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Motocross Legend Melton

Motocross Legend Melton

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Australian Motocross Legend Peter Melton

Peter Melton Kawasaki Poster
1990 Yamaha Dealer Team members - Peter Melton and Craig Dack
Peter Melton with Trophy

Photos:  [Left] Queensland rider Peter Melton won three Australian Motocross Championships aboard a Kawasaki; [Centre] In 1989 and 1990 Peter raced for the Marlboro Yamaha Team, alongside 4-times Mr. Motocross Craig Dack in 1990; and [right] Reggie as he was known to his mates, was equally good at both supercross and motocross.

Melton – A true Aussie legend in both motocross and supercross

The late Peter Melton, from Acacia Ridge in Queensland, was one of Australia’s all-time great motocross and supercross racers in the 1980s-90s.

Peter – who was known as “Reggie” to his mates – on home soil won two Australian Supercross Championships, the Supercross Masters Series, three Australian Motocross Championships and more than 10 State Queensland titles.

While riding for the Marlboro Yamaha Team, in 1989 Peter became the first rider to win all State Queensland Championships in one year, a feat he repeated the following year.

Peter’s first major national victories came in supercross between 1992 and 1996 after he switched to Kawasaki – winning two Australian Supercross titles and a pair of international Pan-Pacific Supercross titles in 1992 and 1993.

Later in 1996, when he was riding for Team Green Kawasaki Australia, Peter broke through in the 250cc class to win his first Australian Motocross Championship – creating history to become the first rider to win the Australian Motocross, Supercross and Supercross Masters titles in the same year.

In 1999 when, in his early 30s, Peter got together with long-time Kawasaki dealer Brett Whale and had a crack at the Australian 500cc Motocross Championship aboard a fire-breathing KX500. 

Incredibly, he won the Aussie title in both 1999 and 2000, in what would turn out to be the last Australian 500cc MX Championship ever staged.

Ironically, these two wins escalated Kawasaki to equal top in the 500cc Manufacturer’s Championship, alongside his former Yamaha team on 20 wins.

Photo: [Right] Peter Melton’s 2000 Australian Championship 500cc Kawasaki bike – the last ever 500cc winner – on display at the AMX store in Springwood, Queensland.

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Peter Melton's Australian Championship bike at the AMX store at Springwood in Queensland

Where it all began for 'Reggie'

1997 Peter Melton - Yamaha

Peter was sponsored by Gaythorne Yamaha between 1984 and 1988 (By Peter Kitchingman)

Peter was born on 4 December 1966 in Brisbane, Queensland and grew up in Acacia Ridge. His father John loved motorcycles and passed on his passion to Peter and his elder brothers Dave and Jeff, continuing to ride until his three sons were in their 20’s.  

Jeff would let Peter ride on his bikes and, around 1977/78 when he planned to trade in his old bike for a new one, their parents bought it for Peter.  Over the next couple of years, Peter kept getting ‘hand-me-down’ bikes until Jeff gave up racing motocross in 1979.

Peter’s talent on two wheels and love of riding was evident, so his parents continued to support his racing in junior motocross through to seniors in 1983 – until he became a sponsored rider in 1984.

Jeff recalls Peter regularly blowing up the gearbox in his Suzuki RM125 because he was using it for practice and racing and the poor bike was copping a flogging. “After fixing the RM125 many times for him, I suggested to dad to buy him a Suzuki RM500 to practice on, which he did for two years,” Jeff said. “In his first year in senior ranks, Peter won the Queensland C Grade Series on his Suzuki.”

From here on Peter became a sponsored rider, being picked up by Gaythorne Yamaha, who he rode for through to 1988. 

State Motocross Championship success

Peter won his first State Queensland Motocross Championship in 1985 – winning both the 125cc and 500cc titles aboard his Gaythorne Yamahas.

In his first attempt, he also finished tenth overall in the prestigious National Mr. Motocross (Mr. MX) Series – the year Jeff Leisk blitzed the opposition to win back-to back Mr. MX titles. Two years later, he finished sixth in the series, going to win both the 125/500 State Queensland titles that year, as well as in 1988.

That year Peter achieved the biggest win of his career – winning the prestigious Melbourne Tennis Centre Supercross against the Nation’s best riders and in front of a packed audience.

In 1989 & 1990 he rode for the prestigious Marlboro Yamaha Team, creating history in 1989 when he became the first rider to win all State Queensland Championships in one year, a feat he repeated the following year.

These victories came at a time when motocross in Queensland was very competitive with Peter up against some of the Nation’s top riders – including David Armstrong, James Deakin, Steven Dinsdale and Phil Sargent.

While riding for the Marlboro Yamaha Team, Peter also won the Coffs Harbour Supercross and was third in the Australian Supercross Masters Series in 1989 and cracked the top 5 in Mr. MX – behind Craig Dack.

In 1991 Peter switched to Kawasaki bikes under different sponsors – Bayside Kawasaki, Whale Kawasaki Racing, Team Green Kawasaki – a move which proved successful internationally.

1990 Peter Melton - Marlborough Yamaha Team - At Manjimup 15,000

Peter Melton – Racing for the Marlboro Yamaha Team at the 1990 Manjimup 15,000 in WA (By Peter Kitchingman)

National and International Achievements

After winning the 1991 Sydney Entertainment Centre Supercross, in 1992 aboard a Kawasaki Peter won his first Australian Supercross and Pan Pacific Championships, being Australia’s official representative overseas.

He won back-to-back Pan Pacific Championships in 1993 and that year competed at the San Diego round of the AMA Supercross, where he finished 18th in a race won by American Supercross Legend Jeremy McGrath.

In 1994, Peter won his second Australian Supercross Championship and the following year he took out the premier Australian Supercross Masters Series.
1996 was Peter’s best year when he rode for Team Green Kawasaki Australia – winning his first Australian Motocross Championship, as well as the Australian Supercross and Supercross Masters titles – the first rider to achieve this in the same year.

In 1997, had a crack in the new Thumper National Series and at the Dargle round in New South Wales and aboard his Kawasaki KLX650R ‘trail bike’he was competitive against World numbers one and two, Joel Smets on a Husaberg and Daryl King on a Husqvarna.

Peter was still going fast when Australian International Motocross legend and fellow Queenslander Chad Reed turned pro and is one of the few riders who could boast beating Reed – the best Australian ever – while Reedy was a junior on his way up through the ranks in 1998.

The following year while in his early 30s, Peter had another crack at the Australian 500cc Motocross titles aboard a KX500 – winning both the 1999 and 2000 titles, which turned out to be the last Australian 500cc MX Championship.

Manjimup startline - Glen Bell, Peter Melton and more

Peter Melton (third from right) on the startline with some other Aussie legends in 1990, including Glen Bell (closest)

Peter Melton 1991 Osaka Supercross 125cc Kawasaki

Peter, with his 125cc Kawasaki, showing his true character at the 1991 Osaka Supercross in Japan

In 1999, Peter won his second  500cc  Aussie title

Melton's late career

Peter was passionate about motocross and raced competitively for over two decades

After Peter’s professional career ended, he started a suspension business called PMR Suspension, and he boasted that he used his own suspension work to win all of his titles – even when he had factory support.

He also took a keen interest in coaching youngsters in the sport and continued racing in the veterans class.

In 2009 Peter finished third in the inaugural Vets Cup at the final round of the Australian Motocross Championship in Coolan, Queensland. 

Champion New Zealand rider Darryll King (Yamaha) took out this event ahead of Glenn Bell (Honda) and Peter (Kawasaki) with this support class for over 40s featuring these three former Australian Champions battling it out for another shot at motocross glory.

Peter Melton was still an active rider when he was out riding at the Willowbank Motocross Park west of Brisbane, when he tragically lost his life on 1 November 2017. Peter sadly passed away from the injuries he sustained in a racing accident that day.

Peter had an abundance of natural talent, dedication and a technique that was marvelled at by an entire generation with his racing career spanning over 20 years. His laidback, knockabout nature and sense of humor made him popular with his peers, family and friends and, to this day, is sadly missed by all.

Video Gallery

Justin Grover Media – Tribute to Peter ‘Reggie’ Melton

Transmoto – Melton compares his Australian CS winning 2000 KX500 vs the 2011KX450F

Egg449 – 2000 Supercross Masters Brisbane – Andrew McFarlane, Michael Byrne and Melton

Melton's key career highlights

Peter Melton - Two-time Pan Pacific Motocross Champion (2)

Over two decades, Peter won six Australian MX and SX titles and seventeen State Queensland titles.

GAYTHORNE YAMAHA

1985
Queensland 125cc Champion
Queensland 500cc Champion
10th Mr. Motocross (first year)

1986
2nd Queensland 125cc Championship
2nd Queensland 250cc Championship

1987
Queensland 125cc Champion
Queensland 250cc Champion
6th Mr. Motocross

1988
Queensland 125cc Champion
Queensland 500cc Champion
2nd Queensland 250cc Championship
3rd Australian 125cc Championship
1st Melbourne Tennis Centre Supercross

MARLBORO YAMAHA TEAM

1989
Queensland 125cc Champion
Queensland 250cc Champion
Queensland 500cc Champion
1st Coffs Harbour Supercross
3rd in Mountain Man Motocross – Toowoomba QLD
3rd Supercross Masters Series

1990
Queensland 125cc Champion
Queensland 250cc Champion
Queensland 500cc Champion
5th Mr. Motocross

TEAM KAWASAKI

1991
2nd Queensland 125cc Championship
Queensland 250cc Champion
1st Sydney Entertainment Centre Supercross

1992
Australian Supercross Champion
Pan Pacific SX Champion
1st Round 4 Queensland State SX round in Darwin

1993
Pan Pacific SX Champion

1994
Australian Supercross Champion

1996
Australian 250cc Motocross Champion
Australian Supercross Champion
Winner Australian Supercross Masters Series
2nd Queensland 250cc Championship
3rd Tivoli Raceway, Ipswich, Queensland

1999
Australian 500cc Motocross Champion

2000
Australian 500cc Motocross Champion

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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