Brad Lackey

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Brad Lackey
BornJuly 8, 1953 (1953-07-08) (age 65)
Berkeley, California, U.S.
Motocross career
Years active1970 - 1982
TeamsČZ, Kawasaki, Husqvarna, Honda, Suzuki
Championships500cc - 1982

Brad Lackey (born July 8, 1953) is an American former professional motocross racer. In 1982, he became the first and only American to win the 500cc Grand Prix Motocross World Championship.[1][2] He was known as "Bad Brad" to his fans.[3]

Early career[edit]

Born in Berkeley, California, Lackey was the son of an avid motorcyclist.[1] He grew up riding off-road motorcycles in the mountains around the San Francisco Bay area.[1] He began racing motocross at the age of 13 and had progressed to become an expert-ranked rider by the early 1970s.[1] In 1970, he received sponsorship from a local CZ dealer. At that time, the sport of motocross was beginning to grow in popularity in the United States and, American motocross racers were not as advanced as the racers from Europe where the sport had originated.[4] From watching European motocross racers, Lackey learned about the importance that physical fitness played in being a successful racer.[4]

In 1971, CZ sent Lackey to Czechoslovakia to enter a training camp to develop his physical fitness and riding abilities.[4] While training in Czechoslovakia, he lived in a room with no heating or running water but, he was driven on by his determination to compete against the best motocross racers in the world.[1][5] While he was in Czechoslovakia, Lackey gained his first experience on the world championship motocross Grand Prix circuit when CZ entered him into a few 250cc Grand Prix races.[1]

He returned to the United States and competed in the 1971 AMA 500cc motocross national championship, finishing in second place just one point behind champion Mark Blackwell.[5][6] Lackey began the 1972 AMA Motocross National Championship season winning 4 of the first 7 races on a CZ, at which point the Kawasaki factory offered Lackey a contract to race for them.[7] He won his fifth race of the season on a Kawasaki and clinched the 1972 AMA 500cc 1972 AMA Motocross National Championship in dominating fashion.[1][6] He also finished as the highest ranked American rider in the 1972 Trans-AMA motocross series.[1]

World championship career[edit]

Kawasaki wanted Lackey to continue racing in the United States however, he was determined to go to Europe to race against the best riders in the world in the world championship Grand Prix events.[1] In 1973, Lackey set out on what would eventually be a ten-year quest for a 500cc Motocross World Championship, which at the time was the most prestigious class in motocross competition.[8][9] On July 3, 1977, Lackey became the second American, behind Jim Pomeroy, to score an overall victory in a motocross world championship Grand Prix when he won the British Grand Prix.[10]

Over the years, he rode for several different factories including, Kawasaki, Husqvarna, Honda and Suzuki, finishing as high as second in the world in 1978 and 1980.[9][11] He often encountered bad luck with bike failures at inopportune times, prompting the European motorcycling press to dub him "Bad Luckey".[1][3][12] In the 1980 season, Lackey went into the final race of the season trailing the championship points leader, André Malherbe by a single point however, he crashed in the final race to eliminate his hopes for a world championship.[13] Despite the setbacks, Lackey persevered and in 1982, after a ten-year effort, he was able to clinch his first and only 500cc Motocross World Championship aboard a Suzuki.[1][8] After his triumph, Suzuki scaled back their racing efforts and Lackey was left without a sponsor.[5] He decided to retire on top, as world champion.[1]

Lackey was inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1999 and, in 2013 he was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America.[1][11] Today, Lackey continues his involvement in the sport of motocross taking part in vintage motocross racing.[1][5]

Motocross Grand Prix Results[edit]

Year Class Team Rank
1973 500cc Kawasaki 13th
1974 500cc Husqvarna 10th
1975 500cc Husqvarna 6th
1976 500cc Husqvarna 5th
1977 500cc Honda 4th
1978 500cc Honda 2nd
1979 500cc Kawasaki 4th
1980 500cc Kawasaki 2nd
1981 500cc Suzuki 6th
1982 500cc Suzuki 1st

Motocross championships[edit]

  • 1972 A.M.A. 500cc Motocross National Champion
  • 1982 F.I.M. 500cc Motocross World Champion
  • 2000 Over 40 AHRMA Champion


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "Motorcycle Hall of Fame". Retrieved 17 December 2015.
  2. ^ "Brad Lackey career profile". Retrieved 17 December 2015.
  3. ^ a b "Almost Famous; The Early Years of Motocross GP". Retrieved 17 December 2015.
  4. ^ a b c "Brad Lackey's World Championship Quest". Retrieved 23 November 2018.
  5. ^ a b c d "Hanging Out With The Champ - What's Up With Brad Lackey?". Retrieved 17 December 2015.
  6. ^ a b "THE HISTORY OF THE AMA 500 NATIONALS". Retrieved 17 December 2015.
  7. ^ "1972 Motocross Season". Retrieved 15 February 2016.
  8. ^ a b Amick, Bill (October 1982). It's Lackey, At Last. American Motorcyclist. Retrieved 17 December 2015.
  9. ^ a b Carlsbad Grand Prix: Lackey's Last Chance?. American Motorcyclist. July 1982. Retrieved 18 December 2015.
  10. ^ Race Watch. Cycle World. October 1977. Retrieved 18 December 2015.
  11. ^ a b "Brad Lackey at the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America". Retrieved 26 July 2017.
  12. ^ Phillipson, Don (October 1982). "Brad Lackey; Victory At Long Last". |magazine=Cycle |ISSN= |accessdate=17 December 2015
  13. ^ Race Watch. Cycle World. January 1981. Retrieved 18 December 2015.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
André Malherbe
F.I.M. 500cc Motocross World Champion
Succeeded by
Håkan Carlquist