Gibbes’ success at the Czechoslovakian and Polish 250cc Grand Prix events

Gibbes’ success at the Czechoslovakian and Polish 250cc Grand Prix events

Gibbes' success at two Motocross GPs in 1960

Tim Gibbes - 500cc International Challenge winner at the 1960 European motocross Grand Prix in Czechoslovakia
Dave Bickers (UK) - European 250cc Motocross Champion 1960 and 1961
1960 Program Cover 250 Motocross Grand Prix Czechoslovakia - Tim Gibbes

Photos  [Left to right] :  Australian Tim Gibbes at the 1960 European 250cc Motocross Grand Prix in Czechoslovakia – pictured here on his 500cc AJS after winning the International Challenge; 1960 European Champion Dave Bickers (UK) who finished third in Prague; and the program cover (Tim Gibbes Collection).

Gibbes’ big days at the 1960 Czecho-slovakian and Polish 250cc GP events

In 1960, Australian Tim Gibbes competed at the Czechoslovakian and Polish Motocross Grand Prix events on 22 and 29 May, respectively.  The events included Rounds 4 and 5 of the 250cc European Motocross Championship, as well as a 500cc International Challenge, with Gibbes competing in all events on his AJS and Matchless machines.

Top British riders Dave Bickers (Greeves) and Jeff Smith (BSA) competed at both GPs, with the pair finishing 1-2 in the European 250cc title that year, with the races held over two 45 minutes, plus 2 laps.

Czechoslovakian rider Miloslav Soucek (ESO) won his home Grand Prix at the Sarka Circuit in the capital city of Prague, finishing 1-2 (3 points) in the two motos, which went for 16 laps, ahead of Smith (5-1, 6) and Bickers (4-4, 8).

Gibbes was competitive against the World’s best, but broke the rear brake arm on his 250cc AJS machine in one of the three motos. But everything went right for him in the 500cc International Challenge on the day with Gibbes winning the overall event on his 500cc AJS Matchless, which too was held over three long races.

According to Gibbes, he rode six hours that day – 5 races of 45 minutes plus two laps, plus practice.

“In those days there were no podiums, presentations, National Anthems, sponsor decals,” Gibbes said. “They simply hung a wreath over the winning rider and gave them a trophy.”

The 500cc International field included fellow Australians Bob Walpole and Ray Fisher, along with New Zealand’s Ken Cleghorn. Gibbes became close friends with Cleghorn and would later marry his sister Joan and they settled in New Zealand.

The following week, Gibbes did it all again at the Polish Grand Prix on 29 May 1960, finishing fifth overall in the 250cc Grand Prix at a circuit between Katowice and Zabrze in the south east of Poland.

Gibbes finished ahead of Smith in sixth, with Bickers winning both motos to score maximum points on the day and extend his lead in the European 250cc Motocross Championship.

It was two years later (1962) when the 250cc European Championship was elevated to World Championship status. The first World 500cc title was held in 1957.

Gibbes also won the 500cc International Challenge that day.

1960 Program 250 Motocross Grand Prix Czechoslovakia - 250 Riders List - Tim Gibbes
1960 Program 250 Motocross Grand Prix Czechoslovakia - 500 International Riders List - Tim Gibbes

Images: The 1960 Program 250 Motocross Grand Prix competitors in Czechoslovakia  – 250 GP event (top) and 500cc International Riders List (bottom), featuring Australians Tim Gibbes, Ray Fisher and Bob Walpole. 

European 250cc Motocross Grand Prix Results

Round 4 - Czech.

22 May 1960, Sarka, Prague

Round 5 - Poland

29 May 1960, Katowice-Zabrze

Overall – Round 4 (Czechoslovakia)
1. Miloslav Soucek, Czech, ESO (1-2, 3 pts)
2. Jeff Smith, England, BSA (5-1, 6 pts)
3. Dave Bickers, England, Greeves (4-4, 8 pts)
4. Lennart Dahlén, Sweden, Husqvarna (6-3, 9 pts)
5. Vlastimil Valek, Czech, CZ (3-DNF)
6. Josef Chara, Czech, Jawa (DNF-5)

Overall – Round 5 (Poland)
1. Dave Bickers, England, Greeves (1-1, 2 pts)
2. Miloslav Soucek, Czech, CZ (3-3, 6 pts)
3. Vlastimil Valek, Czech, (5-4, 9 pts)
4. Arnošt Zemen, Czech,CZ (4-DNF)
5. Tim Gibbes, Australia, AJS (6-5, 11 pts)
6. Jeff Smith, England, BSA (2-DNF)

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