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Mister Motocross Series 1976

Mister Motocross Series 1976

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Mister Motocross extends to 5 rounds over 3 States

1976 MISTER MX SERIES - AMAROO (nsw), Wallan (VIC), CURROO (nsw), Clarendon (SA) & Amaroo (NSW)
1976 Golden Breed Managing Director John Arnold presents Mr Motocross winner Anthony Gunter with his big cheque
Mr Motocross Poster 1976

Photos: [Left] Golden Breed Managing Director John Arnold presents 1976 Mister Motocross winner Anthony Gunter with his big cheque at the final round at Amaroo Park, New South Wales; and [Right] The 1976 Golden Breed Mr. Motocross series promotional poster.

Gunter wins his first Mr. MX title held across three States

In 1976, we saw the Mister Motocross (Mr. MX) series go truly National extending the series to five rounds across three States.

Three rounds were still allocated to NSW, with the opening and closing rounds at Amaroo and one at Curroo Park. Victoria picked up a round at the legendary Wallan track while South Australia had a round pencilled in for the Clarendon track.

In 1976, the suspension on motocross bikes was progressed with nine inches the norm for front wheel travel and approximately eight inches at the rear. Suzuki released a complete range of RMs (125, 250 and 370) which were generally acknowledged as the top machinery that year. They were also the rage following newly crowned World 125cc Champion Gaston Rahier’s international promotional tour down under in 1975/76.

Following the success of the new Japanese two-strokes, motocross exploded across the country with record racing competition licenses issued. As a result, the sponsorship dollars came flooding in with Mr. MX promoter Vincent Tesoriero setting up contracts and sponsorships for many riders, with the top Australian riders now professional and clothing manufacturer Golden Breed becoming a major series sponsor.

The New South Wales Suzuki team of Geoff Worrell and Anthony Gunter dominated the series on their 370 Suzuki RMs with Gunter, from Wollongong, winning his first Mr. MX title that year, ending the Trevor and Gary Flood domination of the opening two years.

That year we also saw the debut of Australia’s youngest professional motocross racer in the Mr. MX series – emerging WA talent Alan McCarthy. He turned 17 on 11 February 1976 and finally qualified to race in New South Wales. At the 1975 Australian Championships in Sanford, Tasmania where Rahier clean swept three titles, McCarthy was the highest placed Australian in the 250cc class behind the internationals and second Aussie home in the 125s, finishing fifth and fourth overall, respectively.

Contracted to ride for the Cornell Suzuki motocross team in Mr. MX, McCarthy was given the opportunity to ride the two works RM Suzuki’s left behind by Rahier. As well as Gunter, Worrell and McCarthy, other emerging talents included: Yamaha rider Stephen Gall, who successfully debuted in Mr. MX towards the end of 1975, and Honda rider John Behrens – both from New South Wales.

Honda made a belated update with its all-red CR125M and CR250M, but they were superseded even before they were released. Only John Behrens could make the CR250M look competitive. Maico produced yet another range of fine-handling big bore machines and then backed it up by signing the likes of Victorians Jack Pengelly and Trevor Flood and New South Wales rider Brian Martin.

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1976 Allan McCarthy in action at Wallan - Round 2 Mr Motocross on the Works RM370 Suzuki - with insert
John Behrens Golden Breed Pepsi sponsored Honda motocross rider (with insert)

Photos: WA rider Alan McCarthy – the youngest ever Mr. MX rider at age 17 – in action at  Wallan, Victoria aboard the Works RM370 Suzuki ridden by reigning World Motocross Champion Gaston Rahier during the 1975/76 Suzuki International Tour down under; and [Right]  Another young emerging talent in 1976 was John Behrens from New South Wales aboard his Honda.

Gunter wins opening round at Amaroo Park

1976 Mr Motocross - Final - Round 1 Amaroo Park - Anthony Gunter

Young Wollongong rider Anthony Gunter downed the established stars on his 370 Suzuki to take the first round of the 1976 Mr. MX series at Amaroo Park on 11 April.

Gunter, aged 19, scored a first, a second and two third placings in the four six-lap races. He finished with 47 series points, six ahead of the inaugural series’ winner Trevor Flood and 10 ahead of young Geoff Worrell, of Wyong on the NSW Central Coast.

After three races, Gunter and Flood were locked together at the top of the points score, which meant the rider who finished in front of the other in the final fourth race would take the round, which Gunter did – finishing third behind Worrell and Western Australian Yamaha rider Graeme Smythe who finished fourth overall.

Danish expatriate Per Klitland was fifth on his 400 Yamaha, winning the first race. The youngest rider at the time to contest the Mr. MX series Alan McCarthy finished eighth against the Nation’s leading riders in his debut, behind Brian Martin, Hans Appelgren, Gall and Flood.

Photo: New South Wales rider Anthony Gunter in action at Amaroo Park  on his RM 370 Suzuki – winner of the opening Mr. MX round in 1976.

Reigning Mr. MX Gary Flood wins in Wallan

The Wallan track lived up to its notorious reputation for the Victorian round with only 10 riders finishing the round and only three of those riders accruing points from all four heats.

Reigning Mr, MX Gary Flood raced away with top points on his home track in Round 2 on 23 May 1976. Competing on a Bultaco 250 up against the bigger bikes, he finished 2-1-1-3 to accumulate 57 points and move up into third place in the overall series.

Suzuki rider Geoff Worrell was third overall on the day (5-4-4-2) on 23 points with his consistent performances over the opening two rounds see him take the series lead om 71 points.
Team mate Anthony Gunter was now one point behind him in second in the overall series on 70 points (4-DNF-3-6).

Another Suzuki rider, Victorian Steve Cramer won two races (1st and 4th) and finished second in the round on 30 points, despite not finishing the other races due to a crash and machine problems – moving up into the Top 10 overall.

Wallan was a disaster for many riders, including Stephen Gall and 1974 Mr. MX Trevor Flood on his modified Montesa, which let him down badly on the day.

Young Alan McCarthy’s works Suzuki stopped with plug trouble and he had no spare bike available. Discovering that under his contract he was supplied bikes, but no parts or mechanics, disappointed and homesick he gave up his contract and headed back home where he had the full support of Suzuki WA and his family. 

1975 Gary Flood Mr Motocross winner leads Brian Martin at Amaroo Park on 31 August 1975 - with insert
1976 Mr Motocross - Final - Amaroo Park - 2 Geoff Worrell - Runner-up Mr MX

Photos: [Top] Reigning Mr. MX Gary Flood won Round 2 of Mr. MX on his home Wallan track, then sensationally quit the series over a pay dispute  with promoter Vincent Tesoriero lingering on from the previous year; and [Bottom] Grace Bos Suzuki rider Geoff Worrell (NSW) led the series after two rounds.

Gall steals show in Clarendon after Curroo drama

1976 Grace Bros Motocross Team - Geoff Worrell (Suzuki), Brian Martin (Maico) and Stephen Gall (Yamaha)
Anthony Gunter Mr Motocross 1976 and 1977

There was much drama heading into round three at Curroo Park at Cessnock in the Hunter Valley (New South Wales) on 27 June 1976 when the reigning champion and round 2 winner Gary Flood refused to ride over a pay dispute.

Due to personal reasons, Flood was unable to take up his 1975 Mr. MX prize, which was a trip to compete in the United States. He felt that he was entitled to the money and decided that he would not compete in this series until he was paid. Promoter Vincent Tesoriero would not budge, so Round 2 at Wallan was his last ride in the National series.

With Gary Flood out and brother Trevor having a disastrous year on his Montesa, the 1976 Mr. MX series became a battle between the New South Wales Suzuki team of Anthony Gunter and Geoff Worrell on their 370 Suzuki RMs.

After Curroo, Gunter and Worrell were realistically the only riders who could win the series, although by season’s end a fast-improving young superstar in the making Stephen Gall announced he had now arrived on the scene.

Gall won Round 4 at Clarendon, South Australia on 1 August 1976 and, with one round remaining, had rocketed up into third overall with Gunter leading on 157 points, ahead of Worrell (143) and Gall (97) with Per Klitland and Mike Landman in the top 5.

Photo:  [Top] The 1976 Grace Bros Motocross Team competing in the Mr. MX series (L-R) Geoff Worrell (Suzuki), Brian Martin (Maico) and Stephen Gall (Yamaha); and [Bottom] ; With Gary Flood pulling out of the series, Anthony Gunter now led  the series ahead of Worrell and Gall after his SA win (By Peter Kitchingman)

Gall wins final round and Gunter the overall series

With 14 points separating Suzuki team mates Anthony Gunter and Geoff Worrell heading into the final round at Amaroo Park in New South Wales on 12 September 1976, Gunter had the advantage, but Worrell could win if he finished comfortably ahead of Gunter on the day.

Worrell won race 1 ahead of Yamaha rider Gall in second and Gunter third, reducing Gunter’s series lead to 9 points.  But with Gunter finishing 1-2 and Worell 4-6 in races 2 and 3, Gunter was now 12 points clear, meaning that Worrell would have to win the final race without Gunter finishing in the top 10 placings.

Gunter played the coolest of the cool, cruising home in seventh place in the final race with Worrell’s third placing behind Gall and WA rider Graeme Smythe, not enough to bridge the points gap.

Stephen Gall’s final round win, his second in a row, showed his enormous potential and he rocketed home to finish in third place on 151 points, behind Gunter (201) and Worrell (193).

A huge crowd was present at the prizemoney ceremony which saw Golden Breed Managing Director John Arnold present Gunter with a huge dummy check to the value of $1500 with the podium finishers all showering each other and the spectators with champagne to cap of the most successful Mr. MX season so far.

1976 Mr Motocross Round 5 Amaroo Park Anthony Gunter and Stephen Gall

Photo: 1976 Mr. MX  series winner Anthony Gunter  (NSW, Suzuki) with round winner  Stephen Gall (NSW, Yamaha) at the presentation ceremony on 12 September at Amaroo Park in NSW (By Peter Kitchingman)

1976 Mister Motocross Photo gallery

1976 Mr Motocross Poster

1976 Golden Breed Mr. Motocross series program cover

1976 Mr Motocross - Final - Amaroo Park - 23 S Gall, 2 Geoff Worrell, 35 Brian Martin, 191 John Behrens 37 Alan McCarthy (By Peter Kitchingman)

Riders get ready to race in the final Mr. MX round for 1976 at Amaroo Park on 12 September (left to right) – 23 Stephen Gall, 2 Geoff Worrell, 35 Brian Martin, 191 John Behrens and 37 Alan McCarthy (By Peter Kitchingman)

1976 Mr Motocross - Final - Amaroo Park - 2 Geoff Worrell
1976 Allan McCarthy, the youngest rider in the 1976 Mr Motocross series at Amaroo Park - By Peter Kitchingman

Photos: [Left] Geoff Worrell (NSW, Suzuki) finished second in the overall 1976 Mr. MX series, leading it after two rounds and only challenger to Gunter heading into the final round at Amaroo Park; and [Right] Allan McCarthy, the youngest rider to contest Mr. MX series  at Amaroo Park (By Peter Kitchingman)

1977 Peter Kalen - Amaroo Park startline for Mr MX series - By Peter Kitchingman
1976 Graeme Smythe at Amaroo Park Mr MX on ATCO Kawasaki (By Peter Kitchingman)
1976 Mike Landman at Amaroo Park (VIC, Yamaha) - By Peter Kitchingman

Photos: The opening round of the 1976 Mr. MX series at Amaroo Park – [Left] Peter Kalen (NSW, Husqvarna); [Centre] Graeme Smythe (WA, AMCO Kawasaki , who switched to Yamaha after this round); and [Right] Mike Landman (VIC, Yamaha) – By Peter Kitchingman

1976 Mister Motocross Final Overall Points

1976 Mr. MX  Anthony Gunter , NSW Suzuki

Anthony Gunter Mr Motocross 1976 and 1977 - Portrait

1. Anthony Gunter (Suzuki, NSW, 201 points)
2. Geoff Worrell (Suzuki, NSW, 182)
3. Stephen Gall (Yamaha, NSW, 153)
4. Per Klitland, (Yamaha, NSW, 105)
5. Mike Landman (Yamaha, VIC, 90)

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