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Mister Motocross Series 1978

Mister Motocross Series 1978

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Mister Motocross series cut back to four rounds

1978 MISTER MX SERIES - Tivolli (QLD), Wallan (VIC), Clarendon (SA), Amaroo (NSW)
1978 Mr Motocross Round 1 Tivoli QLD - Mike Landman, Stephen Gall, Dave Fullston
1978 Mr Motocross Round 1 Tivoli QLD - Stephen Gall - By Neil Laracy
1978 Pelle Granquist - Round 3 Clarendon with Stephen Gall (3rd) and Trevor Flood (2nd)

Photos: [Left to right] Mike Landman (VIC, Yamaha) wins the start in Round 1 of Mister Motocross at Tivoli on 28 May 1978 ahead of Dave Fullston (SA, Husqvarna) and Stephen Gall (NSW, Yamaha); Gall in action at Tivoli (by Neil Laracy); and Swedish expatriate Pelle Granquist gave the 1978 title a real shake after winning  back-to-back rounds at Clarendon in South Australia in wet conditions ahead of Trevor Flood (2nd) and Gall (3rd).

Gall wins his first Mr MX title after blitzing the final round

New South Wales rider Stephen Gall blitzed the final Mr Motocross (Mr MX) round at Amaroo Park on 10 September 1978 to clinch his first title in this prestigious series.

The 1978 series – sponsored by Pepsi and Golden Breed – was run over four rounds – at Tivoli (QLD), Owen Park, Wallan (VIC), Clarendon (SA) and Amaroo Park (NSW) with the New Zealand and Western Australian rounds dropped due to transport costs.

After winning two Mr MX titles in a row, Anthony Gunter (NSW, Suzuki) was keen to make it a hat-trick and Gall (NSW, Yamaha) was equally as determined to break through for his first series win, after showing so much promise the year before.

Victorian Trevor Flood – the inaugural 1974 Mr. MX champion, was also keen to win another title. While the veteran’s condition could no longer stand the distance in the longer races, he still had all the talent required to win the short, sharp, four six lap races format of Mr. MX.

That year also saw the arrival of Swedish expatriate Pelle Granquist, who was based in New South Wales. Granquist was brought out to Australia by Husqvarna and rode for the new Australian Husqvarna dealer Rick Andrews and was also working there part-time.

He went on to have a great season winning the Australian 250 and 500cc Championship double and, aboard a Husqvarna, was the only brand to challenge the Japanese Yamaha and Suzuki machines.

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Gunter on track for hat-trick after win at Tivoli

The opening round at Tivoli on 28 May, however, didn’t start well for Gall when his engine stopped while leading the first leg in the dry, hot and dusty conditions. His determination was on full show though when he sprinted 100 meters to push his Yamaha over the line, hoping to pick up some valuable points, without any luck.

But Gall made amends in the remaining three legs to finish just one point behind Gunter in overall first place on 38 points, with young Mark Pace finishing third on a 250cc Honda.

Best of friends, but archrivals on the track, Gall and Gunter had some great duals on the day with the pair getting tangled together mid-way during the third race and coming to a momentary stop at the front of the field.

Gall recovered first in that race, but Gunter was the overall winner (38 points) with Gall (37) just one one point off the lead with Mark Pace in third (34). Trevor Flood was fourth, just three points behind Pace.  After the opening round, Gunter was on track to win three Mr. MX titles in a row.

 

1978 Mr Motocross Round 1 Tivoli QLD - Anthony Gunter 1st, Stephen Gall 2nd and Mark Pace third

Reigning Mr. MX  Anthony Gunter won  the overall round at Tivoli, pictured here with Stephen Gall, Mark Pace and Channel 9 media celebrity Jackie McDonald .

Granquist wins Round 2 in the wet at Wallan

1978 Stephen Gall - Round 2 Owen Park, Wallan1978 Stephen Gall - Round 2 Owen Park, Wallan

Pelle Granquist won round 2 at Wallan ahead of Stephen Gall and Mike Landman

In stark contrast to the opening round in Queensland, Round 2 at Owen Park in Wallan, Victoria on 9 June was a mud bath.

The wet conditions suited the Swede Pelle Granquist who the overall round on 45 points, three points ahead of Gall (42) – after Gall’s Yamaha engine blew up in the final leg.

Mike Landman finished in third (37). After winning the first race on his Yamaha, the Victorian crashed heavily in the second race and recovered to finish on the podium.

Anthony Gunter had a disastrous day, injuring his back in a fall in the second leg. Although he still scored enough points to narrowly lead the series, ahead of Gall, after finishing fourth on the day (27), three points ahead of Flood (24).

Granquist wins at Clarendon to challenge leaders

The gods were on Granquist’s side at Clarendon in South Australia on 20 July when the wet weather again suited him.

Granquist blitzed the field to win the first three heats, before crashing out in the fourth, taking his second overall round win in a row. Scoring 48 points, he drew within 12 points of Stephen Gall with just one round to go and was in a very good position to win the series.

Gall, who finished third overall at Clarendon on 40 points, was dirty on himself when he was caught off guard by Trevor Flood in the final leg while leading, who pipped him on the finish line, as well as in the overall points on the day to finish second on 47 points, just one point behind Granquist.

Victorian Maico rider Jack Pengelly was fourth overall (24), two points ahead of Anthony Gunter (22), who was slipping down the leader board and was unlikely to retain his Mr. MX title.

1978 Pelle Granquist - 250 and 500 Australian Motocross Champion

Photo: 1978 Mr. MX Clarendon (SA) winner Pelle Granquist  (Sweden, Husqvarna)

Gall wins final Amaroo round after nervous start

1978 Stephen Gall - Mr MX Round 1 in Queensland
Stephen Gall - In 1978 Stephen Gall turned professional and joined mate Anthony Gunter in the Pepsi MX Team

Heading into round 4 at Amaroo Park on 10 September 1978, three riders were in contention to win the Mr. MX series. Stephen Gall was on 119 points, just 12 ahead of Pelle Granquist (107) and 17 ahead of Trevor Flood.

Reigning Mr. MX Anthony Gunter was in fourth on 88 points, was no longer in contention to make it three titles in a row after injuring his back at Wallan and Mike Landman was in fifth on 67 points.  Gall also had challenges in 1978 with engine failures and injuries, nursing an injured wrist from a crash at Foster Park two weeks earlier.

More than 12,000 people turned up for this final round in beautiful conditions to see if Gall would clinch his first Mr. MX crown. But it was a nervous start for Gall whose engine stopped again while he was leading the first race.

Fortunately for Gall, WA rider Graeme Smythe – who did not compete in any of the earlier rounds -won the race and took valuable points away from Granquist and Flood.  Gall recovered to win the remaining three legs and clinched his first Mr. MX crown on 164 points ahead of Trevor Flood on 131 points, who pipped Pelle Granquist by just one point (130). Anthony Gunter finished fourth (118) with Mike Landman (76) rounding out the Top 5.

After showing so much promise in his debut at Mr. MX in 1976, and storming home to win the final round in 1977, in his second full series, Stephen Gall took out Australia’s most prestigious motocross championship and would go on to dominate this series for many years to come.

Photos: After a nervous start in the final round at Amaroo Park when his Yamaha engine seized, Gall recovered to win the final three races to take out the 1978 Mr. MX series from Pepsi teammate and reigning champion Anthony Gunter (below).

1978 Mister Motocross Photo gallery

1978 Mr Motocross Poster

1978 Pepsi Golden Breed Mister Motocross promotional poster

Trevor Flood in action

Inuaugural Mr, MX Champion Trevor Flood (VIC, Yamaha) finished second in 1978, beating Granquist by one point

Gunter and Gall in action

Anthony Gunter (1, NSW,  Suzuki) leads Stephen Gall (2, NSW Yamaha) The pair had some incredible duals in 1978 and throughout their careers 

1978 Stephen Gall - Australian Championship Program
1978 Australian Motocross Championship Program - Jack Pengally
1978 Mike Landman - Round 3 Owen Park, Wallan

Round 2 action at Owen Park, Wallan in Victoria – Stephen Gall (2, NSW, Yamaha), Jack Pengelly (12, VIC, Maico) and Mike Landman (45, VIC, Yamaha)

1978 Mister Motocross Final Overall Points

1978 Mr Motocross Stephen Gall

1978 Mr. MX  Stephen Gall 

1. Stephen Gall (NSW, Yamaha), 164 points
 2. Trevor Flood (VIC, Yamaha), 131 
3. Pelle Granquist, (Sweden, Husqvarna), 130
4. Anthony Gunter (NSW, Suzuki), 118
5. Mike Landman  (VIC, Yamaha), 76

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