World Road-racing Champion Geoff Duke in Australia

World Road-racing Champion Geoff Duke in Australia

World road-racing Champion switches to motocross for Victorian titles

Geoff Duke World Road Racing Champion on startline at Springvale
Geoff Duke World Road racing in the Victorian Motocross titles at Springvale in 1955
Englishman Geoff Duke 6-times World Road Racing Champion

Photos: [Left to right] Six-times World Road-racing Champion Geoff Duke on the start line at  the Victorian Motocross Championships at Springvale (Victoria) on 27 February 1955; in action at Springvale; and touring Australia in 1955 in the branch of the sport he became famous for (By courtesy – Robin Bailey).

Thousands flock to Springvale scrambles to see World Road-racing Champ in action

On 27 February 1955,  six-times World Road Racing Champion Geoff Duke competed at the Victorian State Motocross Championships at Springvale to give it more publicity.

And it sure did, with thousands of spectators turning up for the occasion on 27 February 1955, making the local State event bigger than an Australian Championship!

Before taking up road-racing, Duke had cut his teeth on motocross (or scrambles as it was called in those days) racing in England and represented his country in the Motocross of Nations. But he had not ridden for a long time, so it was very sporting of him to agree to ride when he toured Australia to compete in a number road races.

Local Victorian rider – the late George Bailey – won the Victorian 250cc Scrambling title at that event on his “Bailey Special” narrowly beating one of Victoria’s top riders – Keith Stacker. Bailey designed and built his engine, using AJS and Matchless parts.

Part of the prize money for the 1955 Victorian Championship was a canteen of cutlery and £50.00, the exact same amount it cost Bailey to build his own 250cc engine.

Geoff Duke rode a Gold Star B.S.A. that had been prepared by Australian Motocross Legend Ken Rumble’s mechanic.

Two years before touring Australia in 1955, Duke was awarded the Order of the British Empire in 1953 in recognition of his services to motorcycling.  He died on 1 May 2015, aged 92. 

Videos - Geoff Duke OBE

Duke Video – Geoff Duke OBE | MotoGP Legend

British Pathe – World Of Sport – Duke Wins Senior T.T. (1955)

British Pathe – Motorcycle Racing – Geoff Duke Wins “Red Rose” Trophy (1954)

This story is an extract from the George Bailey Motocross Story on video – View here.

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