Motocross Legend Reed

Motocross Legend Reed

Australian Motocross Legend Chad Reed

Champion and 450cc AMA Champion - By Olivier de Vaulx

Photos: Chad Reed –  2008 AMA / FIM World Supercross Champion, three-times AMA SX Champion and R-up World 250ccc MX Champion (By Olivier de Vaulx)

Australia's most successful motocross rider

In January 2020, at the start of the USA Supercross season, multiple Australian and two-time World Supercross champion Chad Reed announced that it would be his final full-time season.  AMX History website pays tribute to Reed who is, without doubt, Australia’s most successful motocross racer.

On the International scene, Reed won three AMA Supercross Championships, becoming the inaugural World Supercross Champion in 2008 when, for the first time,  the 450cc AMA SX Series was given World Championship status by the Federation International Motorcycles (FIM).

Earlier, in 2001. Reed was the runner-up World 250ccc Motocross Champion, becoming the first Australian to win a World 250cc GP race.  He is also the first Australian to win an AMA Championship, winning the 450cc class in 2009. 

Reed moved to the USA in 2002 winning all but two supercross races that season to win the 125cc East Coast Supercross championship. In the following years Reed won both the US Open Motocross Championship (2003) and AMA 450cc Supercross Championship (2004).

Reed has proven to be the most consistent supercross/motocross racer in the 2000-2009 decade.  He is currently the record holder for most main event starts in AMA Supercross history with 265 starts (as at 2020), competing at the highest level for over 20 years.

In recognition for his outstanding achievements and contribution to the sport, on 13 June 2011 Reed was named a Member of the Order of Australia.

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Where it all began for Reed

Chad Reed was born on 15 March 1982. He grew up in West Wallsend, Newcastle, New South Wales with his family later moving to a farm in Kurri Kurri.

Just like many of his rivals, Chad started riding mini bikes at a very young age, at 3. From an early age, he wanted to be the world’s best dirt bike rider and his family gave him full support.  His father Mark was strict and tough on him when it came to his training. No girlfriends… No smoking… No drinking… And definitely no drugs!

Chad left school at the age of 15 to train full time and began his professional career in Australia in 1998.  He emerged from the Australian junior ranks to compete in the then-premier 250cc class, bypassing the traditional stepping stone of 125cc racing.

Reed was immediately competitive in both motocross and supercross, winning the Australian 250cc Supercross Championship in 1999, at age 17 – winning back-to-back titles in 2000.  In the outdoor motocross, Chad finished third in the National 250cc Championship behind the late Andrew McFarlane (QLD, Kawasaki) and Michael Byrne (VIC, Honda).

That same year these three riders were competitive against the World’s best at the World 500cc Motocross Grand Prix, which was held for the first time in Australia – at Broadford in Victoria.

It was this moment that introduced them all to the world stage, with Chad earning a contract to race in Europe for the 2001 World 250cc Championship, bypassing the traditional step to the 125cc class.

Monster Energy Supercross

Motocross Action Magazine

The move to International racing

After Broadford, Chad Reed established himself as a potential motocross champion at the 18th Annual Paris (Bercy) Supercross in France.

The Paris Supercross is one of the World’s most famous Supercross meetings and – for the first time since Jeff Leisk won a night some 15 years earlier – he twice stood on the podium in Paris.  He scored two podiums on the final Sunday night, finishing sixth overall in the King of Bercy three-day event for 250cc riders, which was held on 27-28-29 October 2000.

His performance that night, along with Brett Metcalf and Michael Byrne – showcased Australia’s emerging talent at the time, with both Reed and Metcalfe being touted by the media as candidates for being the next “Jeff Leisk”.

Chad moved to Europe for the 2001 season and became the Runner-up World 250ccc Motocross Champion in his first attempt. Riding for Jan DeGroot’s factory Kawasaki team, Reed was a revelation that year aboard his KX250, winning the Grand Prix of Lierop in The Netherlands.

That year he won the 125/250 class race at the Motocross des Nations in Belgium – the International teams event for motocross.

Chad then signed a deal with Team Yamaha of Troy racing supercross in the States for 2002 and, together with his high school sweetheart, Ellie, they made the move from Europe to the US to fulfill his childhood dream.

Reed was immediately a revelation and took the country by storm winning all but two supercross races that season to win the 125cc East Coast Supercross championship.  That year, he also led Australia to victory in the World Cup of Motocross, with Michael Byrne and his cousin Craig Anderson.  Reed finished 1-2-1 to be the highest individual points scorer at the event.

In 2003 Reed won the US Open Motocross Championship, winning the AMA Supercross Championship the following year.

Reed revisited his home in Australia to race the Raymond Terrace, round 4, of the Australian Motocross series. He beat Daniel Reardon with a 1-1 performance, providing Reardon with international notoriety for holding Reed off for a significant portion of the races.

Chad Reed leads the 2011 MX des Nations in France

Chad Reed leads the first race in the MX1/MX2 class at the 2011 Motocross des Nations in France.

At the end of 2007, Reed was second in the first race in the MX1/MX2 class at the Motocross des Nations in the USA.

After winning the World Supercross Championship in 2008, Reed joined forces with IronMan series organiser, Mike Porra to reveal the Super-X series in Australia, which he would also compete in.  Super-X was big and bold, bright and brassy, offering rounds at leading football stadiums around the country and even in New Zealand, with giant USA-style tracks, live television coverage and innovative race formats that moved well away from the heatsemi-LCQ-final format of traditional supercross events.

Chad dominating all but one race to take out the Australasian Supercross Championship – winning 6 out of the 7 rounds.  With Reed now well and truly established as a global Supercross superstar, Super-X looked set to really fire, but the following year Super-X was gone with Reed eventually removing himself from the series.

2009 was a big year for Reed. That year he became the Monster Energy Triple Crown Motocross Champion, AMA National Pro Motocross Champion, Australian Supercross Champion and was named AMA Athlete of the Year.

In 2011 Reed won the first race in the MX1/MX2 class at the Motocross des Nations in France.  Seventh place in the second and final moto saw Reed finish fourth overall for the event, but crucially, contribute strong points alongside the efforts of teammates Brett Metcalfe and Matt Moss to secure third for the team  – Australia’s first ever podium finish.

Reed continued to race in the US and regularly finished on the podium in supercross events through to 2015.  That year he briefly returned home to Australia for the inaugural Australian Open of Supercross (AUS-X Open) in Sydney on 28 November.

This event at the Olympic Park Stadium was the highest profile supercross in the history of the country’s national competition.  Attracting almost 10,000 domestic and international overnight visitors and the first night being a sell-out, the event was extended to two nights.

Much to the crowd’s delight, Reed stormed to victory on his Yamaha on Night 1 in the 20-lap main event.

Chad continued to race supercross in the USA through to 2020, making cameo appearances down under.  He last major victory was in 2018 when he won the FIM Oceania Supercross Championship.

Sydney International Supercross and Round 5 Australian Championships in Sydney Night 1 winners (L-R) 3rd - Dan Reardon ; 1st - Chad Reed and 2nd - Gavin Faith: Action Plus Sports/Alamy Live News

Photo: Sydney International Supercross and Round 5 Australian Championships  – Night 1  place-getters (L-R) Dan Reardon (3rd);  Chad Reed (1st) and Gavin Faith (US, third).  By Action Plus Sports/Alamy Live News

Reed's top performances in Motocross of Nations

Chad Reed winner – 2001 Motocross of Nations (Belgium) – Race 2 (125/250)
Rudicross (in French)

Chad Reed second place –  2007   Motocross of Nations (USA) – Race 1 (MX1/MX2)
mxgptv – starts at 30 minute mark

Chad Reed second place –  2009   Motocross of Nations (Italy) – Race 1 (MX1/MX2)
mxgptv – starts at 20 minute mark

Chad Reed  first place –  2011   Motocross of Nations (France) – Race 1 (MX1/MX2)
Starts  immediately

Reed's Photo Gallery (By Olivia de Vaulx)

2008 AMA and FIM World Supercross Champion Chad Reed Yamaha - By Olivier de Vaulx
Chad Reed US AMA Championship on a Honda

Reed's key career highlights

2007 Chad Reed became the first Australian to win the Bercy (Paris) Supercross - Headshot - By Olivier de Vaulx

1997   Australian Junior Motocross Champion
1999   Australian Supercross Champion
2000   Australian Supercross Champion
2000   Sixth overall, Paris Supercross (King of Bercy)
2001   Runner-up World 250ccc Motocross Champion
2001   Motocross of Nations (Belgium) – Race 2 (125/250), 1st
2002   AMA 125cc East Coast Supercross Champion
2002   Led Australia to win in World Cup of Motocross
2003   U.S Open Champion
2003 FIM World Supercross GP Champion
2004 US Open Champion
AMA 250cc Supercross Champion
2005   X-Games Supermoto – Bronze Medal
2007   King of Bercy, Paris Supercross
2007   Motocross of Nations (USA) – Race 1 (MX1/MX2), 2nd

2008   AMA/FIM 450cc World Supercross Champion
2008   Australasian Supercross Champion
2009   Monster Energy Triple Crown Motocross Champion
2009   AMA National 450cc Pro Motocross Champion
2009   Motocross of Nations (Italy) – Race 1 (MX1/MX2), 2nd
2009   AMA Athlete of the Year
2009   Australasian Supercross Champion
2011   Motocross of Nations (France) – Race 1 (MX1/MX2) 1st
2011 Named a Member of the Order of Australia
2016   AUS-X Open Champion
2018   The Ironman of Supercross (Most AMA Supercross Starts Record)
2018   Supercross Open Champion
2018   FIM Oceania Supercross Champion

More incredible stories on Australian Chad Reed

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