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Motocross Legend Alderton

Motocross Legend Alderton

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Australian Motocross Legend Laurie Alderton

1967 Australian Motocross Championships - Ray Fisher leads Laurie Alderton in the 500cc class
Laurie Alderton at Moorebank NSW on a 360 Montesa (with insert)

Photos:  [Left]  NSW rider Laurie Alderton (590) finished second to  Australian Motocross Legend Ray Fisher in both the 500cc and Unlimited classes at the 1967 Australian Motocross Championships at Mount Kembla in New South Wales; and [Right]  Alderton on his famous Montesa at the Willoughby Motor Cycle Club’s Moorebank Circuit,  his home track.

International pioneer Alderton contests Trans AMA MX series

New South Wales motocross rider Laurie Alderton, who grew up in Schofields (in Sydney’s outer north-west) was a pioneer of motocross in the 1960s and 1970s.

After representing his country in the 1966/67 Australian New Zealand International Motocross Series and racing against the internationals on home soil through to 1972 when two reigning world champions competed down under for the first time, in 1973 he became the first Australian to contest an entire AMA motocross series in the United States, racing in the Trans AMA series.

In 1967, riding a BSA Victor, Alderton was twice the Runner-up Australian Champion at Mount Kembla, New South Wales, finishing behind legend Victorian Ray Fisher in both the 500cc and Unlimited classes, earning him selection in the official Australian team for the inaugural 1967/68 ANZ International Motocross Series, organised by another Australian pioneer – Tim Gibbes.

In the 1960s, Gibbes was the first Australian to win the International Six Day Enduro (ISDE) trial then added motocross and road racing to his repertoire to help fund his travels across the United Kingdom, Europe, the Iron Curtain and later the United States.

After eight years as a professional racer, Gibbes and his wife Joan made Manawatu in New Zealand home and he brought international racing down under – establishing the Gold Leaf International Motocross tour of New Zealand.

For the inaugural event in 1964, he brought over three international riders from England and Europe – George Hauger (Germany), Authur Harris (England), and Max Morf (Switzerland). 

 

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Laurie's first taste of international motocross

1966 Australian NZ International Tour in New Zealand - on the road in the eastern states
1972 International Motocross - 6 Bengt Aberg (Sweden Husqvarna) leads Laurie Alderton (NSW)

Due to its success, the Gold Leaf International Motocross series in New Zealand became an annual event and in December 1966 Tim Gibbes extended the tour to include Australia with the inaugural official Australian 1966/67 team members being Ray Fisher (VIC), Matt Daley (NSW) and Alderton.

The Aussies were up against international riders – Swede Gunnar Lindstrom (Husqvarna), JN Roberts (USA, Husqvarna) and John Lewis (UK, BSA). Gibbes raced as a privateer for New Zealand, with the official New Zealand team including Ivan Miller, Morley Shirriffs and Gordon Holland.

The inaugural ANZ International Motocross series kicked off on 12 November 1967 in Snake Gully (SA), Christmas Hills (VIC), followed by Woolongong (NSW) before crossing the Tasman for seven more events at different venues across New Zealand.

In 1971, Alderton got to compete again up against top international racers when the touring ANZ internationals arrived early on our shores and contested the Australian Championships at Clarendon in August. 

The 250cc class was the only one not won by the internationals with Alderton finishing third on his Montesa behind South Australians David Basham (C.Z.) and Michael Groom (Husqvarna). Then in 1972, for the first time ever, two reigning World Motocross Champions raced in Australia for the first time – factory Suzuki riders Joel Robert and Roger de Coster from Belgium.

South Australian businessman Linden Prowse promoted the three-round series, which was held at Basham Park (SA) on 9 December 1972, Calder Raceway (Vic) the following day, then Oran Park (NSW) a week later on 17 December.

Photos:  [Top] Laurie Alderton touring with the international riders contesting the inaugural 1967/68 ANZ International motocross series; and [Right] chasing Swedish Husqvarna rider Bengt Aberg in the opening round of the  1972 International Motocross series at Basham Park in Adelaide.

Creating history in the 1973 Trans AMA series

Spurred on by the international riders, in 1973 Alderton and fellow NSW rider Jim Scaysbrook went to the United States with Alderton becoming the first Australian to contest the entire AMA motocross series, racing in the Trans AMA series.

The Trans AMA series was combined with the National 500cc series, with points combining to determine the National 500cc Champion. Dutchmen Pierre Karsmarkers, who was riding with a US license, was leading the 500cc series and went on to win this class.

West German Adolf Weil, who joined the Trans AMA international series, which kicked off on 23 September 1973 in Springville (New York) after finishing second in the World 250cc Championship aboard a Maico. He was crowned the Trans AMA Champion at the final round in Orange, California on 2 December 1973.

For three months, Alderton got to race with and rub shoulders with the top American and World motocross riders, riding a stock CZ, with Scaysbrook riding a stock Maico up against the factory teams.

The Maico riders included the tall Dutchman Gerrit Wolsink, Germans Adolf Weil and Willy Bauer, who raced in Australia at the 1972 International Motocross series.

The Works Suzuki riders included Belgiums Sylvain Geboers, Roger DeCoster and Americans Rich Thorwaldson and Mike Runyard. Pierre Karsmakers rode a “Cantilever” Yamaha, Americans Jimmy Weinert and Brad Lackey were on Kawasakis, Swede Bengt Aberg rode a factory Husqvarna and American Jim Pomeroy a works Bultaco.

Alderton would return to Australia in 1974, establishing his frame-straightening business in Sydney’s west, which was passed onto his son, David.

Back home he made the switch from motocross to enduros, representing Australia in the ISDE, later returning to the sport through the VMX competition.

Laurie Alderton , contesting the 1973 Trans AMA motocross series in the United States
Adolf Weil German motocross champion, winner of the 1973 Trans AMA Series in the United States

Photos: [Top]  In 1973, Laurie Alderton in the Trans AMA series at Mid-Ohio in the United States; and [Bottom] the 1973 Runner-up World 250cc Motocross Champion Adolf Weil from West Germany who won the  international Trans  AMA series that year.

Photo gallery

1967 Mount Kembla NSW Australian Championships – Start of the 500, includes Geoff Taylor (14), Leon Street (27), Laurie Alderton (590), Graham Smith (88) – By Merv Whitelaw
1967 – Snake Gully (SA) 1967-68 International Motocross series down under – JN Roberts (3), Laurie Alderton (590) and Gunnar Lindstrom (1) – By Peter Warrell

Photos: [Left]  Laurie Alderton (590, 2nd from right) at the start of the Australian 500cc Championship at Mount Kembla, NSW – up against Geoff Taylor (14), Leon Street (27), Graham Smith (88) and more (By Merv Whitelaw); and [Right]  Alderton (590) was a member of the first official Australian team in the 1967-68 ANZ International MX series – pictured here at Snake Gully (SA) against internationals JN Roberts (3, USA) and Gunnar Lindstrom (1, Sweden)  (By Peter Warrell)

Alderton's key motocross achievements

Laurie Alderton – The first Australian to contest the full Trans AMA series in the United States, pictured here on his 360cc Montesa at Moorebank in NSW.

Laurie Alderton at Moorebank NSW on a 360 Montesa

1967
2nd Australian Unlimited Motocross Championship, Mt Kembla (NSW)
2nd Australian 500cc Motocross Championship
2nd Victorian 500cc Motocross Championship
Represented Australia in the Australian New Zealand International Motocross Series

1971
3rd Australian Unlimited 500cc Motocross Championship, Clarendon (SA)

Australian Championship results and photos

Click on the links below to view Australian Motocross Championship results back to 1953, event photos or rider profiles.
Australian Motocross Champions 500cc
Australian Motocross Champions List (All classes)
Australian Motocross Legends

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