Motorcycling


CM Dyer on his motorcycle, about 1910 (AOT, PH30/1/8183)

Motorcycling in Tasmania dates back to 1901 or 1902. As in many parts of the world, the first motorcycles were manufactured locally from imported components. Tasmania is home to one of the oldest continuing motorcycle clubs in the world, the Launceston-based Tasmanian Motorcycle Club, established in 1905. It became the controlling organisation for motorcycle sport until the establishment in 1958 of the Auto Cycle Union of Tasmania, which continues to operate today as Motorcycling Tasmania.

The first Tasmanian Championship events were held at Elwick Racecourse in 1914. Tasmania's most famous race circuit was the now-defunct Longford Grand Prix circuit, which was host to reigning World 500cc Champion Geoff Duke in 1955. For road riders, the Motorcycle Riders Association of Tasmania was established in 1980. Key events conducted by the Association on an annual basis are the March Tas Rally and the Christmas Toy Run, which now attracts in excess of 6000 motorcycles to Hobart each year. Off-road recreational and competitive motorcycling is popular in Tasmania, and there are a number of enduro and motocross clubs. Tasmania is recognised Australia-wide as an ideal motorcycle touring destination, and in 2003 an annual festival, Australian Motorcycle Week, was established as a Tasmanian festival of motorcycling.

In 2004 the Tasmanian Motorcycle Council was formed as a new peak body overseeing all aspects of motorcycling. There are over 35 motorcycle clubs throughout Tasmania. Tasmania's most recognised motorcyclist is Launceston's Malcolm Campbell, four-times Australian Superbike Champion.

Further reading: R Saward, AZ of Australian-made motorcycles, Sydney, 1996; J Scaysbrook, Australia's motorcycling heritage, Sydney, 1999.

Shaun Lennard