NORTHERN suburbs resident Robert (Bob) O’Leary said he was honoured to be inducted into the Motorcycling WA Hall of Fame last month.
O’Leary’s first motorcycle was a 1953 500cc International Norton, which he bought when he was 16, before he had his driver’s licence.
He became interested in racing in 1958 and joined the Lightweight Motorcycle Club, helped by his dad Jack and brother Terry, who shared his love of motorsport.
He won Australian championships in the 250cc and 500cc scrambles classes in Queensland in 1963 and in the unlimited class in Forrestfield in 1969.
O’Leary competed in most motorcycle disciplines including motocross, speedway, long track, short circuit, road racing and endurance.
Over his racing career, he won state titles in scrambles, short circuit and grass track and also a Claremont Sidecar Championship.
Later, he turned to historic road racing and was still racing into his late 60s on a borrowed 1957 500cc Manx Norton at Wanneroo and Collie.
He still enjoys an occasional ride at vintage events and continues to be involved in the sport as a sponsor and watching and helping his children and grandchildren competing in motocross.
“To be inducted into the Motorcycling WA Hall of Fame, alongside some of WA’s greatest riders and sportspeople that I tried to copy, and on many occasions beat, is the greatest honour,” he said.
“If a bike failed, I had the art of falling off and pushing it back to the pits and nobody was aware of a mechanical problem.”
MINEAR TAKES ANOTHER ACCOLADE
Eglinton youngster Kayden Minear was also recognised at the Motorcycling WA’s Night of Champions.
He received the Patron’s Award for a junior competitor.
The accolade follows his third place finish in the 65cc at this year’s World Junior Motocross Championship in Estonia and his runner-up position in the 65cc nine to under-11 division at the Australian Junior Motocross Championship held in Victoria from September 30 to October 7.
He was also part of the winning Australian team, along with fellow local Regan Duffy, at the FIM Oceania Challenge, which was hosted at the AJMX.
Australia wrapped up the week with 540 points, defeating New Zealand’s 246.
Duffy also had success at the AJMX, winning the 125cc division for 13 to under-15s.
Also taking the Night of Champions stage was AJS Moto Trials Club’s Peter Hamer who was named Coach of the Year.
Hamer is one of only two coaches at the Neerabup club and has an active role in encouraging and supporting new junior riders as well as working with new senior riders to help improve their riding skills.
He has also been instrumental in introducing a non-competitive event series for the junior trials riders to practice their skills and has introduced and designed new park elements to keep coaching days interesting and stimulating for all riders.
Hamer’s work, along with his wife Megan who also received an Achievement Award at the Night of Champions, has created new interest in moto trials and helped to increase the club’s junior membership, which now accounts for more than 25 per cent.
“Other than wow, receiving this award is a real encouragement to keep on being enthusiastic, dedicated and committed to working with new riders in the discipline of trials,” he said.
“Seeing the smile of achievement and seeing that translate to success when tackling a new challenge is the greatest reward of coaching – whatever the level of the rider.”