Ray Vandenberg: Mr Motocross 1983
Back in 1983, a Victorian rider nick-named “Goof”, made Aussie MX history by becoming the youngest rider to win the prestigious Mr Motocross title.
At just 19 Ray Vandenberg, the 1982 Australian 125cc Champion, was not expected to trouble big name riders like Steven Gall, Anthony Gunter, Trevor Williams or Jeff Leisk on the powerful, beastly 500cc 2 strokes, but trouble them he did.
The slightly built Vandenberg with his loose flowing style took the challenge to the stars of the 70s and 80s, and after an up and down year, led the championship chase going into the final round on home soil at Broadford in Victoria.
The Suzuki RM500 mounted rider was under pressure going into the final double points round after an unsuccessful previous race and having had a run in with Steven Gall earlier in the series which lost him critical points in the title chase.
A huge crowd had turned out for the season finale and when, with five laps to go, four time Mr Motocross Champion Steven Gall went down, the locals were able to enjoy a memorable finale when their local hero “Goof” cruised across the line to be crowned Mr Motocross.
This great video from the boys at MXTV.com.au tells the story in Vandenberg’s own words and explains his early exit from a motocross career after two severe knee injuries.