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Australia beats New Zealand in 1978 Trans Tasman Motocross Test

Australia beats New Zealand in 1978 Trans Tasman Motocross Test

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Australia beats New Zealand in 1978 Trans Tasman Motocross Test

Trans Tasman Test, Gowers Farm, Gordonton, New Zealand - Australia versus NZ (2-3 December 1978)
1978 Mike Landman - Top points scorer for Australia in Trans Tasman Challenge
1978 Australia vs New Zealand Test Match 2-3 December - Mark Pace and Mike Landman

Photos: [Left]  Australian Mike Landman (VIC, Yamaha) was the star rider of the 1978 Trans Tasman Challenge , leading his country to victory over New Zealand [Right]  Australian Mark  Pace (Vic, Honda) and Landman in action at the Gower’s Farm track, near Hamilton. 

Captain Landman leads Aussies in Trans Tasman Motocross Test

On 2-3 December 1978 Australia beat New Zealand in the Trans Tasman Motocross Test in Hamilton, New Zealand.

Led by team captain Mike Landman (Yamaha YZ400), the Australians narrowly pipped the Kiwis by 512 to 482 points.  Landman was the star rider on the day, along with Graeme Smythe (Yamaha YZ400), with both riders winning all of the three test races at the Gowers Farm circuit, which was hosted by the Hamilton Motorcycle Club.

Landman was the top points-scorer over the three test races – winning the first two. Smythe won the longer final feature race, despite stopping briefly mid-race to see if Kiwi rider Wayne Eddy was ok after a race incident where he crashed. He received accolades from the 3,000 spectators for this kind and sporting gesture.

Team selections
The Australian Team was largely selected from the Australian Championships that year and included newly crowned National champions Landman (VIC, 125cc), Pelle Granquist (Sweden/NSW, Husqvarna (250/500cc) and Smythe (WA, Unlimited).

Swedish Australian expatriate Pelle Granquist was the fastest rider in qualifying in Hamilton on the Saturday.  But after injuring his ankle in practice, he raced under duress – still picking up valuable points for Australia. He was impeded visibly under duress, spending much of his time with his injured foot off the foot peg.

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The New Zealand Motocross Team

The New Zealand team was selected through qualifying races on the Saturday, with the final team including Gary Goodfellow (Honda), Wayne Addy (Yamaha), Gary Whitaker (Yamaha), Peter Ploen (Kawasaki) and Randy Owen (Yamaha).

Owen migrated to NZ from England during the seventies, having raced down under in the Australian and NZ International Motocross Series in the late sixties and early seventies

Under this selection method, several top New Zealand riders missed out on qualifying, much to the disappointment of the vocal home crowd. However, Australia was also missing several top riders – including Australian Champions and Mr. Motocross heroes Anthony Gunter, Stephen Gall, and the Flood brothers (Gary and Trevor).

Although the 1978 event was promoted as the “first official” Trans Tasman Series, Ivan Miller led the Kiwis to victory over Australia a year earlier in the 1977 ANZ Test. The late Trevor Flood also was the overall winner at a test between the two countries in 1973 and 1974.

1978 Australia vs New Zealand Test Match 2-3 December - Poster

1978 Australia vs New Zealand Test Match Poster, signed by the Aussie riders (By courtesy Graeme Smythe)

The 1978 ANZ National Teams

1978 Australia vs New Zealand Test Match 2-3 December - Graeme Smythe

Photo: 1978 Australian Unlimited Champion Graeme Smythe  (WA, (Yamaha) won the Trans Tasman test  final in New Zealand.

Australian Team

  • Mike Landman (VIC, Yamaha)
  • Pelle Granquist (Sweden/NSW, Husqvarna)
  • Graeme Smythe (WA, Yamaha)
  • Dean Vic (SA)
  • Mark Pace (Honda, NSW)
  • Andrew Bailey (Yamaha, QLD)
  • Bernie Ryan (VIC)
  • Russell Speak (WA)
  • Craig Riddle (NSW)
  • Chris Wright (VIC)
  • Russell Finnigan (SA)
  • Peter Kalen.

New Zealand Team

  • Gary Goodfellow (Honda)
  • Wayne Addy (Yamaha)
  • Gary Whitaker (Yamaha)
  • Peter Ploen (Kawasaki)
  • Randy Owen (Yamaha)
  • Craig Coleman (Suzuki)
  • John Periam (Yamaha)
  • John Scott (Yamaha)
  • Frank White (Husqvarna)
  • Tony Cooksley (Suzuki)
  • John Guppy (Yamaha)
  • Dave McCluggage (Yamaha).

Race video

McLaren Archive – 1978 Australia versus New Zealand Trans Tasman Motocross Test

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