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Motocross Legend Armstrong

Motocross Legend Armstrong

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Australian Motocross Legend David Armstrong

David Armstrong AMX Championships Noble Falls WA
1986 Motocross of Nations - Australian team Italy - David Armstrong, Glen Bell, Craig Dack
1986 Honda Poster - Dack and Armstrong 1-2 in Mr Motocross

Photos:  [Left] Queensland champion David Armstrong  was the Runner-up Australian Motocross Champion at Noble Falls (WA) in 1985 (by Peter Kitchingman);  [centre] with Craig Dack (5) and Glen Bell (6) at the 1986 MXdN’s in Italy; and [right] Honda Australia Teammates  Dack and Armstrong 1-2 in the 1986 Mister Motocross series, with Armstrong also winning the 125cc Cup.

Ground breaker Armstrong – Australia’s first dual international

David Armstrong was one of Australia’s Top motocross riders in the 1980s and early 1990s.

Armstrong was a ground breaker, being a member of the first team to represent this country in the Motocross des Nations World Teams event – part of Australia’s historic first attempt in Sweden, 1984.

Then in 1992, towards the end of his motocross racing career when he contested the ISDE, he became Australia’s first ‘dual international’ – the first rider to represent this country in both the ISDE and MXdN teams.

Between 1981 and 1986, he won six Queensland Motocross Championships, plus the 250cc Victorian State title.  

He was twice runner-up in the prestigious National Mister Motocross series, behind Craig Dack (1986 and 1987) and finished on the podium a third time in 1988, behind Dack and Glen Bell.

Four times he was the runner-up Australian Motocross Champion – 500cc class at Acusa Park (SA 1983) and Noble Falls (WA, 1985), 125cc class in Newcastle (NSW, 1986) aboard Hondas and 250cc class at Acusa Park (SA, 1990) on a Yamaha, coming very close to winning that elusive National title on many occasions.

Following a motocross career that spanned two decades, David Armstrong moved onto Enduros and twice won the National titles in this branch of the sport in 1989 and 1991.

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Where it all began for David

Born on 19 December 1962, Armstrong first got into bikes in Victoria as an eight-year-old on a KV75 Kawasaki, one of the early type minibikes with the small wheels and fold-down handlebar. That was followed by an SL70 Honda.

Following in his father John’s footsteps, one of Australia’s top scramblers in the 1960s, David got into racing motocross with his dad passing on advice and preparing his bikes.

John was the runner-up 1960 Australian 350cc Champion at Arthurs Creek in Victoria, split between two legends Ken Rumble (VIC) and Charlie West (WA), all on British BSA machines.

Photo: A young David Armstrong (far right) on the winner’s podium at the 1974 Victorian Open titles with the late Steve Skilton (left) and Matt Muirhead.

State and National Motocross title success

After the family moved to Queensland, in 1983 at age 21, David joined his father as a Runner-up Australian Motocross Champion, finishing second on a Honda in the 500cc class at Acusa Park in South Australia, behind Trevor Williams (VIC, Kawasaki).

That year he won his third 500cc Queensland State Motocross Championship in a row, also winning the 250cc class.

Armstrong would go onto win a fourth 500cc QLD State title in 1986, with sparring partners James Deacon and the late Peter Melton winning this title in 1984 and 1985, respectively.

It was around this time that he would shed his “party boy” image and knuckle down with his training and dedication to the sport – going on to feature prominently in both the prestigious National Mr. MX Series and Australian Motocross Championships.

In 1986 Armstrong joined Craig Dack in the Honda Australia Racing Team, although it only lasted one season with the motocross sponsorship budget being cut in 1987, forcing him to switch to Underwood Kawasaki.

During Craig Dack’s reign as Mr. MX between 1986 to 1990 (not held in 1989), Armstrong was second in 1986 (Honda), 1987 and third in 1988 (Kawasaki), behind Glen Bell in second.  He also competed in the 125cc Gold Cup events, winning this series three years in a row (1986 to 1988), which meant he rode double the races than all the other competitors, which paid off for him.

Armstrong was second in the 1985 Australian 500 Championships on a Honda at Noble Falls (WA), again behind 500cc master Trevor Williams. He would also go on to place in the 125cc and 250cc classes, finishing second at Newcastle (NSW) on a 125cc Honda in 1986 and at Acusa Park (SA) on a 250cc Yamahathree years later in 1989, riding for the Marlboro Yamaha Team with Peter Melton

In 1986, Armstrong and Dack were teammates, with Dack being a big help for Armstrong with training and recovery while the Queenslander was recovering from a shoulder injury.

 

1984 Mr Motocross Round 1 Broadford - 12 David Armstrong chasing 10 Stuart Bennett

David Armstrong chasing  Stuart Bennett in the opening round of the 1984 Mr. Motocross series at Broadford  in Victoria.

1986 Team Honda Teammates  Craig Dack and David Armstrong 1-2 in the Mr Motocross title, pictured here in the final at Oran Park, (NSW) with Jim Ellis in third

David Armstrong's International experience

David Armstrong never completed a whole season abroad, but gained some international experience competing in the New Zealand Motocross Championships, supercross events in Malaysia and the Motocross des Nations World Teams event, where he represented Australia three times – in Sweden (1984), Italy (1986) and the United States (1987).

With the Australian Auto Cycle Council’s (ACCA’s) endorsement, Australia’s first official team was announced for the 1984 Trophee des Nations – for 250cc machines – to compete in Varberg Sweden on 15-16 September.  Armstrong was part of the inaugural Australian Team, which also included Stephen Gall (NSW, Yamaha), Vaughan Style (NSW, Honda) and Trevor Williams (VIC, Kawasaki).

Australia didn’t qualify in its first attempt, but it was a great experience and the Aussies have fielded teams ever since with Armstrong being selected for a second time in Maggiora, Italy in 1986.

That year the Australians finished an incredible seventh overall, led by debutante Crag Dack who finished second on a Honda in the 250cc class to US legend Rick Johnson in his second moto and fourth overall in his class. Bell finished fifth overall in the 125cc class (7-6) and Armstrong was eighth overall in the prestigious 500cc class (11-8).

Armstrong’s continued strong performances in 1987, where he was runner-up to Craig Dack in the Mr. MX series and winner of the 125cc Cup, earned him selection in the 1987 Australian team for Unadilla in the United States.  This event was a disaster for the Australians.  After their breakthrough performance in Italy, the Aussies could only manage 16th with Glen Bell (250cc) scoring no points (DNF/DNF) and Dack (500cc) only scoring points in his first ride – finishing 9th.

Armstrong (Kawasaki) was our only bright light that year, finishing 12th in 125cc class (11-13), which was won by US Legend Bob Hannah (Suzuki).

[Left] 1986 David Armstrong (4, Honda 500cc) with Craig Dack (5, 250cc Honda) and Glen Bell (6, 125cc Yamaha) finished sixth overall at the MX des Nations in Maggoria, Italy, with their mechanics; and [right]  sheltering from the heat in Italy with Australian officials Stephen Gall (left) and Len Williamson (far right)/

Life after motocross

David Armstrong’s motocross career went for two decades (1970 to 1990) before moving onto enduros, VMX, mountain-biking and adventure riding.  

His second place in the 1989 Australian Championships at Acusa Park (SA) would be his last at National level, a year when he broke through to win an Australian Enduro Championship.

David Armstrong with his wife and children

David Armstrong with his wife Linda and two daughters

He went on to win a second National Enduro title in 1991 and rode the 1992 ISDE when the Six-Day was first staged in Australia (at Cessnock, NSW).

Back in 1987, he also competed in and won the Finke Desert Race, which is one of his proudest achievements along with representing Australia in the Motocross des Nations.

Unlike many other champion motocross racers who, on retirement, forge careers in the motorcycling industry, David went on to be a self-employed plumber, after his mum made him do an apprenticeship when he was 16, which turned out to be good advice!

In 2018 David Armstrong was awarded the Motorcycling Queensland Lifetime Achievement Award.

Photo and video gallery

Queensland Motocross Champion David Armstong raced Hondas between 1981 and 1986
David Armstrong Supercross - Brisbane Stadium in 1987 or 1988
1988 Australian Motocross Championships 250 start in Mackay (QLD) – Leisk (3), Deakin (6), Armstrong (7) and Dack (1)

[Left] QLD Motocross Champion David Armstrong raced Hondas between 1981 and 1986; [centre]  Racing  supercross at Brisbane Stadium; and [right]  winning the holeshot in the 250cc class  at the 1988 Australian Motocross titles in Mackay (QLD) – on the outside of  Jeff Leisk (3), James Deakin (6), and Craig Dack (1).

1985 Australian Motocross Championship Highlights, Noble Falls

1986 Motocross des Nations, Maggoria, Italy – MXGPTV

1988 Mr MX Highlights – Dan Mizzi

Armstrong's key career highlights

1988 Team Marlboro Yamaha Peter Melton and David Armstrong

David Armstrong (right) teamed up with the late Peter Melton in the Marlboro Yamaha Team in 1988

1981 (Honda)
Queensland 500cc Champion

1982 (Honda)
Queensland 500cc Champion

1983 (Honda)
Queensland 250cc Champion
Queensland 500cc Champion
2nd Australian 500 Championships, Acusa Park (SA)
1st Superbowl of Motocross, Cairns (QLD)

1985 (Honda)
2nd Australian 500 Championships, Noble Falls (WA)

1986 (Team Honda Australia)
Queensland 250cc Champion
Queensland 500cc Champion
Victorian 250cc Champion
2nd Australian 125 Championships
Runner- up Mr Motocross
125 Gold Cup Winner

1987 (Kawasaki)
Runner- up Mr Motocross
125 Gold Cup Winner
Represented Austtrala  in MX Des Nations (USA)
1st Outright Finke Desert Race

1988 (Marlborough Yamaha Team)
3rd Mr Motocross 1988
125 Gold Cup Winner

1989 (Honda)
2nd Australian 250 Championships
Australian Enduro Champion

1991
Australian Enduro Champion

International 
Represented Australia in MX Des Nations 
250cc class – 1984 Varberg, 
Sweden (Honda)
500cc class – 1986 Maggoria, Italy (Honda)
125cc class – 1987 Unadilla, USA (Kawasaki)

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
ADB – Lap with a legend

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