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1983 Manjimup 15000 International Motocross

1983 Manjimup 15000 International Motocross

1983 Manjimup 15000 International Motocross

Darryl Willoughby SA - 1983 Manjimup 15000 international motocross winner
1983 Manjimup 15000 Jimmy Ellis jumping the doubles which were later named after him

Photos:  [Left] South Australian Darryl Willoughby, 1983 Manjimup 15000 international motocross winner; and [Right]  American expatriate Jimmy Ellis jumping the doubles which were later named after him (All photos on this page by Peter Kitchingman)

Willoughby wins 1983 Manjimup 15000 motocross

On 24 April 1983, South Australian motocross racer Darryl Willoughby won the famous Manjimup 15000 at Manjimup in the south west of Western Australia.

Run over five -12 lap races at the Cosy Creek Circuit, Willoughby was the most consistent rider on the day and was the overall points winner on his YZ 490 Yamaha, despite not winning any of the individual races.  Willoughby took out the second ever Manjimup 15000 ahead of up and coming rider Jeff Leisk (WA, Honda) and American expatriate Jim Ellis (Yamaha) and the lions’ share of the big prize money on offer.

The name Manjimup 15000 was derived from the original value of the prize money, which at the time, was the richest motocross event ever held in Australia. Britain’s Roger Harvey was the inaugural winner.

But on occasions this prize purse more than doubled reaching $33,000 in 1987, the year it was won by New South Wales rider Craig Dack.  Willoughby’s win in 1983 was the second with the event not being held in 1981 and 1982. 

“Jumping Jimmy” Ellis picked up his nickname from is event.  The 1975 AMA Supercross 250cc National champion, from Middletown in Connecticut, thrilled the crowd when he started jumping the doubles opposite the main straight on his way to convincingly winning the fourth and fifth races ahead of Willoughby in second.  The following year, for safety purposes, these two jumps were converted into a table top and named “Jims Jump” after the legend.

Jeff Leisk won the second and third races, after a close second to local hero Neville Cutts (Honda) in the opening All Stars race.  Leisk would go onto win the next two Manjimup 15000 events – the same years he won the prestigious Mr. Motocross series – with Ellis finally breaking through to win it in 1986.

From 1983 onwards, under the early guidance of Trevor Holm, the Manjimup 15000 went from strength to strength to establish itself as Australia’s most prestigious outdoor one-day motocross event for over three decades.

It became an annual National event over the WA Foundation Day June long weekend through to the turn of the century – drawing International, National and State riders.  British rider Roger Harvey won the inaugural international event in 1980, with the event not being held in 1981 and 1982, due to the Manjimup MCC being unable to secure suitable dates on the National calendar.

In 1983, the international riders competing were Giacomo DeAndreis (Honda) from Italy, Steve Harrison from the United Kingdom (Yamaha) and Kiwi Brian Patterson (Kawasaki).

Its success led to the Manjimup Motorcycle Club hosting two major international events – the 1992 Motocross des Nations World Teams event and the final round of the 1993 World 125cc MX Championship.

In 2009, Willie Thomson from Dirt High Promotions took over the running of the event in partnership with the Manjimup Motorcycle Club as it had not been run for a couple of years.  Thomson successfully resurrected the Manjimup 15000 and, once again, it is one of the Nation’s largest one-day motocross events.

Like most events, the Manjimup 15000 was not held in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and sadly it is not being held this year with Arends recovering from a nasty motorcycle accident.  But no doubt, this spectacular event at this magnificent circuit will bounce back in coming years!

 

Local hero Neville Cutts (WA, Honda) won the opening Manjimup 15000 All-Stars race

1984 Manjmup 15000 winner Jeff Leisk in action at Cosy Creek Manjimup - By Peter Kitchingman

Up and coming rider Jeff Leisk in action at Manjimup and winner of races 2 and 3.

1980 Manjimup 15000 Neville Cutts with Roger Harvey (UK)

Neville Cutts with inaugural Manjimup 15000 winner Roger Harvey, from the United Kingdom

Wimmer and Hills share sidecar honors at Manjimup

1983 Mick Wimmer - John Steyntjes and Max Hills - Simon Cassell - Manjimup

The long, wide and fast Cosy Creek circuit really suits the sidecars with unlimited sized engines.  

In 1993 Mick Wimmer and John Steyntjes debuted their brand new Yamaha 998cc EML at the Cosy Creek Circuit, which was the second event on the WA Motocross calendar following the opening State Round at Collie, also in the South West.  It was the first time that a Dutch EML chassis raced in WA, with the British WASP outfits dominating sidecarcross in Australia from the late 1970s.

Reigning WA State Champions Joseph Grasso and Peter Williams did not compete at Manjimup. They too had purchased a Yamaha EML from Ellis Imports in South Australia for the coming season and competed in Adelaide that weekend while collecting their brand new outfit.

Wimmer – Steyntjes took out the opening 5-lap race, with Max Hills and Simon Cassell close behind in second on their Weslake WASP outfit, despite Max injuring himself after landing awkwardly during the race on the main jump at the end of the main straight. Cliff Cook and Stephen Foster finished third on a Yamaha WASP ahead of Irvine Oliver and Jeff Holmes (Norton WASP) with the 1980 State Champions – the Fanderlinden Brothers, Wayne and Dean – finishing fifth on their Norton WASP.

The Top 2 placings were reversed in race 2, with Hills-Cassell blasting past early race leaders Wimmer-Steyntjes at the start of “Rock’n roll hill” to convincingly win this race. Cook – Foster were again third – ahead of the Fanderlinden’s and Victorian Terry Graham, with Steve Marshall in the chair on their brand new WASP outfit, which was powered by a 910cc Norton engine.

Photo:  Race 1 Manjimup winners Mick Wimmer – John Steyntjes (Yamaha EML) lead Max Hills – Simon Cassell (Weslake WASP), who reversed the finishing order in the second race (By Peter Kitchingman)

1983 Manjimup 15000 International Motocross Results

1983 Manjimup 15000 International Motocross - Program Cover

1983 Manjimup 15000 International Motocross Program Cover

Race 1

1. Neville Cutts (WA, Honda)
2. Jeff Leisk (WA, Honda)
3. Jim Ellis (USA, Yamaha)

Race 2
1. Jeff Leisk (WA, Honda)
2. Stephen Gall (NSW, Yamaha)
3. Trevor Williams (VIC, Kawasaki)

Race 3
1. Jeff Leisk (WA, Honda)
2. Darryl Willoughby (SA, Yamaha)
3. Trevor Williams (VIC, Kawasaki)

Race 4
1. Jim Ellis (USA, Yamaha)
2. Darryl Willoughby (SA, Yamaha)
3. Jeff Leisk (WA, Honda)

Race 5
1. Jim Ellis (USA, Yamaha)
2. Darryl Willoughby (SA, Yamaha)
3. Jeff Leisk (WA, Honda)

Overall
1. Darryl Willoughby (SA, Yamaha)
2. Jeff Leisk (WA, Honda)
3. Jim Ellis (Yamaha, USA)

Sidecars – Race 1

1. Mick Wimmer / John Steyntjes (Yamaha EML)
2. Max Hills / Simon Cassell (Weslake WASP)
3. Cliff Cook / Stephen Foster (Yamaha WASP)
4. Irvine Oliver / Jeff Holmes (Norton WASP)
5. Wayne and Dean Fanderlinden (Norton WASP)

Sidecars – Race 2
1. Max Hills / Simon Cassell (Weslake WASP)
2. Mick Wimmer / John Steyntjes (Yamaha EML)
3. Cliff Cook / Stephen Foster (Yamaha WASP)
4. Wayne and Dean Fanderlinden (Norton WASP)
5. Terry Graham – Steve Marshall (Norton WASP).

 

Video Gallery

1983 Manjimup 15000, Race 1, won by Neville Cutts: William Arends

1983 Manjimup 15000, Race 2, won by Jeff Leisk: William Arends

1983 Manjimup 15000, Race 3, won by Jeff Leisk: William Arends

1983 Manjimup 15000, Race 4, won by Jim Ellis: William Arends

1983 Manjimup 15000, Race 5, won by Jim Ellis: William Arends

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