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Motocross Legend Daley

Motocross Legend Daley

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Australian Motocross Legend Daley

Matt Daley (15) with Graham Bartholomew (421) at Mount Kembla NSW, JAP engine
Matt Daley leads Welshman John Lewis during the 1967 International meeting

Photos: [Top] Matt Daley (15) with Graham Bartholomew (421) at Mount Kembla (NSW) who lured Daley from Queensland to New South Wales with the offer  to ride his Cotton motocross bike for the coming 1966 season (By courtesy David Alsop);  In 1967 Daley represented Australia in the International series, winning the final round on his home circuit at Mount Kembla in Woolongong, New South Wales.

Matt Daley - The young Queensland motocross sensation in the sixties

Three-times Australian Motocross Champion, originally from Queensland, created history on 8 October 1967 becoming the first rider to win a National title on a Husqvarna two-stroke machine at Woolongong, in New South Wales.

Daley, aged 22, was the standout rider on his new home track aboard the new Swedish lightweight purpose-built motocross machine – which was supplied by Jeff Martin – beating pre-race favourite Geoff Taylor on his proven Bultaco machinery.

Daley’s breakthrough victories aboard Husqvarna’s were a contributing factor in the demise of the once-dominant British four-stroke machines down under, which up until that point in time, had won the most manufacturer’s titles in the Australian Championships since it began in 1953.

With his outstanding achievements, Daley was selected to represent Australia in the coming International Motocross Series, tying with Swedish rider Gunnar Lindstrom for the overall third round win at Mount Kembla on 26 November 1967.

A year earlier, Daley won seven State titles – 250, 250, 500 and Unlimited in Queensland, and the 250 and 350 in New South Wales, where he moved to Wollongong when he was offered a ride on the 250 Cotton, formerly raced by Graham Bartholomew.

Daley later worked for Jeff Martin at Competition Motorcycles – who supplied him with the latest Cotton that year.  Martin was also the president of the Woolongong Motor Cycle Club and was instrumental in the establishment of the new Mount Kembla circuit on a mining site in the Woolongong hills, near the Mount Kembla City.

From the moment he threw a leg over the saddle, the superfit and determined Daley was dynamite, particularly at the Moorebank Circuit, near Sydney.

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Daley wins a round in the International Series

When Matt Daley acquired his new 250 Husqvarna in 1967 from Martin, he properly found his stride and only, occasionally at this circuit, would his colours be lowered by someone like Laurie Alderton or Gary Flood, but not very often.

Aboard a Husky in all classes, Daley won his second National title at Mount Kembla in 1967, his home track, in the 350cc class and finished third in the 500 and Unlimited classes, behind Ray Fisher (VIC, Montessa) and Laurie Alderton (NSW) in both events.

That year, Daley went on to win the New South Wales 250, 350 and 500cc State Championships.

With his outstanding achievements in 1967, Daley was selected, along with Victorian Ray Fisher, to represent Australia in the coming International Motocross Series, the brainchild of ex-pat Australian Tim Gibbes who settled in New Zealand after a long international career.

That year the series was held at Snake Gully, Adelaide (SA) on 12 November, Christmas Hills (VIC) on 19 November, and Mount Kembla (NSW) on 3 December.

The International riders featured Jimmy ‘JN’ Roberts – one of America’s greatest ever desert racers – Husqvarna research engineer Gunner Lindstrom (Sweden), John Lewis (UK), and Morley Sherriffs and Gibbes (NZ).

Despite the depth of talent, Matt Daley won the opening leg of the International Challenge on his Husqvarna, ahead of Sherriffs, Fisher (Montesa) and Lindstrom (Husqvarna).

Sadly, Martin died suddenly that year and did not get to see Daley’s big wins on the new Husqvarna, which he supplied for Daley.

Photo: [Top] In 1967, Matt Daley (left) with Jim Scaysbrook, became the first  rider to win an Australian Motocross Championship aboard a new Husqvarna lightweight two-stroke  machine, winning both the 250 and 350 titles that year at Mount Kembla (NSW); and [Bottom]The start of the Australian Motocross Championship 500cc race –  Matt Daley (15) and Len Main (6) – By Merv Whitelaw

Daley wins his third Australian Motocross title

Daley became a sensation and was the man to beat during that era, but following injuries received at the Queensland titles, he was unable to defend his 250 and 350 titles at the 1968 Australian Championships to be held on 20 October in Collie in the South West of Western Australia.

In 1969, Daley switched to a CZ, with a 250 and 360 at his disposal, and cleaned up in three States – winning multiple titles in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria.

But in Victoria, at the new Bacchus Marsh circuit, where hew won both the 175-300cc and 350-500cc classes, he was sensationally stripped of the latter title because his 250cc CZ was under size.

Daley headed into the 1969 Australian Championships in Devonport in Tasmania as the hot favorite and could have easily added more National titles to his tally that year.

But that year, he came up against teenage prodigy, Gary Flood, who at 17 and in his first attempt, won all solo classes at the Saint Leonards circuit on 23 November 1969 – in the 125, 250, 500cc and All Powers (Unlimited).

Daley was the Runner-up 1969 Australian 250cc and 500cc Champion on his CZ and finished third in the Unlimited class, behind Flood and South Australian Rob Voumard, who was also on a CZ.

In 1970, Daley was back on Husqvarna with a new 360 and won his third National Motocross Championship – winning the 500cc class at Tivoli Park, Ipswich (QLD).

With three Australian titles, more than 15 combined Queensland, New South Wales and Victorian State titles and literally dozens of Moorebank victories under his belt, Daley headed for Europe.

Fittingly, Daley was able to compete in the final ever event at Moorebank on 15 November 1970, before the famous circuit near Sydney was permanently closed.

Photo: [Top] Matt Daley’s restored 1967 Husqvarna – the first Husky to win an Australian Motocross Championship at Mount Kembla (NSW) (By courtesy David  Alsop); Bottom: Daley racing the final ever event at Moorebank  (NSW) in 1970 before moving to Europe and the US.

Racing in Europe and the United States

Photo: Matt Daley with his wife Jean, Gunnar Lindstrom and his wife at the 2011 Vintage Motocross Event at Mount Kembla (By Tim Gibbes)

Matt Daley spent a successful season on the same Husqvarna in Europe in 1971 before shifting to the USA, where he became the man to beat in the state of Florida, riding for the Yamaha distributor.

On return to Australia, Matt road a variety of motorbike sports through to the 1980s.  In addition to motocross, he raced short circuit speedway, road racing and a new sport called “Steeple Chase”.

Promoter Owen Bateman introduced Steeple Chase at the local Sydney Speedway, where motocross riders would negate two timber jumps on the back straight with the circuit moving onto the infield.

In 2011, Daley, Gunnar Lindstrom and Tim Gibbes were special guests at the Vintage Motocross Event at Mount Kembla and also rode at the Woolongong event – 44 years after competing together in the 1967 International Motocross Series.

Sadly, Matt Daley passed away on 8 November 2021, aged 76, after a long illness.

Photo: Matt Daley (15) ahead of Jim Scaysbrook (34) at the local Sydney Speedway Steeplechase event in 1969.

Matt Daley racing road racing

Photo: Matt Daley even had a go at road racing  after returning to Australia and racing motocross in Europe and in the United States.

Matt Daley racing short circuit against Stephen Gall around 1980

Photo: Matt Daley (75) racing flat track against another Australian legend Stephen Gall (2) in  New South Wales in the early 1980s.

Matt Daley's Key Achievements

Matt Daley

Matt  Daley receiving his award  for winning the 1969 Steeple Chase at Sydney Speedway

Australian Motocross Championships

1967
Australian 250cc Motocross Champion (Husqvarna, Mt. Kembla NSW)
Australian 350cc Motocross Champion (Husqvarna)
3rd Australian 500cc Motocross Championship (Husqvarna)
3rd Australian Unlimited Motocross Championship (Husqvarna)

1969
2nd Australian 250cc Motocross Championship (CZ, St. Leonards, Deveonport TAS)
2nd Australian 500cc Motocross Championship (CZ)
3rd Australian Unlimited Motocross Championship (CZ)

1970
Australian Unlimited Motocross Champion (CZ, Tivoli, Ipswich QLD)

 

State Motocross Championships

1966
State 250cc Queensland Champion
State 350cc Queensland Champion
State 500cc Queensland Champion
State Unlimited Queensland Champion
State 250cc New South Wales Champion (Cotton)
State 350cc New South Wales Champion (Cotton)

1967
State 250cc New South Wales Champion (Husqvarna)
State 350cc New South Wales Champion (Husqvarna)
State 500cc New South Wales Champion (Husqvarna)

1969
State 250cc Queensland Wales Champion (Husqvarna)
State 350cc Queensland Wales Champion (Husqvarna)
State 500cc Queensland Wales Champion (Husqvarna)
State 250cc New South Wales Champion (Husqvarna)
State 350cc New South Wales Champion (Husqvarna)
State 500cc New South Wales Champion (Husqvarna)
State 175-300cc Victorian Champion (Husqvarna)

 

NOTE: Matt  Daley,  pictured, may have won other State Motocross Championships and other branches of the sport in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria, but there are gaps in the history of these Championships.

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 350cc
Australian Motocross Champions List (All classes)
Australian Motocross Legends

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