Motocross Legend Marty Smith

Motocross Legend Marty Smith

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Motocross Legend Marty Smith

1980 Sydney Superbowl of Motocross - Marty Smith in action - AMCN
Painting of Marty Smith by David Lockyer
US motocross racer Marty Smith

Photos:  [Left] US motocross legend Marty Smith (Suzuki) finished second  to fellow countryman Rex Staten at the inaugural International Sydney Supercross in New South Wales (By AMCN); painting of Marty Smith  (By David Lockyer); and the California Kid in his teens.

Motocross legend Marty Smith down under

American motocross legend – the late Marty Smith – raced in Australia in 1980, competing in the inaugural International Coca-Cola Superbowl of Motocross Supercross event at the Sydney Showgrounds (Moore Park, NSW) on 19 April.

For the first time, the event exploited the “Australia vs USA” theme with Smith joined by fellow American “Rocket” Rex Staten.

Contracted to the Suzuki Factory for the 1980 season, Smith came to Australia having finished second to Staten on 8 March 1980 at the Daytona Supercross Championships, with Rex taking home the big money. 

That year the pair would also go on to represent the US team in the Trophee des Nations and Motocross des Nations in Europe.

In Sydney in 1980, they also finished 1-2, with Australian local hero Stephen Gall coming third after leading 18 of the 20-lap final.

Born on 6 November 1956, Marty Smith grew up in the San Diego area of Southern California. He learnt to ride cow trailing, then took up motocross as a teenager in the 125cc class.  Smith led the emergence of the 125 class in the mid-1970s, becoming the AMA’s first National 125cc motocross champion – going on to win back-to-back titles in 1975.

After winning the US round of the World 125cc Championship in Levington on 6 July 1975, Smith contested the 1976 World Championship, finishing fourth overall in the world standings – with round wins in Italy, Denmark and America.  The following year he switched to the larger 500c class and won the American National title in his first year in that class.

Throughout his career, Smith won a total of 18 career nationals and was one of the few to score wins in 125cc, 250cc and 500cc AMA Motocross Nationals as well as Trans AMA competition. In 2000, he was inducted into the AMA Hall Of Fame.

Sadly, twenty years later after retiring from motocross, on 27 April 2020 Marty Smith and his wife Nancy were killed in a tragic dune buggy accident during a day out with friends at the Imperial Sand Dunes in Southern California.

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Photo and video gallery

Stephen Gall and Marty Smith 1980 Sydney Supercross
1980 Sydney Superbowl of Motocross - Marty Smith leadng Gary Armstrong in 125cc race - By John Kittle

Photos: [Left]  Marty Smith with Stephen Gall at the 1980 Sydney Supercross; and Marty leading Gary Armstrong in 125cc race on his Suzuki (By John Kittle)

Remembering Marty & Nancy Smith (Pipeline Digital Media )

Todd Huffman’s tribute to Marty and Nancy Smith (Pipeline Digital Media)

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