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Australian Championships Format

Australian Championships Format

From Scrambling to Motocross

history of australian motocross - chapter 3: australian championship format
From Scrambling to Motocross - 1946 Harley Scramble – Les Clinton (56) and Rube Muralls (56)
From Scrambling to Motocross - Startline

With motocross evolving from trials, mass starts have been used at the Australian Motocross Championships after a TT style was used in the 1950s

Australian Motocross Championship Format

As motocross evolved from trials, in the beginning riders were individually timed and waved off one at a time. This method progressed to riders leaving in pairs, then eventually mass starts were introduced with the first rider crossing the finish line deemed the winner.

Initially riders had to start behind a line and were released when the marshall waved a flag. Aiming to make starts fairer, various starting methods were used over time.

Large rubber bands and lifting ropes were some of the methods used in the seventies, then metal gates became the norm in the eighties. These gates gradually became more sophisticated going from drop forward to drop back, to individual gates.

The gates were also fitted with electronic parts to remotely control the start without riders being able to watch the starter’s movement, and countdown timers and display boards were introduced.

The first two Australian Motocross Championships at Korweinguboora (Vic 1953) and Sheidow Park (SA, 1954) were mass starts.  But in 1955, when Western Australia held the Championships at the Rope Works in Mosman Park, a TT style was used with rider leaving in pairs and being individually timed.

That year the Australian Championships were combined with the famous Harley Scramble, which had used this start method from the very first Harley Scramble in 1924 when road racer Aub Melrose brought scrambling from England to Western Australia.

From 1956 onwards, mass starts were held – although more sophisticated starting gate systems were gradually introduced.

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From scrambling to motocross

In the early days the word ‘scrambling’ was not used.  But when the sport spread across Europe this name was not universally accepted, but ‘motorcycle’ and ‘crosscountry’ were. So, the new word ‘motocross’ was derived.

Australia adopted the name ‘motocross’ in the late 1960s when the Australian New Zealand International Series was held.

Machines and classes
For more than a decade, British four-stroke bikes were used with B.S.A. dominating the 125, 250, 350 and 500cc classes at the Australian Championships.   At the end of each Championship, there was also an “All-powers” (later renamed to Unlimited) class, which was open to bikes of any size.

In 1969 the 350cc class was dropped, but held one more time in 1974 when the Championships were held at Manjimup, WA. With the 500cc bikes dominating the Unlimited class, the Unlimited class was dropped in 1981, after the 1980 Championships at Dargle in NSW.  Hometown hero Stephen Gall (Yamaha) was the last rider to win this title.

Then, at the turn of the century, the Championship classes were completely revamped when the lightweight 4-stroke machines started dominating the sport.

‘MX’ classes replaced the previous ‘cc’ classes and were aligned with the new World Grand Prix formula. The MX1 class is open to riders at any age and permits the entry of 250cc two-strokes to 450cc four-strokes. The MX2 class is for machinery from 125cc two-strokes  to 250cc four-strokes and has an age restriction.

And in 2006, the first Australian Motocross Championships for women were introduced.

The move from one-day events to a series
In the beginning Australian Motocross Championships were held on one day, then later two days over one weekend.

But in 1992, the year Australia hosted the World Motocross of Nations at Manjimup in Western Australia, multiple rounds were introduced, although the year before separate rounds were held in 1991. 

That year the 500cc class was held at Kalgoorlie, the 125s and 250s a week later at Noble Falls, with the sidecars later being held at Ballarat in Victoria.

This new series format across multiple circuits and States was adopted from the high profile Mr MX series, which was held between 1976 and 1990 and became more prestigious than the Australian Championships.

1971 International Motocross Herne Hill - Race winner Jimmy Aird, Scotland

Australia changed the sport’s name from ‘scrambling’ to ‘motocross’ when the Australian NZ International tours started in the late 1960s

1956 - Peter Nicol, WA on his way to victory on a BSA in the 350cc class at the Australian Scramble Championships at Moorebank, Sydney on 27 May 1956

Peter Nicol (20), winner of the 1956 Australian 350cc Championship at Moorebank, NSW.  The last 350cc title  was held at Manjmup, WA in 1974

Team Pepsi - Anthony Gunter and Stephen Gall

Stephen Gall  and Anthony Gunter in  1980.  That year Gall was the last person to win the Australian Championship in the Unlimited class

Jeff Leisk twice won the prestigious Mr Motocross title, in 1984 and 1985

In 1991 the Australian Championships became a series, adopting a similar format to the prestigious Mr MX series in the 1970s to 1980s

AMXH All time greats No 6 - Kim Ashkenazi

Kim Ashkenazi (30) won all three classes in 1992 – the year the new Australian Motocross Championship series was introduced

2017 Australian women's championships - 1 Maddy Brown, 2 Jessic Moore and 3 Tori Dare

2017 Australian women’s championships – 1 Maddy Brown, 2 Jessica Moore and 3 Tori Dare.  The women’s class was introduced in 2006

From Scrambles to Motocross

Click ON IMAGES below to view other chapters

Chapter 1
The British invention
down under

Chapter 2
Australian Motocross Championships

Chapter 3
Australian Championship format

Chapter 4
The Great Australian Motocross Jumper War

Chapter 5
Australian motocross on the world stage

Chapter 6
Australian International Pioneers

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Australian Motocross History