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Motocross Legend McFarlane

Motocross Legend McFarlane

Australian Motocross Legend Andrew McFarlane

2005 Andrew McFarlane - Three Grand Prix victories - By Geoff Meyer
Andrew McFarlane - Motocross - Runner up World MX2 Champion
2000 Australian Motocross des Nations team - Andrew McFarlane, Michael Byrne and Chad Reed

Photos: [Left] 2005 Runner-up World MX2 Champion Andrew McFarlane proudly displaying the red plates he won in three Grand Prix events that year (By Geoff Meyer); [Top right] McFarlane in action during 2005 on his Yamaha; and [Bottom right] McFarlane with Australians Michael Byrne and Chad Reed at his first Motocross des Nations in 2000 at Saint Jean d’Angély, France.  He would go on to represent  Australia six times at the annual World Teams event.

McFarlane - one of Australia's most successful international motocross riders

The late Andrew McFarlane (known as “Sharky”) from Queensland was one of Australia’s all-time great motocross racers.

After winning two Australian Motocross Championships (1999 and 2000), two National Supercross Championships (1995 125cc and 250cc) and the prestigious Supercross Masters (2000), McFarlane forged a successful motocross career in Europe (2001-2005) and the United States (2006-2008). He was also a member of seven Australian Motocross of Nations teams.

McFarlane’s greatest achievement was becoming the Runner-up World MX 2 Motocross Champion in 2005, riding with the Rinaldi Yamaha Team.  That year he won three Grand Prix events (Belgium, Europe and Great Britain).

Having won his first Grand Prix in Italy in June 2004, McFarlane became the first Australian to win four GPs, overtaking Jeff Leisk’s achievement in 1989, where he won three GPs and was also the Runner-up World Champion (in the 500cc class).

McFarlane’s inspiring performance in 2000 in the 500cc World Motocross Grand Prix at Broadford, Victoria launched his international career.

In front of a 15,000-strong crowd, the local Australian rider won the holeshot on his Kawasaki 500 machine and kept the world’s best riders in his dust for more than 20 minutes, eventually finishing fourth overall.

It was, and always will be, a defining moment for Australian Motocross, and it typified McFarlane’s fighting spirit, national pride and can-do attitude.

Then in 2001, McFarlane did it all over again in the 500cc Championship at Broadford, this time on the Rinaldi Yamaha factory YZ-F.

It was a carbon copy of his Kawi holeshot. 

He diced with multiple World Champion Stefan Everts from Belgium for most of the moto before finishing second and claiming the podium finish he deserved the year before.

His performances at Broadford in 2000 and 2001, along with Jeff Leisk and Chad Reed, focused international attention on Australian motocross talent and, helped pave the way for more Australian motorcyclists to compete in both Europe and the United States. 

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3M Trailer – McFarlane at the 2001 – 500cc Australian Motocross Grand Prix at Broadford, Victoria.

Where it all began for McFarlane

2000 Andrew Mcfarlane, unknown rider and Peter Melton
1996 Andrew McFarlane Team Suzuki

Andrew McFarlane was born on 30 May 1977 in Brisbane.  With his father Ron a motorcycle business owner in Queensland (who sponsored another motocross legend – the late Peter Melton) it was inevitable that Andrew would develop a passion for motorbikes.  At age 6 he started racing dirt track with his older brother Cameron, later on racing junior motocross.

Andrew showed early promise and, in his first season in senior ranks, finished second in the State Queensland Championships with his dad Ron as mechanic.  Then after winning the 1992 Queensland 125cc Championship, in 1993 Andrew competed his first full year on the National circuit and was amongst the leaders from the start, although injuries initially held him back from reaching his full potential.

In 1995, at just 18 years of age, he won both the Australian 125cc & 250cc Supercross Championships, creating history to be the first rider to achieve this.  That year he was also the Runner-up 125cc Australian Motocross Champion.

Andrew McFarlane’s first outdoor Australian Motocross Championship came in 1999 in the 250cc class as a privateer on a Yamaha

The following year, in 2000, he joined the Kawasaki Racing team and successfully defended his National 250cc Championship title, finishing ahead of Michael Byrne (VIC, Honda) and Chad Reed (NSW, Yamaha).  Reed would go on to become Australia’s most successful international motocross rider.

Photos:  [Top]  A young Andrew McFarlane with the  late Peter Melton (right), who his dad  Ron sponsored; and  [Right] Reigning Australian 125 and 250cc Supercross Champion – 19-year-old Andrew McFarlane, riding for Team Suzuki in 1996.

Paolo Toscano – Tribute to Sharky

2001 World Grand Prix podium finish at Broadford, Victoria

2005 victory at the Namur Motocross Grand Prix, in Belgium

 

McFarlane's breakthrough year

Andrew McFarlane - Motocross

Andrew McFarlane leads the 250cc World Motocross Grand Prix at Broadford in Victoria

2000 was a breakthrough year for McFarlane winning the Australian Supercross Masters Championship along with his career defining performance in the 500cc Motocross Grand Prix at Broadford.

After Broadford, he was picked up by the Rinaldi Yamaha Factory Team and moved to Italy to contest the 2001 500cc World Motocross Championships in Europe.

With Broadford securing a second World Grand Prix, McFarlane returned home for the 500cc Grand Prix round, this time finishing second.

That year also featured the introduction of the triple-header-format with all 125, 250 and 500cc Grand Prix rounds being held at the same venue.

McFarlane was praised for his excellent performance in the 500cc World Motocross Championships, finishing seventh in his first full season.

In 2002, McFarlane switched to the 250cc class and over the next three years he consistently finished overall in the Top 10 – 8th 2002, 6th 2003 and 7th 2004.

International success

On 13 June 2004, Andrew McFarlane recorded his first world championship Grand Prix win at the Italian Grand Prix in Gallarate.

That year McFarlane joined the Yamaha factory racing team, run by 1984 world champion Michele Rinaldi, and in 2005 he became the runner up MX2 Motocross World Champion behind Antonio Cairoli.

During that year McFarlane won three more Grand Prix races – the Belgium (8 May), European (22 May) and British (4 June) rounds.

In 2006, he moved to the United States to compete for the Yamaha of Troy motocross team in the AMA Motocross National Championship.

He was competitive finishing seventh in his first season in the US, scoring third-place finishes at the Hangtown Motocross National and at the Red Bud MX rounds.

McFarlane rode for Suzuki in 2007 (finishing 13th) and Kawasaki in 2008 (finishing 15th) but, injuries plagued him and he returned to Australia in 2009, finishing third as a privateer Yamaha rider in the MX2 Australian Motocross Championship.

His final overall victory came at Canberra’s second round of the 2009 championship.

Andrew McFarlane - Second in the 500cc World Grand Prix Broadford 2001

Andrew McFarlane – Second in the 500cc World Grand Prix at Broadford, Victoria in 2001

Andrew McFarlane in action at the 2004 Italian Grand Prix, where he won his first overall Grand Prix

Andrew McFarlane - Motocross - 2004 Grand Prix Italy

McFarlane at the  2004 Italian Grand Prix  press conference after his first  big overall win

Andrew Mcfarlane - Most popular FB post 2021 - By Peter Coward

McFarlane competing in the 2007 US AMA  250 Motocross Championships  on a Suzuki (By Peter Coward)

A tragic end to a true champion and top bloke

Andrew McFarlane - Shares a Grand Prix victory with his wife Natalie

The late Andrew McFarlane shares a Grand Prix victory with his wife Natalie

At the start of the 2010 season McFarlane announced it would be his final year in competition before taking on a race team management role.

But sadly, just a few races before his retirement, he died of injuries sustained on 2 May 2010 in an accident during a practice lap at the third round of the 2010 Australian Motocross Championship at Broadford, in Victoria.

He landed awkwardly on the side straight step up and wasn’t able to get back up. Despite the best efforts, he wasn’t able to be revived.

He was just 32-years-old, married to his wife Natalie, and they had a daughter Tayla.

It was a real tragedy and the Broadford circuit will never be the same after this accident. It was the venue that claimed McFarlane’s life, but also launched his illustrious international racing career.

McFarlane's key motocross achievements

Andrew McFarlane - Represented Australia seven times in the World MX of Nations

Andrew McFarlane – He represented Australia seven times in the World MX of Nations

Australia

1992
Queensland 125cc Motocross Champion

1995
125cc & 250cc Australian Supercross Champion
2nd 125cc Australian Motocross Championship

1997
4th Australian Motocross Championship

1998/99
3rd Australian Supercross Championship

1999/2000
Australian Motocross Champion

1999
Manjimup 15000

2000
Manjimup 15000
Australian Supercross Masters Champion
Australian 250 4 stroke Thumper National Champion

international

2000
4th Broadford Round World 500cc Grand Prix

2001
7th 500cc World Motocross Championship

2002
8th 250cc World Motocross Championship

2003
6th 250cc World Motocross Championship

2004
7th 250 World Motocross Championship

2005
2nd MX2 World Motocross Championship (Yamaha Rinaldi Team)

2006
7th AMA Championship (Yamaha)

2007
13th AMA Championship (Suzuki)

2008
15th AMA Championship (Kawasaki)

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