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Motocross

1980 United States 500cc Motocross Grand Prix from Carlsbad CA


Imagine, if you will, a time before the internet, EDM or low energy light bulbs. A time when the Sony Walkman was the latest must-have gadget, and bell-bottom jeans had only recently been retired to the back of the world’s wardrobes. It is from this distant era that we bring you the original Wide World of Sports broadcast of the 1980 500 USGP Motocross race at Carlsbad, California, as shown on ABC. This race is legendary as the first USGP won by an American rider, namely Marty Moates.

European riders had dominated the event from its inception in 1973 until that momentous day in June 1980. Incredibly, one man alone, Dutchman Gerrit Wolsink, had taken home the coveted winner’s trophy on no less than five occasions. In this particular year, all eyes were on five-time World Champion Roger DeCoster, arguably the most famous rider of his generation.

DeCoster had recently announced his imminent retirement, and, having never won at Carlsbad, he had everything to play for. But he was already out of the running for the World Championship that year. Instead, the two main contenders for this accolade were American ‘Bad’ Brad Lackey and Belgium’s Andre Malherbe, neither of whom could afford to lose any points at Carlsbad that day.

But as it turned out, despite all of their experience and esteem, none of these competitors would take the top spot on the winners’ podium. Moates, a mere privateer, led convincingly from the start, and his victory against all odds would go down in motocross history.

This video is the authentic account of his incredible performance.

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