Life-long cy­cling pas­sion

North Coast Times - - SPORT -

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.”

Pic­tures: Gor­don Pet­ti­grew

Bob O’Leary and fam­ily. Right: Mo­tor­cy­cling WA pres­i­dent Peter Clarke and Peter Hamer.

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