Thursday, July 22, 2010



Very sad news this week with the passing of John Hall after a battle with cancer -- Hally was one of the true gentlemen of the Australian motorcycle industry and a bloke quite rightly described as the founding father of the Four Day Enduro in Australia.

"I organised the first Four Day back in 1978, and about six or seven after that," Hally explained when interviewed by organisers of the 30th A4DE in Victoria in 2008.

"It was a real struggle to get it together back then. I remember mentioning my idea to people and a lot of them saying, 'no, there's no way that could work', but I believed in it... and it's really nice to see how big it has become."

Hally said he came up with the concept for the Four Day after the first Australian team was sent to an International Six Days Enduro (ISDE) in 1977.

"The first team from Australia went to the Six-Day in [Czechoslovakia] and no one finished – there was a 100 percent DNF rate," Hall recalled.

"The guys that went were the best off-road riders in Australia. They had the ability and the talent, but they didn't have any experience.

"Also, there was talk that Australia should run a Six-Day, but there was no way we could without experienced people. So for those two reasons, I decided we needed to have a Four-Day."

About 100 riders competed in the first Four Day and the rider who took home the first win was none other than the legendary Shane Watts' father, Norm Watts.

After 14 A4DEs, Hally was employed to organise Australia's first ISDE. He recalls that the event, which was held at Cessnock in 1992, went off "without a hitch".

"I had Italian officials asking me how a country that had never run an ISDE ran one without any problems, they were really amazed. I said it was because of our A4DEs," Hally explained.

Now, I know how well that first Cessnock ISDE went, as I worked closely with Hally and the crew from Motorcycling NSW who promoted the event. I worked with them in the build-up to the race assisting with media relations and the overwhelming memory I have is how proud Hally was of putting Australia and his home-town Cessnock on the global motorcycling map.

Hally was truly proud of overseeing a world-class event that in many ways confounded the pundits. For a first-up ISDE in Australia, it was a ripper of an event.

Having been a longtime manager of Australia’s ISDE teams and the longtime Australian distributor of TM motorcycles via the family business, Cross Country Action, Hally was instrumental in launching many Aussie riders careers on the global dirt biking stage.

His influence touched many riders, from the top-shelf pros to the clubmen riders who gave their all to wear the Aussie green and gold jersey in an Aussie club team in the ISDE alike.

John Hall R.I.P.

Note: John Hall's funeral will be held this Saturday at 11am at St Johns Church, Cessnock.

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