Motocross Legend West

Charlie West (WA) at a 1963 British Scramble with Tim Gibbes (NZ)
Photo: Australian riders Charlie West (3, B.S.A, WA) with Tim Gibbes (2, Matchless, NSW) at a British Scramble in 1963. The pair were part of the winning Australian team that beat the British in a one-off test match at Pembury, near Brands Hatch on 14 October 1963.

Charlie West - Australia's best scrambler in the late fifties

The Australian Motorcycle News magazine acclaimed twenty-one-year old Charlie West the best in the land in the late fifties.

The West Australian won four Australian ‘Scrambling’ Championships in that decade, as the sport was named in those days, and went on to win seven Australian titles and more than 17 State titles across the country throughout his career.

Charlie West achieved this success despite spending three years racing International motocross in in Europe.  

With scrambling established in Western Australia in the 1920s, WA riders dominated the National scene from the sports beginning to the mid-1960s.

Charlie West was the legend of that era dominating all classes, including the prestigious Unlimited All Powers on a BSA Gold Star and C15 Starfire BSA in the 250s.

He won his first National title in the All Powers class in 1956 at the Moorebank Army Camp circuit in New South Wales.

In 1958 he won both the 350cc and Unlimited classes at Evansdale, Launceston (TAS), successfully retaining the Unlimited title the following year at Royal Park in Adelaide (SA).

Although West only won one title in 1959, he was the standout rider at the meeting. On top of the premier Unlimited class he was on target to score victories in the 350 and 500 titles, but unfortunately experienced race mishaps on the day. 

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Charlie West Australian Champion 1950-60s

On home soil, West also won the prestigious Harley Scramble in 1958 and 1959.  

This annual event was held at the Rope Works circuit in Mosman Park on the outskirts of Perth between 1928 and 1963.   

At its peak more than 20,000 spectators attended this event and the riders were household names and raced for big prizemoney.

West won more Australian Championships in the 1960s.  

In 1961, with European experience behind him, he brought his immaculate fleet of three BSAs to the Australian Championships, winning the 250 and 350cc classes

Photo: Charlie West in action at the famous Harley Scramble at the Rope Works circuit in Mosman Park, WA.  West won successive titles in 1959 and 1959.

The victorious Australian team

The following year West returned to Europe and rode internationally in England and represented Australia in a World Championship Grand Prix in France.  

He was also a member of the winning side that beat the British in a one-off test match at Pembury, near Brands Hatch on 14 October 1963.

The winning Australian team also included:  Kelvin Franks (SA), Bob Walpole (VIC), Ray East (NSW), Ray Fisher (VIC), Jack Pringle (NSW) and Tim Gibbes (NSW), who are pictured to the right in that order, with Charlie standing on the far left-hand-side.

On return to Australia, West switched to speedway and was successful here too – winning State titles in the TQ and midget classes at Claremont Speedway.

Throughout his motocross career, West won seven Australian Motocross Championships and more than 17 State titles in various States across Australia, including at least four Western Australian titles.

While WA, West’s home state, held the State Championships over multiple rounds, one day events were more common on the east coast, which he contested while travelling interstate for the National titles.

1963 Victorious Australian Team at Pembury in England

The winning Australian Team at Pembury in England.  Charlie West  is  the rider standing on the far left-hand side

West's key career highlights

Charlie West - Unlimited Australian Motocross Champion - Portrait (2)

Charlie West  – 2016 Inductee into Motorcycling  Western Australian Hall of Fame

1956
Australian Unlimited Champion, Moorebank Army Camp (NSW)

1958
Australian 350cc Champion, Evansdale, Launceston (TAS)
Australian Unlimited Champion
WA State 350cc Champion
WA State 500cc Champion

1959
Australian Unlimited Champion Royal Park, Adelaide (SA)
WA State 350cc Champion
WA State Unlimited Champion

1961
250cc Australian Champion, Moorebank Army Camp (NSW)
350cc Australian Champion

1963
A member of the winning Australian Team against the British in a one-off Test Match at Pembury, near Brands Hatch

2016
Inducted into Motorcycling Western Australian Hall of Fame

* Charlie won more than 17 State titles in various States across Australia.

Charlie West at Herne Hill in WA (2)

Charlie West in action at a State Championship event at Herne Hill in WA

Australian Championship results and photos

Click on the links below to view Australian Motocross Championship results back to 1953, event photos or rider profiles.

Australian Motocross Legends
Photo Gallery Australian Championship Events
Australian Motocross Rider Online Feature Stories

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