Leigh Scott Adams (born 28 April 1971 in Mildura, Victoria)[2] is a former motorcycle speedway rider from Australia.[3] He is a multiple Speedway Grand Prix winner and World Team Champion.[4] He also won a record 10 Australian Solo Championships, four Australian Under-21 Championships, the 1992 Individual Speedway Junior World Championship, and was the 1986 Australian Under-16 Champion.[5][6]

Leigh Adams
Born (1971-04-28) 28 April 1971 (age 53)
Mildura, Victoria
Career history
Great Britain
1990–1992, 1997–1998, 2004–2010Swindon Robins
2001–2002Oxford Cheetahs
1999–2000King's Lynn Stars
1996London Lions
1993–1995Arena-Essex Hammers
1989, 2003Poole Pirates
1991–1992, 1994–1995Lublin
Speedway Grand Prix statistics
Podiums15 (8-2-5)
Finalist20 times
Winner8 times
Individual honours
1986Australian Under-16 Champion
1988, 1990, 1991, 1992Australian Under-21 Champion
1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1994, 1995Victorian State Champion
1992, 1993, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2002,
2003, 2005, 2006, 2009
Australian Champion
1992World Under-21 Champion
1993Commonwealth Champion
1994, 1997, 2001, 2002, 2003Jack Young Solo Cup winner
1996Edward Jancarz Memorial winner
1997, 1998, 2000Australian Masters Series 500 Champion
1999Australian Long Track Champion
1999, 2000, 2001, 2004Golden Helmet of Pardubice
2000, 2008Alfred Smoczyk Memorial winner
2002, 2007, 2008Scandinavian Grand Prix Winner
2003Slovenian Grand Prix Winner
2004, 2007Swedish Grand Prix Winner
2007Latvian Grand Prix Winner
2008European Grand Prix Winner
2009Elite League Riders' Championship
Team honours
1999World Team Cup winner
2001, 2002World Cup Winner
2001, 2003Elite League Champion
2003Elite League KO Cup Winner
2004, 2005Elite League Pairs Winner
2003British League Cup Winner
2008Elite Shield Winner
2007Ekstraliga Champion
1992Australian Pairs Champion
1986Australian Under-16 Pairs Champion





Leigh Adams was a product of junior speedway in his home town of Mildura, which was also the home town of multiple Victorian and Australian champion Phil Crump who became his mentor. Adams started racing in 1979 and within a few years would prove himself as one of Australia's best junior solo riders. He finished 3rd in the 1983 Australian U/16 Championship at his home track, the Olympic Park Speedway, before finishing second to Adelaide rider Shane Parker in the 1985 Championship at the Sidewinders Speedway in Adelaide. Adams won the Australian Under-16 championship in 1986 at the age of 15 which was held in Mildura, before joining the senior ranks in 1987.

Adams would win the first of four Australian Under-21 Championships in 1988 at North Arm in Adelaide, before going on to win again in 1990 at the Riverland Speedway in Renmark, 1991 at Olympic Park and 1992 at the Riverview Speedway in Murray Bridge. He only missed out in 1989 (held in Mildura) after being excluded from his first race, though he eventually went on to finish on the podium in 3rd place behind Adelaide's Craig Hodgson (1st) and Scott Norman (2nd).

Adams won the Australian Solo Championship in 1992 (North Arm), 1993 (Brisbane Exhibition Ground), 1994 (Olympic Park), 1998 (Murray Bridge), 2000 (Gosford), 2002 (Wayville Showground, Adelaide), 2003 (Gosford), 2005, 2006 and finally 2009. He won his first national title at the North Arm Speedway in Adelaide with a 14 points from his 5 rides (beaten only by title runner-up Shane Parker in their second race), and his tenth and last championship also in Adelaide at Gillman Speedway after dominating the three-round championship with 15 wins from 15 rides. Adams won his first 7 Australian titles under the traditional single meeting format which lasted until his 2003 win. From 2004 the championship became a series held over 3, 4 or 5 rounds.

Adams won his first Victorian State Championship in 1989 in Mildura in what was only his third season of senior riding, beating 13 time and defending champion Phil Crump at Olympic Park. In the early days of his career, and the last of Crump's which had begun in 1970, Crump and Adams were known as "The Master and the Apprentice". Adams would also win the Victorian title in 1990 (Myrtleford), 1991 and 1992 (Mildura), 1994 (Undera) and 1995 (Mildura).

While the reigning Australian U/21 and Senior Champion in 1992, Adams went on to win the 1992 Under-21 World Championship at Pfaffenhofen an der Ilm in Germany to become the Australia's first U/21 World Champion since Adelaide's Steve Baker in 1983.

In 1997 and 1998, Adams won the 10 Round Australian Speedway Masters Series (also known as the "Series 500") against riders such as Jason Crump, Todd Wiltshire, Ryan Sullivan, Simon Wigg, Sam Ermolenko, Tony Rickardsson and Greg Hancock. He finished runner up in the series to Jason Crump in 1999, and the final year the series was run in 2000 he was once again the Series 500 champion, easily winning the point score over Wiltshire and 1996 World Champion Billy Hamill.

1999 also saw Adams win the Australian Long Track Championship in Port Pirie, South Australia, making him the only rider to have won the Australian U/16 (plus Pairs), U/21, Senior (plus Pairs) and Long Track championships. Adams holds the record for most Australian Solo Championship wins with 10 and jointly holds the record for most Australian Under-21 Championship wins with 2012 World Champion Chris Holder. Both riders won the junior title on four occasions.


Leigh Adams, rode for Unia Leszno from 1996 to 2010

Leigh first came to England in 1988 and completed four matches for Poole in the National Junior League.[7] Adams had originally been recommended to Poole by their Australian team manager Neil Street (the father-in-law of Phil Crump), and it was Poole he subsequently joined for their National League Championship winning season of 1989, when he rode alongside riders such as Craig Boyce and Alun Rossiter.[8]

To further his career, Leigh then moved up a league to join Swindon for the 1990 season. He made his Robins’ debut when scoring 8+2 points from six rides against Oxford in a Gold Cup match at Blunsdon on 24 March.[7] Adams won the first of his record ten Australian national titles in 1992, and also captured the World Under-21 Championship after beating Mark Loram in a race-off at Pfaffenhofen an der Ilm, Germany.[9][2] With Swindon relegated to the British League Division Two after the 1992 season, Leigh moved on to spend three years with Arena Essex (1993–95)

In October 1995, during the Speedway Grand Prix Qualification he won the GP Challenge, which ensured that he claimed a permanent slot for the 1996 Grand Prix. He repeated the success two years later in 1997.[10]

He had a single season with the London Lions in 1996 before returning to Swindon in 1997 and recorded a 9.96 average in the inaugural season of the Elite League.[7] Adams was again back with the Robins in 1998 but with Swindon again dropping down a league in 1999, he left and signed for the King's Lynn Stars. Adams remained at King's Lynn for the 2000 campaign and topped the Elite League riders averages, finishing the season on 10.24.[8]

In 2001, Adams signed for Oxford and won the Elite League Championship.[2] He remained with Oxford in 2002 and the 2003 season saw Adams register a 9.97 league average back with Poole in a year which the Pirates won the treble; winning the League Championship, the Knock-Out Cup and the British League Cup. The year also saw him awarded a testimonial, which took place at Swindon.[7]

Adams returned to Swindon in 2004 and again finished top of the Elite League averages on 10.94 and partnered Charlie Gjedde to victory in the Elite League Pairs Championship.[7] In 2005, Adams partnered new Swindon signing Lee Richardson to the Elite League Pairs Championship at Peterborough.[8] On the world stage, Leigh ended his tenth season of Grand Prix activity with his highest ever ranking by winning the bronze medal after being the World No. 4 for the previous three years.[8]

Adams put together another successful season for Swindon in 2007, as the club finished runners-up in all three major domestic finals, being beaten by Coventry in the Elite League Play-Offs final, Knock-Out Cup final and Craven Shield final.[8] Adams completed his best ever Grand Prix campaign in 2007, finishing second overall to Nicki Pedersen.[8] In a consistent Grand Prix campaign, he took victory in three rounds and completed the series with 153 points. In 2008, Adams became the Swindon Robins all-time top points scorer. His paid maximum at Lakeside in August 2008 took him onto 5,482.5 points, surpassing the previous record set by Martin Ashby who scored 5,476.5 during his time with the Robins.[11] In 2009, he won the Elite League Riders' Championship, held at Brandon Stadium on 2 October.[12]



In 2010 Leigh Adams announced his retirement from speedway after 20 years of international competition which saw him win 10 Australian Solo championships, 4 Australian Under-21 Championships as well as the World Under-21 Championship in 1992. This along with a junior career which started in 1982 and saw him win the Australian and Victorian Under-16 Championships. He also finished a career best second in the 2007 Speedway Grand Prix behind Denmark's Nicki Pedersen after finishing third in 2005.

In 2011, and now with the time do so, Adams fulfilled a long-term ambition and entered the Finke Desert Race in Australia's Northern Territory near Alice Springs. On 6 June, while on a training ride with his brother and other riders, Adams crashed his motorbike into rocky terrain and sustained multiple injuries including fractured vertebrae, extensive spinal cord damage and broken ribs. He was flown from Alice Springs to Royal Adelaide Hospital where he underwent a six-hour operation to stabilise and strengthen his badly injured spine.[13][14]

In 2012–13, Adams provided television commentary for Australia's World Series Sprintcars series.

In 2014, Adams' son Declyn finished 3rd in the Australian Under-16 Championship at the Pinjar Park Speedway in Perth, Western Australia, emulating his father's first Australian U/16 podium finish in 1983 in Mildura.

Career honours


World Final Appearances


Individual World Championship


World Pairs Championship


World Team Cup


World Cup


Individual Under-21 World Championship


Speedway Grand Prix results

Year Position Points Best finish Notes
1996 15th 28 8th
1997 10th 42 9th
1998 11th 51 5th
1999 7th 67 4th Made 4 semi-finals but only reached final once
2000 6th 65 4th
2001 5th 69 3rd Third in the Danish Grand Prix
2002 4th 127 Winner Won the Swedish Grand Prix
2003 4th 126 Winner Won the Slovenian Grand Prix
2004 4th 131 Winner Won the Swedish Grand Prix
2005 3rd 107 2nd Second in the European Grand Prix
2006 5th 106 3rd Highest placed rider not to win a GP (3rd in Scandinavia)
2007 2nd 153 Winner Won Swedish, Scandinavian and Latvian Grand Prix
2008 6th 125 Winner Won European and Scandinavian Grand Prix
2007 Speedway Grand Prix Final Championship standings
(Riding No 5)
Race no. Grand Prix Pos. Pts. Heats Draw No
1 /11   Italian SGP 5 12 (2,2,1,3,3) +1 14
2 /11   European SGP 6 10 (2,3,2,X,3) +0 5
3 /11   Swedish SGP 1 21 (3,3,2,3,1) +3 +3 15
4 /11   Danish SGP 3 18 (2,3,3,2,3) +3 +1 12
5 /11   British SGP 4 14 (1,2,3,3,2) +3 +0 14
6 /11   Czech Rep. SGP 8 8 (2,2,2,2,0) +0 12
7 /11   Scandinavian SGP 1 19 (2,3,2,2,1) +3 +3 5
8 /11   Latvian SGP 1 22 (2,2,3,3,3) +3 +3 12
9 /11   Polish SGP 7 9 (3,1,1,0,3) +1 3
10 /11   Slovenian SGP 6 9 (3,3,1,0,2) +0 10
11 /11   German SGP 4 11 (0,3,1,1,3) +3 +0 5
2008 Speedway Grand Prix Final Championship standings
(Riding No 2)
Race no. Grand Prix Pos. Pts. Heats Draw No
1 /11   Slovenian SGP 14 5 (0,2,3,0,0) 4
2 /11   European SGP 1 20 (2,3,0,3,3) +3 +6 9
3 /11   Swedish SGP 7 9 (2,1,2,2,1) 16
4 /11   Danish SGP 8 8 (3,2,0,0,3) 11
5 /11   British SGP 9 7 (2,2,1,2,ex) 1
6 /11   Czech Rep. SGP 6 10 (3,3,0,3,1) +0 6
7 /11   Scandinavian SGP 1 21 (3,3,1,3,2) +3 +6 15
8 /11   Latvian SGP 6 9 (3,1,2,2,1) +0 7
9 /11   Polish SGP 8 9 (1,3,2,1,2) +0 11
10 /11   Italian SGP 4 12 (1,2,1,3,3) +2 +0 9
11 /11   German SGP 4 15 (3,3,3,2,2) +2 +0 2
  permanent speedway rider
  wild card, track reserve or qualified reserve
  rider not classified (track reserve who did not start)

See also



  1. ^ Świat Żużla, No 2 (78) 2009, page 12, ISSN 1429-3285
  2. ^ a b c Oakes, P.(2004). British Speedway Who's Who. ISBN 0-948882-81-6
  3. ^ "2008 Rider index" (PDF). British Speedway. Retrieved 17 February 2023.
  4. ^ Oakes, P.(2006). Speedway Star Almanac. ISBN 0-9552376-1-0
  5. ^ Montague, Trevor (2004). The A-Z of Sport. Little, Brown. p. 513. ISBN 0-316-72645-1.
  6. ^ "ULTIMATE RIDER INDEX, 1929-2022" (PDF). British Speedway. Retrieved 22 June 2023.
  7. ^ a b c d e Bamford, Robert; Shailes, Glynn (2004). 50 Poole Pirates Greats. Tempus Publishing. pp. 9–11. ISBN 0-7524-3257-5.
  8. ^ a b c d e f "Leigh Adams profile". Swindon Speedway. 2008. Archived from the original on 8 August 2008. Retrieved 6 June 2008.
  9. ^ "Screen's luck runs out". Manchester Evening News. 24 August 1992. Retrieved 9 March 2024 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  10. ^ "HISTORICAL LIST OF RESULTS 1995-2013 Speedway Grand Prix - Qualifications". Speedway History. Retrieved 8 January 2023.
  11. ^ "The History Man". Swindon Speedway. 2008. Archived from the original on 20 November 2008. Retrieved 11 August 2008.
  12. ^ "Swindon's Leigh Adams wins Elite League Riders' Championship". Coventry Telegraph. Retrieved 9 June 2023.
  13. ^ Speedway.net Press Release
  14. ^ ABC News
  15. ^ "Leigh Adams". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Retrieved 30 December 2012.