Hogan won the 2002 event, WA rider Dean Porter won in 2009 – going on to race in America in the 2011 AMA Motocross Championships – and another Australian with international experience Jay Marmont from New South Wales won the King of the Cross multiple times, winning his last in 2011.

The SXMCC last staged the King of the Cross in 2017, with the club in recent times placing more emphasis on enduros, as most of its members are farmers and experienced trail bike riders.

Running a National motocross event is a big job and expensive (just ask club co-founder and King of the Cross promoter Bob Couzens), so running enduros, Pony Express events and trials events better suit the club’s members and are more profitable. The move has paid off and club membership is thriving and continues to grow, reaching over 200 members.

The SXMCC’s 2-Day enduro has become a major annual event in its own right and now attracts up to 150 riders, generating excellent revenue for its members. This new-look focus on enduros sets the SCMCC up nicely for the future and ongoing success!

King Of The Cross 1985 - Sermon On The Mound Bob Couzens with Jimmy Ellis
SXMCC 2-day Enduro - By Janis Unkovich

Photos: [Top]  Reverend Bob delivering his sermon to the riders before the 1985 King Of The Cross at Southern Cross, with American legend Jimmy Ellis in the bottom left-hand-corner (By Peter Kitchingman); [Centre] New South Wales and four-times National Motocross Champion Jay Marmont won the King of the Cross three times between 2003 and 2011; and [Right] In recent times the SXMCC has established its successful annual 2-day Enduro (By Janis Unkovich)

Photos from 2023 50th Celebration event

SXMCC 50th anniversary event 01 - Bob Couzens and Con Migro

KoC promoter Bob Couzens and commentator Con Migro.

SXMCC 50th anniversary event 03 - Graeme Smythe awarded life membership

Motocross legend Graeme Smythe awarded SXMCC life membership.

SXMCC 50th anniversary event 09 - Bob Couzens and his family

KoC promoter Bob Couzens with his family at the celebration.

SXMCC 50th anniversary event 02 - Room shot

More than 120 people attended the celebration in Southern Cross.

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