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Australian Motocross Championships Acusa Park 1977

Australian Motocross Championships Acusa Park 1977

Australian Motocross Championships Acusa Park

16 October 1977, ACUSA PARK, ADELAIDE - SOUTH AUSTRALIA
1977 Australian Unlimited Title Acusa Park SA - Anthony Gunter 1, Graeme Smythe 2, Ivan Miller 3
1977 Australian Motocross Championships at Acusa Park - 500cc winners - Graeme Smythe (centre), Dave Fullston (left) and Jack Pengelly
1977 Dave Fullston in action at the Australian Motocross Championships at Acusa Park SA

Photos: [L-R]  Newly crowned Australian Unlimited  Motocross Champion Anthony Gunter (Kawasaki, NSW) with  Ivan Miller (Suzuki, NZ) and Graeme Smythe (WA, Yamaha) at  Acusa Park, SA in 1977; the 500cc winners – Smythe (109), Dave Fulston (15) and Jack Pengelly (12); and Fulston in action at the event

Gunter wins the Unlimited and 250cc Australian titles at Acusa Park, Adelaide

New South Wales Suzuki rider Anthony Gunter was the rider to beat at the 1977 Australian Motocross Championships at Acusa Park, Adelaide in South Australia – winning back-to-back Mr Motocross titles in 1976-77.

After mechanical problems let him down at the 1976 Australian Championships at Tivoli (QLD) on 16 October 1977, Gunter finally secured his first Australian titles – winning both the 250cc and Unlimited titles.

Motocross in Australia boomed during the late 1970s due largely to the breakthrough in technology with the release of the lightweight Japanese two-stroke machines and Suzuki promotional tours down under, following Belgium rider Gaston Rahier’s World Championship wins.

The Mr. Motocross series really blossomed in 1977 with good backing, a big budget and inclusion of New Zealand. 1977 was also the first year in which Hang 10 sponsored the Australian championships – with qualifiers and in some cases, State championships too.

Gunter won his first National title in the 250cc class at Acusa Park – winning both legs in easy fashion, after disposing of Mark Pace (NSW, Honda) and Stephen Gall (NSW, Yamaha), he saved his best ride of the year to win the Unlimited title too.

After leading the first race from Ivan Miller, Geoff Ballard, Hans Applegren, Graeme Smythe, Stephen Gall, Mike Landman, Stephen Dinsdale and Dave Fulston, he had a flat rear tyre at the half way mark. He didn’t pull out however, he just kept on riding at a slightly reduced pace.

Gunter’s determination gave him third place, and in the second leg he won by a considerable margin, winning the Unlimited class overall ahead of New Zealand legend Ivan Miller (NZ, Suzuki) and Graeme Smythe (WA, Yamaha).

Smythe, who switched to a YZ400 after a disappointing year on Kawasaki, capped off a great meeting winning the 500cc title ahead of David Fulston (SA, Husqvarna) and Jack Pengelly (VIC, Maico).

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Local hero - Willoughby wins the 125 title on return from the US

Darryl Willoughby 1977 Australian 125cc Champion, riding a Honda

After returning from racing in America, local rider Darryl Willoughby convincingly won the Australian 125cc Championship at Acusa Park in South Australia.

After spending the early months of 1977 in America, racing with the FMF team and honing his skills, South Australian rider Darryl Willoughby won the 125cc title – winning both legs on a Honda to take the crown from Neville Cutts (WA, Suzuki) and Mark Pace (NSW, Honda).

In the sidecars South Australian ace Barry Buckley won both the Junior and Unlimited Sidecarcross titles, having won his first back in 1973 with Randy Harris in the chair at Foster Park, Mulbring (NSW).

At Acusa Park, Buckley won with Randy’s brother Chris as his new passenger – winning the Junior Sidecars on a Yamaha Wasp ahead of Bob Richards – John Richards (Suzuki Wasp) and Jeff Lucas – Adrian Bird (SA, Yamaha Wasp).

Buckley-Harris just held off to win the Unlimited Sidecars on a Norton Wasp ahead of fellow crow-eaters David Wells – Geoffrey Graetz (Norton Wasp) who pushed the leaders right to the finish line (see photo below), with Phil Franklin – Peter Menz (Suzuki Wasp) in third.

Barry Buckley-Chris Harris hold of David Wells-Geoffrey Graetz the 1977 Australian Championships
1977 Australian Motocross Championships Acusa Park SA - Darryl Willoughby, Neville Cutts, Mark Pace and Danny Reilly

Left: Barry Buckley-Chris Harris (SA, Norton Wasp) hold of David Wells-Geoffrey Graetz (SA, Norton Wasp) in the Unlimited Sidecar class; and [right] 125cc winners Darryl Willoughby (SA), Neville Cutts (WA), Mark Pace  (NSW) and Danny Reilly (SA).

1977 Australian Motocross Championship Results

125cc

1. Darryl Willoughby (SA, Honda)
2. Neville Cutts (WA, Suzuki)
3. Mark Pace (NSW, Honda)

250cc

1. Anthony Gunter (NSW, Suzuki)
2. Mark Pace (NSW, Honda)
3. 
Stephen Gall (NSW, Yamaha)

500cc

1. Graeme Smythe (WA, Yamaha)
2. David Fulston (SA, Husqvarna)
3. 
Jack Pengelly (VIC, Maico)

Unlimited

1. Anthony Gunter (NSW, Suzuki)
2. Ivan Miller (NZ, Suzuki)
3. Graeme Smythe (WA, Yamaha)

Junior Sidecars

1. Barry Buckley – Chris Harris (SA, Yamaha Wasp)
2. Bob Richards – John Richards (Suzuki Wasp)
3. 
Jeff Lucas – Adrian Bird (SA, Yamaha Wasp)

Unlimited Sidecars

1. Barry Buckley – Chris Harris (SA, Norton Wasp)
2. David Wells – Geoffrey Graetz (SA, Norton Wasp)
3. 
Phil Franklin – Peter Menz (SA, Suzuki Wasp)

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