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Motocross Legend Moates

Motocross Legend Moates

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Motocross Legend Moates

Marty Moates -second at the 1983 King of the Cross
1983 Mr Motocross - Marty Moates
US motocross legends Marty Moates and Jimmy Ellis with a young Dale Britton

Photos:  [Left] US motocross legend Marty Moates (Suzuki) finished second  to Vaughan Style at the 1983 King of the Cross (Southern Cross, WA) by Peter Kitchingman;  [Centre] he was third in Mr. Motocross that year, and [Right] pictured with US legend Jimmy Ellis and a young Dale Britton.

Motocross legend Moates down under

US motocross legend, the late Marty Moates from San Diego in California, raced down under between 1981 and 1985. 

Moates and three other Americans – Legend Brock Glover, Gary Semics and Warren Reid – competed in the 1981 Ratshirts Yamaha International at Amaroo Park in New South Wales, then the Melbourne International Supercross the following night.

For the first time, an American contested Mr. MX in 1983 with Moates racing a Motorsport Suzuki and AMA Supercross legend Jim Ellis competing the series on a KTM 495 supplied by Bert Flood.

Moates had his best season in Australia that year and was a serious challenger for the coveted Mr. Motocross series, finishing third behind the winner Ray Vandenberg (Suzuki, VIC) and Stephen Gall (Yamaha, NSW). 

Moates won the second round at Mallala in South Australia on a countback, after tying with Gall.  And with double points up for grabs in the final round at Broadford in Victoria, he still had a realistic chance to take out the series – in third place behind series leader Gall and Vandenberg.

In heat 2 at Broadford, Moates sensationally crashed into a television cameraman breaking his own collarbone and the cameraman’s leg. But amazingly, he rejoined the race and still finished third.  Despite the injury, Moates continued to ride all day and even won the final fourth leg after winning the holeshot, with Vandenberg content to cruise home in third with enough points to clinch the prestigious title.

In 1983 Moates was the runner-up 500cc Australian Motocross Champion at Acusa Park (SA), he won the Newcastle Supercross (NSW) and was second in the King of the Cross (WA) behind Vaughan Style.

That year in the west, he also competed in the Western Classic, Manjimup 15000 and Fremantle Supercross, where another US legend Danny LaPorte (1982 250cc World Champion) and Swede Hakan Carlvist (1983 and reigning World 500cc Champion) were competing.

Moates was a tough and tenacious rider, as he showed at Broadford and earlier in 1980 when he received world recognition after winning the 500cc USA Grand Prix at Carlsbad, in California as a privateer.

Moates, who co-founded the No Fear Carlsbad-based sportswear firm, would return to the US after the 1985 season, but Ellis made Australia home after winning two Australian Championships that year at Noble Falls in Western Australia.

Sadly, on 7 December 2006, at age 49, Marty Moates died of gunshot wounds in an apparent suicide near his family home in La Costa. Friends said Moates was living in great pain from old motorcycle-related injuries, sustained over 12 years of racing across more than 20 different countries.

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Landmark moment for American motocross racing history

Before his famous victory at Carlsbad on 22 June 1980, no American had ever defeated the more experienced European riders in 10 years of the U.S. round in the 500cc World Motocross Championship series.

This was a landmark moment in American motocross racing history!  To this day, his (1-1) win is described as the single biggest upset in motocross history.

Not only did Moates performance open the floodgates for US riders to compete in the World Motocross Championships, but no other European rider ever won again at Carlsbad before the circuit closed in 1986.

Highlights – 1980  Moates wins US Motocross Grand Prix at Carlsbad

Photo and video gallery

Race day photos by Peter Kitchingman

1983 Marty Moates at Fremantle Supercross - By Peter Kitchingman
Marty Moates at Southern Cross - Pits
1985 Leisk and Moates at Western Classic Rockingham - By Mathew Rodier
1983 Marty Moates racing top

Marty at the 1983 Fremantle Supercross (WA), the 1983 King of the Cross (WA), and 1985 Western Classic at Rockingham (WA), and his 1983 racing top.

1983 Marty Moates leads Graeme Smythe in the Western Classic at Noble Falls
Marty Moates at Broadford VIC
1983 Fremantle Supercross - Stars on their bikes - with Marty Moates and Robert Bailey

Marty Moates (Suzuki) in 1983 – leading Graeme Smythe (WA, Honda) in the Western Classic at Noble Falls (WA);  in action during the Mr. Motocross series at Broadford (VIC); and at the Fremantle Supercross (WA) with Robert “Beatle” Bailey (10, NSW), World Champion Danny La Porte (D, US) and Perry Leask (P, UK).

1982 International Supercross at Olympic Stadium (QLD)

1983 Mr. Motocross highlights, with Moates finishing third

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