Motorcycling Western Australia (MWA) – Hall of Fame 2013 – Inductees

MWA Hall of Fame 2013 – Inductees

It is worth noting that three out of the five successful inductees are members of the Vintage Motorcycle Club.

The Board of Motorcycling Western Australia is proud to announce the introduction of the MWA Hall of Fame (HOF) in 2013.

Induction into the HOF will be an annual event and is viewed as the pinnacle of achievement within the Motorcycling WA sporting community. The HOF will be an exclusive body whose members have impeccable credentials and a history of contributing to the sport in WA with a high degree of sportsmanship and integrity.

Nominees for the HOF may be nominated for their contribution to competition, officiating, event promotion, coaching or administration and governance. They will be judged on a number of criteria including their contribution to the sport in Western Australia, their ability and performance at a high level.

Suggestions for HOF nominees can be made by contacting the MWA Office or through a MWA Council Delegate.
Formal nominations for the HOF may be made by any MWA Board Member, Council Delegate or MWA employee.

The MWA Board has established a HOF sub – committee that will decide on a short list of nominees who will be presented to the MWA Board for consideration and approval.
Hall of Fame Members will receive a framed certificate with a silver medal and will be recognised within the MWA Administration building. Our sport has a long and distinguished history with many champions on, and off the track and the MWA Hall of Fame will honour many heroes and characters over the coming years

Jeff Leisk

MWA is pleased to announce the induction of Jeff Leisk into the Motorcycling WA Hall of Fame in 2013.

Described by a rival as “a young man with an abundance of talent with an equal amount of determination”, Jeff started racing motorcycles at age 7 at the Forrestfield Speedway with his Brother, Mark. It was the natural thing to do as his Father, Bob, was an accomplished competitor for over 17 years at the track and the infield was perfect for minibikes. Jeff won his first Australian junior championship at nine years and a world championship aged 13.

The senior ranks beckoned and at 17, Jeff won the 500cc Australian Championship riding for a Yamaha Dealer Team. At the end of that season, Jeff had won around $45,000 in prize money which “was pretty good for a 17 year old back then”. The following season with Honda was disappointing and a stint in the US training for the Golden State series late in the year prepared Jeff for an Australian season in 1984, a season which he dominated. He won his first Mr Motocross crown, which at that time was the premier motocross competition, and a national championship title in the 250cc class. Another Mr Motocross title in 1985 followed when Jeff won all but one race in the series. Unfortunately ‘85 was not all good news, whilst competing overseas, Jeff crashed out in a timed practice for the MX Des Nations and ended up in a German Hospital for a week with fractured vertebrae.

Competition in the US was always one of Jeff’s dreams. In 1986 he got his chance when he signed up and rode for the Honda America Team. Standing in his way were the likes of Roger De Coster (Jeff’s pick as the best rider of his era), Jeff Ward, Broc Glover and Johnny O’Mara. His first season started in the legendary L.A. Coliseum in front of 70,000 spectators and ended abruptly at the next round when another rider landed on top of Jeff after a jump, breaking his jaw. The next year, while still in the US, saw a switch to Yamaha as a Factory Rider, but it was back to Honda in 1988 finishing in the US Top 10 at both indoor supercross and outdoor motocross venues.

Jeff was fast when he arrived in the US, he was even faster when he left.

He now had the determination and desire to win a world championship in Europe. While injury took its toll early in the season, in the San Marino GP Jeff was leading the first race only to run out of fuel! While Jeff cooled down in the Pits, the mechanics expanded the alloy fuel tank and changed some gear ratios and he went out and won the second race. Then followed his first full GP win in Finland and finally Jeff finished second in his debut world championship year. The following year saw new injuries, bad medical advice and more GP wins, but after 18 seasons of racing, Jeff decided to come home to Australia.

After a couple of years playing on four wheels, Jeff returned to two wheels and won the 1995 Australian Thumpernat series on a KTM.
Jeff then ran a race Team for the brand over the next four years, before taking up the role of KTM Australia General Manager in 2000.

KTM has 8% of the market in Australia and Jeff sees “simply selling enough bikes each month” as his major challenge along with developing effective marketing and sales strategies. He believes that surrounding himself with quality people is a major contributor to his success.

Jeff is married to Liana and has four children – two boys and two girls. The teenage boys are currently involved in motocross and Jeff still gets out on trail rides occasionally.
Jeff Leisk is acknowledged as a great pioneer of the sport in Australia and is one of five Inductees to the Motorcycling WA Hall of Fame in 2013.
The Hall of Fame recognises Jeff’s contribution to motorcycle competition and to the sport in Western Australia, together with his ability and performance at the highest level over an extended period of time.

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Jeff Leisk

Trevor Laurance

MWA is pleased to announce the induction of Trevor Laurance into the Motorcycling WA Hall of Fame in 2013.

Trevor was born in 1937 in Nedlands and his love of motorcycling began as a 9 year old when he started attending the Harley Scrambles at the Ropeworks circuit and the Speedway at Claremont. His dedication to the Speedway led to a collection of over 1,060 issues of event programs – surely a collection not matched anywhere in WA. He was appointed the Speedway Scrutineer in the early 1960’s and this progressed to the role of Commentator (known as the Public Address Co-Ordinator) for the next 31 years.

Trevor joined the AJS MCC in 1955 and competed in scrambles, short circuit and grass track events over the following 8 years.

A serious accident in Albany at a short circuit event severely hampered Trevor’s ability to walk for nearly 4 years and ended his racing career.

In the late 50’s the AJS MCC elected Trevor as their Council Delegate to WAMCA (now MWA). Trevor held this appointment for nearly 40 years.
During this time, Trevor committed to other roles within MWA included time spent on the Motocross sporting panel and Stewards panel.
He was also appointed the Steward for a series of World and Australian Land Speed Records at Lake Lefroy in the early 1970’s.

In 1974, he was elected as a State Delegate to the ACU (now MA) and that role continued for 21 years.
It was a role that Trevor considered to have been a great privilege and honour.

Representing WA, Trevor was involved in landmark decisions at a national level. These included the AS1698 compliance for helmets, the controversial name change to Motorcycling Australia, MA’s affiliation to the FIM and the imposition of noise control measures. Although volunteering for MA was serious business, sometimes the opposite was demonstrated when Trevor attended a Brisbane conference where MA needed to decide what the correct definition of “a wheel” was!

In April 1992, Trevor retired from his 32 year employment with Woolworths as Sales, Promotions and Advertising Manager.

He was “coerced” by MWA into the position of Operations Manager for the upcoming Motocross Des Nations – by far the most successful international event ever held in WA. Trevor continued in the following year with a round of the 125cc World Motocross Championships. Trevor described those 18 months as “high pressure, but a very enjoyable involvement”. In 1993, he received the Castrol Award for outstanding services to motorcycling and Life Memberships have been bestowed on Trevor from the AJS MCC, Motorcycling WA and Motorcycling Australia. His last active involvement with MWA was as part of the committee which organised the inaugural Night of Champions in 2001.

Today he is still actively involved with the Vintage MCC of WA (Albany Section) where he and his wife Sandra, enjoy riding a 1979 650cc Honda 4 sidecar outfit. The machinery has been described as “very smart”.

At age 76, Trevor describes life and motorcycling as “still fun!”

Trevor Laurence is one of five Inductees to the Motorcycling WA Hall of Fame in 2013.

The Hall of Fame recognises Trevor’s contribution to motorcycle competition and to the sport in Western Australia, together with his volunteer roles within Motorcycling WA and Motorcycling Australia over an extended period of time.

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Trevor Laurence

John Rock

Motorcycling WA is pleased to announce the induction of John Rock into the Hall of Fame in 2013. John Rock said that you make your own luck.
Following the infamous 1955 Australian Scramble Championships at the Ropeworks Course (where Mosman Park is today), John said that he knew the course was pretty rough and that was proved true by half of the field not finishing.

With a smile he said that he took it easy and rode around the bumps and holes and somehow ended up in front.
“Nothing broke, nothing fell off”.

There were a lot of good riders that day who were not so lucky and John won his first Australian Championship in the 250cc Scramble class.
Born in Subiaco during 1931, John grew up in the western suburbs as a street wise kid and head of the household after his Father died. As soon as he could, John left school and took up an electrical apprenticeship and his introduction to motorcycles came through the National Safety Council where he learnt to ride.
One Saturday, an Instructor failed to attend a riding lesson and John was seconded to fill in and he quickly progressed to a permanent Instructor and finally to the Captain of Instructors.
This was a little contradictory as on Saturday John taught motorcycle skills and rode carefully and responsibly at the Council. But come Sunday he would compete wherever an event took place. Hill Climbs, Road Racing, Scrambles & Observed Trials – John loved them all and he was good.

As a member and Secretary of the AJS MCC, John could always be found wearing a grin and was most often found at the front of the field on whatever bike he could beg, borrow or buy including BSA Slopers, 3T and T100 Triumphs, 350 ZB Gold Star, AJS 350, Ariel VB, 197 Dot and the Francis-Barnett 197. Winning races wasn’t enough for John and in 1955 he set off for the UK “to see why their riders were so good”. Because he was well respected in the Perth motorcycle scene, he received many letters of recommendation and the James Factory immediately offered him a ride in the Scottish Six Day Trial.

John rode three Scottish events and was awarded two first class awards.In 1956, John won a trip to the Isle of Man with accommodation included. Heaven for a motorcyclist!
The Island was a fabulous experience that saw him finish a very credible 14th on his first outing and included an introduction to his future Bride – Maureen. The next year, following the British boycott of the Czechoslovakian I.S.D.E., John formed the first Australian Enduro Team to compete in the event and finished with a bronze medal riding a CZ.
Returning to Australia in 1958, John brought with him a BSA Gold Star – in pieces, included in his luggage.

In 1965, he entered the first Australian Observed Trials Championships in Victoria and won the championship on a Francis-Barnett 197cc machine. The same machine that he won the 1955 scramble championship with!

John is still revered within Trials and the John Rock Memorial Medal is awarded each year at the national championships to the best placed Australian rider.
John was awarded life membership of AJS MCC in the early 1970’s after retiring from active competition.
He then joined the Vintage MCC where he gained notoriety as a font of knowledge and enthusiasm for all things Triumph. Following 30 years as an active member, he was awarded life membership of that Club.

John Rock was a strong, proud and generous man. In his final days he said that he’d had a bloody good run and asked his Son Michael, to shout all his mates a beer. John died in July 2012.
John Rock (1931 to 2012) is one of five Inductees to the Motorcycling WA Hall of Fame in 2013.

The Hall of Fame recognises John’s contribution to motorcycle competition and to the sport in Western Australia, together with his ability and performance at a high level over an extended period of time.

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john rock

Peter Nicol

MWA is pleased to announce the induction of Peter Nicol into the Motorcycling WA Hall of Fame in 2013.

Peter was born in 1931 in South Fremantle and it is no surprise that marine pursuits mingled with motorcycles during his life.

Peter’s Father Alf was a keen supporter and mechanic to the famous solo rider, Jack Sharpe at Claremont Speedway and this led to Peter, then aged 15 years old, becoming Jack’s “pitboy”.
Pitboys would clean the motorcycle after each race and once deemed competent, they would be allowed to refuel the machine between races.

Peter wanted to take up motorcycling racing to follow his dream of emulating his racing heroes, however his Mother refused to sign his licence application for speedway and he was forced towards scrambles and road racing. He joined Coastal MCC at 16 years and was elevated to Club Captain at 20 – a rare honour for one so young. His association with the club continued over many years and it was no surprise when he was elected a life member.

Peter’s first bike was a 1928 AJS bought for £6/10- in 1947.

At age 17, Peter was able to start scrambles and road race competition by simply removing the lights and other unnecessary equipment from his machine, finding a helmet and off he went! Peter showed true class and it was not long before sponsors approached him to ride under their banner. Peter was one of a not too many sponsored riders and had the opportunity to earn up to £200 for a race win, while the promoters only paid £10 to £20 for an open win.

His motorcycle sponsors included Carlyle & Co, Mortlock’s and race team support by Harry Gibson (the then Australian land speed record holder), while his oil sponsors included Vacuum Oil Co, Castrol and BP.

Peter won his first Western Australian title in the 1951 Scramble Championships. At that event he took home the 350cc and 500cc championship classes. Another 12 titles followed over the next seven years as well as five Harley Scramble titles. Other scramble titles included Australian Championships in 1955 and 1956 together with a New South Wales Championship in 1957. Proving Peter’s versatility and talent, West Australian titles were also won in Grass Track and Road Racing during the 50’s. Peter also finished 2nd in the 1953 350cc Australian GP in Tasmania and subsequently was selected to race for the Australian Team at the Isle of Man TT and in Europe in 1955.

In all, Peter amassed 14 State titles, another one in NSW and 3 National Titles.

Peter was also a busy man in business, opening up two motorcycle shops in Perth, marrying Berice Johnson and raising the first of two children. He opened a shop in Wellington Street selling and servicing BSA, Matchless and Velocette. Peter had decided some time ago, that scooters would be popular, but were an entirely different market to the traditional black and chrome machines. So he opened another shop at the corner of Hay Street in central Perth to sell Vespa scooters predominately to female clients.

With all this happening in his life (including test riding for the successful attempt at the Australian Land Speed Record by Harry Gibson), Peter made the conscious decision to retire from competition due to increasing business interests and potential liabilities.

In the late 60’s, Peter had returned to sailing yachts in Australia and in Europe.

He had sold his motorcycle businesses earlier in the 1960’s and bought a dry cleaning and laundry business. He ran this for 10 years prior to operating a marine brokerage business at Pier 21 in Fremantle. He was deeply involved with Alan Bond and the first America’s Cup challenge and also skippered Bond’s yacht “Apollo 1” in the 1969 Sydney to Hobart race.
Peter retired from the paid workforce aged 75 years.

Peter is still a member of the Vintage MCC, is still fit and healthy playing golf twice a week and restores beautiful old machines in his retirement. Occasionally he still ventures on another motorcycle ride – his last competition was at the Albany Hill Climb in 2010.
Peter Nicol is one of five Inductees to the Motorcycling WA Hall of Fame in 2013. The Hall of Fame recognises Peter’s contribution to motorcycle competition and to the sport in Western Australia, together with his ability and performance at the highest level over an extended period of time.

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Peter Nicol

Edwin “Chum” Taylor

MWA is pleased to announce the induction of Chum Taylor into the Motorcycling WA Hall of Fame in 2013.
Edwin “Chum” Taylor has had his nickname since he was a day old when his Grandmother, Nana McPhee, exclaimed “oh, my little chum!” on first seeing him. He was born in 1927 and lived his early life on Mounts Bay Road, directly opposite the Swan Brewery where his Father worked. With the outbreak of World War 2, Chum moved to Boyup Brook to complete his schooling and developed a love of horse riding. That love led to an amateur career as a jockey that included a ride in the last steeplechase race ever held in WA.
While an apprentice Cooper (barrel maker) at the Swan Brewery, Chum bought his first motorcycle – a BSA side valve – to use as transport and dabbled with Road Racing and Scrambles. It was at the Speedway that competitors earnt the big money of the day and Chum wanted to be part of it, but his Mum said there was no way he was riding speedway until he turned 21!
So in the month he turned 21, Chum raced for the first time at Claremont Speedway on a Rudge machine for £1 a race and £1 a point (3 points for first, 2 points for second, 1 point for third and nothing for last). His early success saw an offer to ride in the UK with Scottish team, The Ashfield Giants. After a six week sea voyage on the ship Moreton Bay, his UK career started and almost finished in his first race where he crashed and was subsequently transferred to the Cardiff Dragons for two seasons. He rode for five other teams in the next 13 years and finished his UK career with the Cradley Heath Heathens. Payment in the UK was significantly higher than at Claremont with £5 a race and £5 a point and Chum found it relatively easy to fund a comfortable lifestyle.
During this time, Chum represented Australia in nine World Championship Finals (one as Team Captain), was WA Solo Champion on five occasions and was crowned Australian Solo Champion in 1966 competing at Rowley Park Speedway in South Australia. He married Dulcie in 1952 and their Son, Glyn followed in his father’s footsteps as an international speedway solo rider and is now a Team Manager in the UK.
He retired from competition following a nasty crash in Crewe UK in 1973, aged 46, where he broke his shoulder.
Following his speedway career, Chum was self-employed within earthmoving and transport until he retired from work at the age of 67. Now with his partner, Merl Armstrong, Chum is actively involved in politics with an avid interest in seniors and pensioners rights and still fiddles with two and four stroke motors – this time attached to lawn mowers!
Chum has brought competitors to tears because “he would take them in fast” and has had Prime Ministers lost for words.
He was a true competitor of great skill and guile. He has lost none of those traits today as we welcome him to the Hall of Fame.

Chum Taylor is one of five Inductees to the Motorcycling WA Hall of Fame in 2013.
The Hall of Fame recognises Chum’s contribution to motorcycle competition and to the sport in Western Australia, together with his ability and performance at the highest level over an extended period of time.

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Chum Taylor