Australian Motocross Championships Wanneroo 1979

Australian Motocross Championships Wanneroo 1979

Australian Motocross Championships Wanneroo

9 September 1979, hosted by the AJS Motorcycle club
1979 Pelle Grandquist won two National Championships at Wanneroo
1979 Australian Championships Wanneroo - Pelle Grandquist in action Sweden
Pelle Grandquist - Headshot
1979 Australian Championships Wanneroo - Presentations - Pelle Grandquist and Kevin Russell popping champagne

Australian Motocross Champion Pelle Granquist – Winner of 250 and 500cc classes at the 1979 Australian Championships at the Wanneroo circuit in Western Australia (All photos by Peter Kitchingman)

Granquist creates history at the 1979 Wanneroo Australian Motocross Championships

Swedish expatriate Pelle Granquist – the reigning Australian 250/500cc Motocross Champion – became the first and only rider to win back-to-back National titles in these classes in the same years.

Riding a Husqvarna, Granquist caught Australian motocross champions Stephen Gall (Yamaha) and Anthony Gunter (Suzuki) by surprise a year earlier in 1978 at Broadford (VIC) to win the 250/500 double. 

Then a year later, he repeated this feat in the deep sandy conditions on 9 September at the Wanneroo Park circuit in WA, surprising the Sandgropers on home soil.

The 1979 Championships, which were hosted by the AJS Motor Cycle Club and planned to coincide with the State’s 150th Anniversary “Way ’79 Celebration”, created so many memorable stories and will go down in history.

As well as Granqist’s wins, local WA rider Neville Cutts from Manjimup won the Unlimited class riding the same RN500 works Suzuki that Anthony Gunter (VIC) clinched the Mr Motocross series a week earlier.

Shane Kirkpatrick won the 125cc class on a Husqvarna on a countback, after tying on points with Stephen Gall, with both riders winning a leg each.

And another local Jeff Leisk won his first Motorcycling Australia Championship in the Junior class aboard a Honda, launching his incredible career.

Click above to contribute results or content to the Australian Motocross History website, or email:

Australian Motocross History Logo - Low resolution

To receive FREE Australian Motocross Championship list updates, eNews and new video releases.

Subscribe Australian Motocross History Website News

Wanneroo Australian Championship Race report

The racing was fast and furious with Granqvist continuing on his form from 1978. He was more at home in the soft sand and continuous whoop-de-doos, compared to the eastern states riders. 

In fact, he almost won three titles at Wanneroo – winning five races on the day, but unable to finish the first Unlimited moto due to a mechanical failure.

In each of the 500cc motos Granquist increased his lead from the start ahead of Neville Cutts (Suzuki) and Trevor Williams (Kawasaki), although Cutts won the holeshot in the second leg, much to the delight of the large local crowd.  

The overall placings were the same with Granquist winning both motos ahead of Cutts (2-2) and Williams (3-3).

Local hero Graeme Smythe was favourite to win the 250cc title on his home circuit, but struggled on the day with the set-up of his brand new YZ250.  

After finishing second to Granquist in the first leg, he only managed a sixth in the second moto, with another local Kevin Russell finishing second overall with a 4-3 finish on his Kawasaki.

1978 Mr Motocross Champion Stephen Gall was expected to win his first Australian Championship in the 125cc Championship and he came awfully close.  

He won the second leg, after finishing third in the first behind Bunbury rider Shane Kirkpatrick (Husqvarna) and Max Stipanicev (Honda).

But the placings were reversed in the first moto and Gall (3-1) tied on points with Kirkpatrick (1-3) but lost on a countback as Kirkpatrick set the fastest time in the opening moto. Stipanicev was third overall with two second placings.

Riding a Honda, Jeff Leisk won the first of his Australian titles in the Restricted Licence Holders (Junior) event, winning both races with a finesse and command similar to that of Granqvist.  

Rick Speak (Suzuki, 2-4) finished in second on equal points ahead of Bunbury rider Michael Sears (Yamaha, 3-3) , also on a countback.

1979 Australian Championships Wanneroo - Graeme Smythe

Local hero Graeme Smythe struggled with the set-up of his new Yamaha YZ250 

1979 Australian Championships Wanneroo - Stephen Gall

Stephen Gall (NSW, Yamaha) just missed out on his first title in the 125ss on a countback

Cutts wins Unlimited title on Gunter's works RN500 Suzuki

The Unlimited title was won by Neville Cutts in a “one only” ride on the works RN500 Suzuki, which Gunter had ridden in the final round of the Mr. MX series.

For Cutts, his dream of an Australian title had finally been realised, but for Gunter it must have been a bitter pill to swallow – finishing ahead of Cutts in the second moto.

His performances in the final round of the Mr MX series were magnificent. He went to the final round at Amaroo with only one chance at winning the title – he had to win all four heats. He did, and at the end of the day he had won the title for the third time. 

Stephen Gall and Graeme Smythe tied for second place, five points behind Gunter.  Smythe was third in the Unlimited class at Wanneroo on a Yamaha YZ400.

1979 Australian Motocross Championships - Neville Cutts Works Suzuki on trailer

Neville Cutt’s RN500 Works Suzuki arrives at Wanneroo, the same bike Gunter won the final Mr MX series round on a week earlier

1979 Australian Championships Wanneroo - By Warren Jack - Neville Cutts

Unlimited winner Neville Cutts (WA) riding the Works RN500 Suzuki

1979 Australian Championships Wanneroo - By Warren Jack - Anthony Gunter

Runner-up Australian Unlimited Champion Anthony Gunter (NSW, Suzuki 400)

Sidecar ace Buckley misses both titles at Wanneroo

In the sidecars, South Australians David Wells-Trevor Thompson (Norton WASP) and Geoff Taylor-Peter Menz (Kawasaki WASP) upset sidecar ace Barry Buckley and Russell Elmi (Norton WASP) to win the Unlimited and Junior Sidecar Championships, respectively.

Wells-Thompson (1-1) held off Buckley-Elmi (2-2) in both Unlimited motos to win their first Australian Championship. The local Fanderlinden brothers, Wayne and Dean (Norton WASP), finished third overall with two third placings.

Buckley was unlucky not to win the Junior Sidecar Championship, winning the second moto after retiring in the first with mechanical problems on his Yamaha WASP. 

The 15 points he scored for this win was enough to secure third overall behind Taylor-Menz and locals, Cliff Cook-Jeff Holmes (Yamaha-WASP).

1979 Australian Motocross Championships Wanneroo - Barry Buckley and Russell Elmi SA lead in the 1000cc class

South Australian sidecar legend Barry Buckley & Russell Elmi lead the  Unlimited class

Race day photos

By Peter Kitchingman

1979 Australian Motocross Championships Wanneroo - All Power winner Nevile Cutts on third place getter Graeme Smythe's shoulders

Presentation ceremony – All Powers winner Neville Cutts celebrates with Graeme Smythe his Duke of Edinburgh and WA’s top rider awards

1979 Australian Championships Wanneroo - Presentations - L-R Max Stipanicev, Neville Cutts and Stephen Gall

125cc winners – [L-R] Max Stipanicev (3rd), Shane Kirpatrick (1st) and Stephen Gall, NSW (2nd) on a countback

1979 Australian Championships Wanneroo - Presentations -Sidecars - David Wells-Trevor Thompson and Barry Buckley (left)

Unlimited sidecar winners, SA – David Wells [far right] with passenger Trevor Thompson [centre] and runner-up Barry Buckley

1979 Australian Championships Wanneroo - Terry Wigzell SA 250cc

Terry Wigzell (SA) ahead of Stewart McLaughlin (QLD) in the 250cc class in the quarry section at Wanneroo

1979 Australian Motocross Championships Wanneroo - RLH class Rick Speak No.28 v2

The start of the Junior class race.  Rick Speak (28) finished second behind Jeff Leisk who is already ahead of the pack

1979 Australian Championships Wanneroo - Sidecars - David Wells-Trevor Thompson and Barry Buckley-Russell Elmi

David Wells-Trevor Thompson (SA) lead Barry Buckley-Russell Elmi (SA) in the 1000cc sidecar class

1979 Australian Championships Wanneroo - Trevor Williams (4) leads Stephen Gall (3) in the 125cc class

Trevor Williams (4, VIC) leads Stephen Gall (3, NSW) in the 125cc class

1979 Australian Championships Wanneroo - Quarry section

Racing through the quarry section of the Wanneroo Park circuit

1979 Australian Motocross Championships Wanneroo - Wayne and Dean Fanderlinden 3rd in 1000cc class

Local riders Wayne and Dean Fanderlinden finished third in the 1000cc sidecar class

Motocross Championship Results


1 Shane Kirkpatrick 1-3 (WA, Husqvarna)

2 Stephen Gall 3-1 (NSW, Yamaha)

3 Max Stipanicev 2-2  (WA, Honda)


1 Pelle Granquist 1-1 (Sweden, Husqvarna)

2 Kevin Russell 4-3 (WA, Kawasaki)

3 Graeme Smythe 2-6 (WA, Yamaha)


1 Pelle Granquist 1-1 (Sweden, Husqvarna)

2 Neville Cutts 2-2 (WA, Suzuki)

3 Trevor Williams 3-3 (VIC, Kawasaki)


1 Neville Cutts 1-3 (WA, Suzuki)

2 Anthony Gunter 3-2 (NSW, Suzuki)

3 Graeme Smythe 2-4 (WA, Yamaha)

650cc Sidecars

1 Kevin Taylor – Geoff Graetz 1-2 (SA, Kawasaki Wasp)

2 Cliff Cook – Jeff Holmes 2-3 (WA, Yamaha Wasp)

3 Barry Buckley –  Russell Elmi 0-1 (SA, Yamaha Wasp)

1000cc Sidecars

1 David Wells – Trevor Thompson  1-1 (SA, Norton Wasp)

2 Barry Buckley –  Russell Elmi 2-2 (SA, Norton Wasp)

3 Wayne Fanderlinden – Dean Fanderlinden 3-3 (WA, Norton Wasp)

Restricted License Holders


1 Jeff Leisk 1-1 (WA, Honda)

Rick Speak 2-4 (WA)

3 Michael Sears 3-3 (WA)

1979 Australian Motocross Championships Wanneroo WA Program

Click here to view the event program.
Click here to view newspaper article
Click here to view Australian Dirt Bike review

1979 Pelle Grandquist won two National Championships at Wanneroo

Other Australian Championship results and photos

Click on the links below to view Australian Motocross Championship results back to 1953, event photos or rider profiles.

Australian Motocross Champions

Photo Gallery Australian Championship Events

Australian Motocross Rider Online Feature Stories

Stay connected through social media

Mr Motocross
Legends and Stars

Mr Motocross Legends and Stars

Old Stars WA
Motocross Group

Old Stars WA Motocross Group

WA Motocross

Western Australian Motocross Memories

Legends of

Legends of Sidecarcross

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Australian Motocross History