Mister Motocross Series 1979

Mister Motocross Series 1979

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Mister Motocross series over four rounds

1979 MISTER MX SERIES - BROADFORD (VIC), Tivolli (QLD), Clarendon (SA), Amaroo (NSW)
1979 Mr Motocross Anthony Gunter with works Suzuki
1979 Mr Motocross - Anthony Gunter wins third title

Photos: [Left to right]  Anthony Gunter rolls out a brand new works Suzuki RM 400 in the final  at Amaroo Park in 1979; and celebrating his third Mr. MX title

Gunter pulls out secret weapon in final to snatch third Mr. MX

New South Wales rider Anthony Gunter won his third Mister Motocross (Mr. MX) title after overtaking series leader and reigning champion Stephen Gall in a thrilling final in front of 8,000 people at Amaroo Park (NSW) on 2 September 1979.

Armed Grunt with a works Suzuki RM400, which he secured just 4 days before the race from Neville Cutt’s Suzuki team in the West, won all four heats in the final, coming from well behind in the points table at the start of the day.

The 1979 series was sponsored by Pepsi, Golden Breed and TAA and run over four rounds – Broadford (VIC) 13 May, 2 Tivoli (QLD) 3 June, Clarendon (SA) 9 July and Amaroo (NSW) on 2 Sept.  The only change that year was the Victorian round, with the venue switching from Wallan to Broadford.

Heading into the new season, Gunter had won two Mr. MX titles (1976 and 1977) with Gall ending Gunter’s reign in 1978.  

The Pepsi team mates had some classic battles throughout their careers so far and 1979 would prove to be no different – in fact even more exciting.


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Smythe wins opener at Broadford over Granqvist

Western Australian rider Graeme Smythe (Yamaha 400) started the series on a high note, sharing the lead with Swede Pelle Granqvist after Round One. The pair tied on equal points (50) after the four races, but Smythe was declared the winner with faster times.

Reigning Mr. MX Stephen Gall (NSW, Yamaha) finished in fourth on 23 points, behind South Australian Steve Rowlands (Honda) on 39 points.

Anthony Gunter started the series with a dismal display to finish in fifth (18) ahead of Mark Hill (VIC, Suzuki) on 15 points.  Four starts, four crashes and only 21 points to his credit left Gunter in bad shape with little chance of winning his third Mr Motocross crown.

1979 Mr Motocross - Graeme Smythe and Pelle Granquist joint winners in opening round at Broadford

Graeme Smythe (WA, Yamaha 400)  – Round 1 winner at the opening Mr. MX round  for 1979 at Broadford in Victoria on equal points with Pelle Granqvist (Sweden, Husqvarna) with South Australian Steve Rowlands (Honda) in third.

Gall decisively wins Round 2 at Tivoli

1979 Start of round 2 at Tivoli Mr Motocross

Stephen Gall decisively won the second round at Tivoli (SA) on his Yamaha 400 in dusty conditions.  He won three out of four heats to score 51 points, ahead of Smythe in Second (38) and Gunter in third (33).

Seventeen-year-old Victorian Mark Hill won the third heat on a 250cc Suzuki, which gave away 150ccs to many of his rivals.

Gunter had another bad round, injuring his back and looking like a dead loss for the series in fourth overall on 54 points.

Mike Landman  (V1, Yamaha) wins the start of a Mr. Motocross round at Tivoli in 1979, with eventual series leader  Anthony Gunter  (NSW, 2) behind him.

Gunter recovers form to win Clarendon round

Heading into Round 3 at Clarendon (SA), Gall was 13 points behind the series leader Graeme Smythe (88 points) and one point behind Pelle Granquist (76). Gunter was fourth overall on 54 points.

With Smythe indicating that he rode under duress in Tivoli after twisting his ankle in practice, he was expected to again challenge for the lead after his 1-2 places in the opening rounds.

But Gunter had a complete form reversal at Clarendon and shot up the leader board into third place behind Smythe and Gall with just one round remaining.

1979 Mr Motocross Clarendon SA - Graeme Smythe and Pelle Granquist - By Mick Dillon
1979 Mr Motocross Clarendon SA - Darryl Willoughby - By Mick Dillon
1979 Mr Motocross Clarendon SA Round winner - Anthony Gunter - By Mick Dillon

Photos: [Left] Graeme Smythe (WA, Yamaha) and Pelle Granquist (Sweden, Husqvarna) dualling at Clarendon, [Centre] local rider Darryl Willoughby (SA, Yamaha) and [Right] Clarendon round winner  Anthony Gunter (NSW, Suzuki) (By Mick Dillon)

Gall wins final Amaroo round after nervous start

Stephen Gall at the 1979 opening round of Mr MX in Queensland

Photo: 1979 Mr. Motocross – Stephen Gall (NSW, Yamaha)

The fourth and final round at Amaroo Park turned out to be another memorable Mr. MX finish, with any one of four riders in with a chance –Graeme Smythe (WA, Yamaha), Gall (NSW, Yamaha), and Gunter (NSW, Suzuki) and Granqvist (Sweden, Husqvarna).

Gunter knew that to win the series he had the almost impossible task of needing four straight wins.  But he pulled out an Ace card and lined up with a “secret weapon” – a 420 Suzuki works bike – and he did just that!

Gunter convincingly won all four races and won the Mr. MX title for the third time to etch his name in the history books and take home $5,000 in prizemoney.  He finished on 171 points, just 5 points ahead of Gall and Smythe who tied for second place (166).

Up and coming junior Peter Carney was the inaugural winner of the “Kid Motocross” series which was started that year and ran in conjunction with Mr. Motocross. 


1979 Mister Motocross Photo gallery

1979 Mr Motocross Tivolli Queensland - Graeme Smythe, Anthony Gunter and more at the start

Graeme Smythe (02, WA, Yamaha) leads Stephen Gall (NSW 1, Yamaha) in round 2  of Mr Motocross at Tivoli  in Queensland

1979 Anthony Gunter wins Mr Motocross on a works Suzuki at Amaroo Park NSW

Gunter had to win all races in the final at Amaroo Park on his Works Suzuki RM400, which he did to become the first rider to win three Mr. Motocross titles

1979 Mr MX Poster
1979 Mr Motocross Clarendon SA start with Darryl Willoughby - By Mick Dillon
1979 Mr Motocross Clarendon SA - Darryl Willoughby - By Mick Dillon

{Left] 1979 Pepsi Golden Breed Mister Motocross promotional poster; and South Australian motocross legend Darryl Willoughby (16)  at the start (centre) and in action (right) the middle (By Mick Dillon)

1979 Mister Motocross Final Overall Points

1979 Mr. Motocross Anthony Gunter

1979 Mr Motocross - Anthony Gunter wins third title

1. Anthony Gunter (NSW, Suzuki, 171)
2. Stephen Gall (NSW, Yamaha, 166)
3. Graeme Smythe (WA, Yamaha, 166)
4. Pelle Granqvist (Sweden, Husqvarna)

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