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Reasons to celebrate Australia Day on a bike

John and Rose England's patriotic Can-Am Spyder and trailer
John and Rose England's patriotic Can-Am Spyder and trailer

One of the best ways to celebrate Australia Day is to go for a ride and appreciate the remaining freedoms we have in this great nation.


  • Most parts of Australia have year-round riding weather, not just on one day!
  • We have a host of great riding roads.
  • Our forests, beaches, outback and deserts offer some of the greatest adventure riding in the world.Trevor Wilson in the Simpson Desert - Australia Day
  • Most country people are welcoming of riders dropping into their towns.
  • New helmet laws now allow us greater access to more and safer Euro-approved helmets.
  • Most states now have or are considering introducing lane filtering.
  • We have one of the widest varieties of motorcycle model choices in the world.
  • Motorcycles have never been cheaper in “real terms”.


  • Road safety Nazis selectively pick on us with their scaremonger campaigns.
  • Police target riders for discriminatory licence and vehicle checks.
  • Insurance companies gouge us on premiums and compulsory third party.
  • Our road rules annoyingly vary from state to state (although this is gradually changing).
  • There is an epidemic of ever-decreasing speeds on our roads.Epidemic of reduced speed limits in 2016


It could be worse.

  • Paris, for example, is preventing older motorcycles from entering the city.
  • Some Asian and Mid-East cities ban all motorcycles or impose a curfew.
  • Some countries also ban women from riding for “modesty” reasons!
  • In London, there were more than 14,000 motorcycle thefts last year.
  • In Malaysia, 26 unmarried couples have been arrested for riding together on a motorcycle.


We have a rich motorcycling history that we should celebrate on Australia Day.

With its vast distances and rugged terrain, motorcycles were popular at the start of the last century and we even had a thriving motorcycle manufacturing industry, particularly during World War I when supplies of British motorcycles dried up.

While we have not had a motorcycle manufacturing industry for some time, Australia once built many motorcycles such as Lewis, Pasco, Blue Bird, Bullock, De Luxe, Peerless, Invincible JAP, Whiting, Mostyn, Rudge, FN and Norton.

Lewis motorcycles - Australia Day
Lewis motorcycles

Robert Saward wrote A-Z of Australian-made Motorcycles which details 396 brands of motorcycles, most of which were assembled here from imported engines and frames.

In 1928, the Auto Cycle Council of Australia was formed to represent the interests of motorcycle clubs and state associations at a national level. It is now called Motorcycling Australia which represents motorcycle racing.


Australians were among the first in the world to start racing motorcycles. Many believe the first speedway meetings were held in Australia and our speedway riders travelled to the UK to pioneer the sport.

Over the years, Australia has had many motorcycle champions. MA notes our first world champion as speedway rider Lionel Van Praag in 1936.

Here is MA’s list of champion Aussie riders and teams, something definitely worth celebrating on our national day:


Lionel Van Praag - australia day
Lionel Van Praag

1936 Lionel Van Praag, Speedway

1938 Bluey Wilkinson, Speedway

1951/52 Jack Young, Speedway

1957 Keith Campbell, Road racing (350cc)

1961 Tom Phillis, Road racing (125cc)

1969 Kel Carruthers, Road racing (250cc)

1979/81 Barry Smith, Road racing (Formula TT)

1983 Steve Baker, Speedway (under 21)

1987 Wayne Gardner, Road racing (500cc)

1992 Leigh Adams, Speedway (under 21)

1994-98 Michael Doohan, Road racing (500cc)

1995/2004/06/09 Jason Crump, Speedway (under 21)

1996/2005 Troy Corser, Superbikes

1997 Shane Watts, Enduro (125cc)

1997 Peter Goddard, Endurance Road Racing

2000/01/03/04 Stefan Merriman, Enduro

2000/02 Warwick Nowland,  Endurance Road Racing

2001/06/08 Troy Bayliss, Superbikes

Troy Bayliss - Australia Day
Troy Bayliss

2001/08 Andrew Pitt, Supersport

2001 Heinz Platacis, Endurance Road Racing

2003/08 Chad Reed, Supercross

2003 Chris Vermeulen, Supersport

2004 Karl Muggeridge, Supersport

2007/11 Casey Stoner, MotoGP

2009 Jay Wilson, Junior Motocross

2009/10 Darcy Ward, Speedway (under 21)

2009 Steve Martin, Endurance Road Racing

2010 Mick Headland, Jesse Headland, Track Racing Sidecar (1000cc)

2011 Darrin Treloar, Jesse Headland, Track Racing Sidecar (1000cc)

2012 Caleb Grothes, Junior MX (65cc)

2012 Chris Holder, World FIM Speedway GP

2013/14 Matthew Phillips, Enduro (Junior/E3)

2014 Jett Lawrence, Junior MX (65cc)

2015 Matthew Gilmore, Youth Speedway World Cup (250cc)

2016 Matt Phillips, Junior Enduro GP

2016 Toby Price, Dakar Rally

Cheer on Toby Price Dakar Rally - Australia Day
Toby Price

2017 Jason Doyle, World FIM Speedway GP

2018 Toby Price, FIM World Cross Country Champion

2019 Toby Price, Dakar Rally


1974 Pairs Speedway, 2nd

1976 Team Speedway (Phil Crump, Billy Sanders, Phil Hearne, John Boulger), 1st

1990 Pairs Speedway, 2nd

1994 ISDE Junior Trophy, 2nd

1995 ISDE Junior Trophy (Ian Cunningham, Shane Watts, Shawn Reed Jamie Cunningham), 1st

1998 ISDE World Trophy, 3rd; ISDE Junior Trophy, 3rd

1999 Team Speedway (Jason Crump, Leigh Adams, Ryan Sullivan Jason Lyons, Todd Wiltshire), 1st; ISDE World Trophy, 3rd

2001 Team Speedway (Jason Crump, Leigh Adams, Ryan Sullivan, Todd Wiltshire, Craig Boyce, Jason Lyons), 1st

2002 Team Speedway (Ryan Sullivan, Todd Wiltshire, Leigh Adams, Jason Crump, Jason Lyons), 1st

Jason Crump and Troy Bayliss will race at Moto Expo - Australia Day
Jason Crump and Troy Bayliss

2003 Team Speedway, 2nd

2006 Oceania Motocross (Nathan Brochtrup, Lee  Ellis, Josh Strang, Kirk Gibbs, Chris Hollis, Cody Mackie, Ryan Marmont, Joel Passlow, Harley Quinlan, Tye Simmonds, Todd Waters), 1st

2006 ISDE Junior Team  (Christopher Hollis, Joshua Strang, Blake Hore, Darren Lloyd), 3rd

2007 Team Speedway (Ryan Sullivan, Rory Schlein, Leigh Adams, Jason Crump, Chris Holder, Dave Watt), 3rd; Oceanic Motocross (Craig Anderson, Troy Carroll, Lee Ellis, Jay Marmont, Jake Moss, Cameron Tatlor, Danny Anderson, Lewis Stewart, Kristy Gillespie, Ashlea Bates, Adelia Barton, Tye Simmonds, Ross Beaton, Luke Arbon), 1st

2008 ISDE Junior Team  (Jarrod Bewley, Geoff Braico, Blake Hore, Andrew Lloyd), 2nd

2009 Junior Motocross (Tye Simmonds, Jay Wilson), 1st; Track Racing Sidecar (Mick Headland, Paul Waters), 1st; Team Speedway (Leigh Adams, Jason Crump, Chris Holder, Davey Watt, Troy Batchelor), 2nd; Women’s Team (Jacqui Jones, Alison Parker, Jemma Wilson), 3rd

2010 Junior MX (Wilson Todd, Mitchell Evans, Joel Dinsdale, Scott Mann, Matt Phillips, Errol Willis), 3rd

2011 ISDE Womens Team (Allison Parker, Jess Gardiner, Jemma Wilson), 3rd; ISDE Mens Team – E2 Class (Toby Price, Matthew Phillips), 1st; MXoN (Chad Reed, Brett Metcalf, Matt Moss), 3rd; Speedway World Cup (Jason Crump, Darcy Ward, Chris Holder, Davey Watt, Troy Batchelor), 2nd

2012 ISDE Womens Trophy Team (Jess Gardiner, Tanya Hearn, Tayla Jones), 3rd; Speedway World Cup (Chris Holder, Davey Watt, Jason Crump, Darcy Ward, Troy Batchelor), 2nd; Speedway World Cup U21 (Darcy Ward, Sam Masters, Dakota North, Alex Davies, Nick Morris), 2nd

2013 ISDE Womens Trophy Team (Jess Gardiner, Tayla Jones, Jemma Wilson), 1st; Speedway World Cup (Darcy Ward, Cameon Woodward, Jason Doyle, Troy Batchelor) 3rd

2014 ISDE Womens Trophy Team (Jess Gardiner, Tayla Jones, Jemma Wilson), 1st; ISDE Junior Trophy Team (Daniel Sanders, Tom McCormack, Lachlan Stanford, Scott Keegan), 3rd; Speedway World Cup (Chris Holder, Darcy Ward, Jason Doyle, Troy Batchelor), 3rd

2015 FIM World Junior Motocross Championships (Hunter Lawrence, Cooper Pozniak, Rhys Budd, Bailey Malkiewicz, John Bova, Regan Duffy), 3rd; Trial des Nations International Trophy Competition (Chris Bayles, Tim Coleman, Kyle Middleton and Colin Zarczynki), 3rd; ISDE Junior Trophy Team (Daniel Sanders, Broc Grabham, Tom Mason, Tye Simmons), 1st; ISDE Women’s Trophy Team (Tayla Jones, Jess Gardiner, Jemma Wilson), 1st; ISDE Senior Trophy Team (Daniel Milner, Matthew Phillips, Lachlan Stanford, Glenn Kearney, Beau Ralston, Josh Green), 2nd (Provisional); FIM Team Speedway Under 21 2015 World Championship (Max Fricke, Brady Kurtz, Nick Morris, Jack Holder), 3rd

2016 and 2017 ISDE Women’s Trophy Team (Tayla Jones, Jess Gardiner, Jemma Wilson)

(Above information from Motorcycling Australia.)

  • (If we have missed any, please advise us and we will add it to the list.)
  1. I agree it could be worse, but here in NSW we’ll have double demerit points in force over the long weekend, so unless I get the chance to go off road I think I’ll give it a miss.

  2. Australia Day celebrations seems to be more identified with yachts and vintage cars than with motorcycles. Perhaps Aussie motorcycle clubs should get together and organize joint rides throughout this great southern land every Australia Day to resolve this grave injustice?

  3. I was looking for a publication I read once put out by Monash regarding speeding (that I haven’t found yet) to pass on to the guy from ride safe for me.
    The paper or press release or what ever needed a double talk translation to understand as it was worded deliberately to bolster support for speed cameras but once translated it said that with the exception of slowing traffic down at black spot locations (where speed was actually a factor) speed cameras are a waste of time and it can be inferred that educationally they do more harm than good.
    Any way whilst looking I found another of there papers
    That puts a cost benefit on blitzing.
    I don’t recommend anyone who wants to maintain their sanity read it I went nuts years ago so I can handle it for you.
    It contains a lot of words and calls on statistical principles and modeling methods to correct for basically having no valid information to work from.
    The gist of the publication is that they put dollar values on accidents and the accompanying financial losses they cause then cost the logistics of a blitz weighed against the revenue raised and the theoretical reduction in carnage to claim that blitzing works. The whole thing is extremely flawed as there is no applicable data for non blitz events as the blitzes have all been holiday periods and I don’t recall a holiday period that didn’t have a blitz but it also excluded the overflow into other areas . When random breath testing became a thing it forced the drunks to stay home this caused a rise in domestic violence and other crimes because the drunks weren’t driving. So when a blitz forces people to stay home or results in gridlock what costs is it causing that are not being measured in this paper and would we in fact be better off without the blitzes etc etc.

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