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Australia New Zealand International Motocross Series

Australia New Zealand International Motocross Series

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Australia New Zealand International Motocross Series

tim gibbes' organised AUSTRALIAN AND NEW ZEALAND INTERNATIONAL motocross series - 1967/68 to 1969/70
1968-69 AUS NZ MX Tour - International riders
Gold Leaf Series in New Zealand - Posters
1964-65 Australian NZ International Tour in New Zealand - Promotional postcard

Photo: [Clockwise] The 1968/69 delegation of International motocross riders and officials – on arrival at  Perth Airport. [Standing from left to right] Ray Duncan, lady unknown, man unknown, Freddi Postmann (Austrian rider), Tim Gibbes (NZ rider), John Rock (WA rider), Alf Carstairs, Trevor Lawrence and Randy Owen (UK rider). [Front] Gordon Adsett (UK rider) and  Rowley Owen (UK). The woman (with her two children) is the wife of  one of the Western Australian hosts); and advertisement for the  1966/67 New Zealand Gold Leaf International Series; and  the first overseas visitors for the 1964/65 Gold Leaf  Series  – George Hauger (Germany), Authur Harris (England) and Max Morf (Switzerland) (All photos by courtesy of Tim Gibbes)

Tim Gibbes’ International Motocross Series down under (1967/68 to 1969/70)

After retiring from international racing in Europe, when Tim Gibbes settled in New Zealand he established the Gold Leaf International Motocross tour of New Zealand.

Gibbes flew in three international riders from England and Europe for the first 1964/65 tour – George Hauger (Germany – Wabeha), Authur Harris (England, Harris Triumph Special), and Max Morf (Switzerland – CZ).

Gibbes was not a promoter, but organised the events (without any fees) jointly with the Australian and New Zealand motor cycle clubs, as well as riding in these events himself.

After its success, in 1967/68, Gibbes decided to add Australia to the tour with the inaugural Australian New Zealand International tour featuring Swede Gunnar Lindstrom (Husqvarna), JN Roberts (USA, Husqvarna) and John Lewis (UK, BSA).

The official Australian team members were Ray Fisher (VIC), Matt Daley (NSW) and Laurie Alderton (NSW). Gibbes raced as a privateer and the official New Zealand team included Ivan Miller, Morley Shirriffs and Gordon Holland.

The inaugural series kicked off on 12 November 1967 in Snake Gully (SA), Christmas Hills (VIC), followed by Woolongong (NSW) before crossing the Tasman for seven more events at different venues across New Zealand.

John Lewis won the inaugural event at Snake Gully on a borrowed BSA 441 Victor.  The Swedish Husqvarna test rider Lindstrom had lots of problems – also with a borrowed bike as their bikes did not arrive on time from overseas. But Lindstrom recovered to win the series.

Local riders Greg Leaney (VIC, BSA) and Matt Daley (NSW, Husqvarna) put on great shows to finish on the winner’s podium in their home states, taking it right up to the internationals.

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1967/68 Inaugural International tour in Australia/NZ

Photos: [clockwise] The first International motocross event in Australia was held on 12 November 1967 at Snake Gully (SA), featuring Gunnar Lindstrom (Sweden, 1), John Lewis (UK, 2), JN Roberts (US, 3), Ivan Miller (NZ, 7) and Laurie Alderton (NSW, 590); and a souvenir sash commemorating the event, which was hosted by the Elizabeth and Districts MCC. (Photo by Peter Warrell) 

Ray Fisher (Vic) Morley Shirriffs (NZ) in the 1967-68 Australia New Zealand International Tour

Ray Fisher (Vic) Morley Shirriffs (NZ) in the 1967/68 Australia New Zealand International Tour

JN Roberts - International Motocross at Christmas Hills 1967

American desert racing legend – JN Roberts at Christmas Hills, Victoria in 1967/68

1967 International Motocross at Mount Kembla - Matt Daley (15), John Lewis (3, Wales) and Gunnar Lindstrom (5, Sweden)

Local Matt Daley (Husqvarna) leads Welshman John Lewis (UK, BSA) at Mt Kembla (NSW) – Insert Series winner Gunnar Lindstrom (Sweden, Husq)

1968/69 International tour extended to WA and Tasmania

The ANZ tour was a big success, so a second tour was held in 1968/69 – kicking off at Herne Hill (WA), with Tasmania also being added, following Snake Gully (SA), Christmas Hills (VIC) and Woolongong (NSW).

The overseas riders included Freddie Postmann from Austria, Gibbes and UK riders – Gordon Adsett, plus brothers Randy and Rowley Owen, with Rowley later immigrating to New Zealand.

British rider Gordon Adsett dominated the series and was the overall winner (See top photo).

This series would be the last Australian New Zealand tour organised by Tim Gibbes, who decided to only host the 1969/70 tour in New Zealand. 

1969-70 International Motocross series winner Gordon Adsett (UK)
1966 Australian NZ International Tour in New Zealand - on the road in the eastern states
1966 Australia NZ International Tour in New Zealand - staying with a family in Tasmania
1966 Australian NZ International Tour in New Zealand - International riders at airport in Tasmania

Photos: [Clockwise, starting from the top] 1968/69 International  Motocross Series winner Gordon Adsett with his trophies from the tour across Australia and New Zealand; International riders at the airport in Tasmania on route to Victoria;  the international riders in Tasmania with their hosts; and  the international riders travelling across Australia by road.

1969/70 International tour in New Zealand

Unfortunately for Australia, we dipped out on a beauty with two British Motocross legends – Dave Smith and Dave Bickers – contesting the 1969/70 International Motocross tour, which was only held in New Zealand.

Gibbes wanted to go out on a high, so he arranged for Jeff Smith (1964 and 1965 World 500cc Motocross Champion) to race, as well as Dave Bickers (1960 and 1961 European 250cc Champion).

The 1969/70 New Zealand  International Tour ended on a high with two British legends competing.  Gibbes arranged for Jeff Smith (1964 and 1965 World 500cc Motocross Champion) to race, as well as Dave Bickers (1960 and 1961 European 250cc Champion).

Both riders dominated the series battling it out with each other, with the distinguished visitors tying for the overall series win.  But as there was only one trophy available, the two winners divided it in half with a hacksaw! 

The trophies were supposed to be professionally mounted on a wooden shield, but they went missing and have never been sighted again.

Smith and Bickers were very popular amongst the locals, blending  in well with the local riders, conducting motocross training schools in many locations, and raced with very good sportsmanship.

As with all the series, the international riders were not enticed by money. While their basic expenses were covered and they stayed with local families and came here as enthusiasts.

Jeff Smith - World 500cc Motocross Champion 1964 and 1965
Dave Bickers - European 250cc Motocross Champion 1960 and 1961
Dave Bickers and Jeff Smith tied for the 1969-70 International series, so they cut the trophy in half

Photos: [Clockwise] Jeff Smith (UK) – World 500cc Motocross Champion 1964-65;  Dave Bickers (UK) – 1960 and 1961 European 250cc Motocross Champion; and Dave Bickers and Jeff Smith tied for the 1969-70 International series, so they cut the trophy in half.

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One comment

  1. In the top photo >> 1966/67 > [Standing from left to right] Ray Duncan, Freddi Postmann (Austrian rider), Tim Gibbes (NZ rider), John Rock (WA rider), Alf Carstairs, Trevor Lawrence and Randy Owen (UK rider). [Front] Gordon Adsett (UK rider) and Tony Owen (UK). The woman in the photo could be the Austrian rider’s wife with their two children? < The lady in the photo is not the Austrian riders wife & 2 children, it was the wife & family of one of the very hospitable West Australin hosts. Does anyone recognise them? Remember it's 55 years ago so they will be + 55 years now!
    And who recognises oters in the photo? The man on exteme left? Who's that?

    Tim Gibbes

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Australian Motocross History