Another Golden Aussie Era?
Posted on March 15, 2019
While the greatest Australian rider of all-time, Chad Reed continues to fight for podiums and points in the AMA supercross championship, a long list of young Aussies are fighting for their own star moment.
In the past, we have seen some great riders come out of the land down under, from the very first World classed Jeff Leisk in the 1980s. While names like Stephen Gall, Gary and Trevor Flood, Anthony Gunter and did race outside of Australia, they never took the full-time deal, obviously because nobody really took the Aussies seriously.
The arrival of Leisk into America in the mid-1980s and then his two years in the World 500cc championship showed that he was in fact more than a little handy. I still remember sitting on the hillside at the 1988 Motocross des Nations, when he led the World and put Australia firmly on the map.
Two riders from that Leisk era, Craig Dack and Glen Bell could have easily been top flight GP riders, with both appearing at the MXdN and some GPs, and showing good results, but both failed to make the jump to the next level. I believe had Dack and Bell been in this early era of Chad Reed and Andrew McFarlane, they would have been a success, they would have both been regular podium finishers, but of course, they grew up in a very different era.
Following the Leisk era names like Kim Ashkenazi, Andrew McFarlane, Michael Byrne, and Reed showed that the Aussies have a very good production line for riders.
I have to admit, while the era of watching Reed move to America after his GP success, and win two AMA supercross championships and an AMA motocross championship will be hard to beat. It is hard to imagine that an Aussie can reach those type of performances again. When you add Andrew McFarlane’s GP victories with his 2005 battle for the MX2 World championship with Antonio Cairoli as a high point, or the strong performances by Byrne and Brett Metcalfe in America. It will be hard to beat that era, but I got a good feeling about this current crop of young Aussies.
Led by current stand-in Yamaha factory rider Dean Ferris, there is a long list of Australian riders on the World scene. Jed Beaton on the factory Husqvarna, coming back soon from a back injury, and without question a star of the future. Mitchell Evans, the GP podium in Argentina a couple of weeks ago showing his class, or Hunter Lawrence and his move to America to battle the yanks. These three young Aussies can all become worldwide stars, no doubt about it.
This year’s MXGP championship could unwrap Beaton and Evans to the World, just as Reed and McFarlane did some 19 years ago. Amazing to think, nearly two decades ago those two Aussie legends put Australia on the map. Let’s hope this current crop of young men can do the same.