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Mister Motocross Series 1981

Mister Motocross Series 1981

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1981 Mister Motocross series over five rounds

1981 MISTER MX SERIES - broadford (vic), TIVOLI (QLD), canberra (ACT), CLARENDON (sa), AND Amaroo (NSW)
1981 Mr Motocross - Round 3 Fairbairn PArk Canberra - Stephen Gall, Trevor Williams and Anthony Gunter
1981 - Stephen Gall Mr MX Tivoli - By Chris Gatehouse
Gall with the factory 500 Yamaha works bike that helped him win the 1981 Mr MX series

Photos:  [Left] Stephen Gall wins  round 3 of  the Mr. MX series at Fairbairn Park in Canberra in 1981; [Top right} Gall  was in a class of his own in Round  2  at Tivoli in Queensland (By Chris Gatehouse); and Gall with the factory 500 Yamaha works bike that helped him win the 1981 series.

Gall wins back-to-back titles and his third Mr. Motocross series

For the first time, 1981 saw the Mr. Motocross (Mr MX) series increase to five rounds, which were held in Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, New South Wales and the ACT.

It was going to be the year of Stephen Gall. He was at the height of his career and his devastating form left no doubt as to who was Mr. Motocross. Benefitting from several months spent in the United States, the reigning Mr. MX champion was fitter and more determined than ever to take his third and back-to-back titles in the 1981 Cue Cola Mr. MX series, being supplied with a Yamaha works bike – an OW51 500cc air-cooled machine.

But Team Kawasaki were also going to be competitive with three-times Mr. MX Anthony Gunter (NSW) and Australian 500cc Champion Trevor Williams (VIC) both riding a Kawasaki works 499 Uni-Track bikes with disk brakes up front.

Victoria’s other hopes included Grant Cramer who tied with Williams in the opening round the previous year at Broadford. He shapes as a contender aboard his new Milledge Yamaha YZ465, along with fellow-Yamaha rider Darryl Willoughby from South Australia, who finished third in Mr. MX the previous year.

After Maico rider Peter Benson’s excellent performances in 1980, Western Australia would feature three riders in the 1981 Mr. MX series – including teenage sensation Jeff Leisk, who was just up into seniors, fellow Honda rider Neville Cutts from Manjimup and Suzuki rider Robert Woodward.
Twenty-year-old Woodward from Gidgegannup, who finished third in the 1980 Australian Unlimited title at Broadford (NSW), would ride the latest Suzuki 465X under the Team Suzuki WA banner.

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Gall undefeated in opening two rounds at Broadford and Tivoli

Kiwi Gary Whittaker (NZ) crashing heavily in Round 2 of 1981 Mr. Motocross in Tivoli, Queensland

Kiwi Gary Whittaker (NZ) crashing heavily in Round 2 of 1981 Mr. Motocross in Tivoli, Queensland

Following his impressive victories in the Victorian Grand National and Sydney Superbowl of Motocross to start the season, Gall was hot favourite to take out the opening round at Broadford on Sunday, 24 May at Broadford in Victoria.  His chances improved even further after three-times Mr. MX Anthony Gunter had lost weight and condition after being rushed to hospital weeks earlier with a mysterious illness. 

After problems with his Yamaha OW51 works bike during practice, Gall elected to ride his production bike. His four wins from four starts gave an indication of the way it was going to go all year, with the Team Kawasaki riders Williams and Gunter finishing on the podium in second and third, respectively.  16-year-old Jeff leisk led some of the races early and showed that with time and experience, he would only get stronger and faster.

Round two at Tivoli in Queensland went much the same as round one on 7 June, with Gall sweeping all before him. After just two rounds, the Yamaha rider held a 52-point advantage (on 120 points) ahead of Team Kawasaki riders Williams (68) in second and Gunter (58) in third.

Suzuki pair Robert “Beetle” Bailey (50) and Peter Carney (45) held fourth and fifth places, respectively.  South Australian Darryl Willoughby missed the round due to injury, but was set to race in round three at Canberra.

Gunter breaks Gall's stranglehold in Canberra

It wasn’t until round three on 28 June in Canberra that Anthony Gunter broke the Gall stranglehold to win two heats. Nonetheless, Gall still scored his third consecutive overall win in the series despite a difficult and challenging day.

With suspension problems on his Yamaha Dealer Team factory OW51, Gall was forced to ride his production Yamaha.  He also had problems adjusting to that bike with several falls, two punctures and bent gear levers during the day’s racing.

Despite winning the second and third races, Gunter also had his fair share of problems. He failed to finish the first race after crashing with Kawasaki team mate Trevor Williams and crashed at the first corner in the winner-take-all final between him and Gall.

Gall won the overall round with 43 points ahead of Williams (34), Gunter (30), Maico Australia rider Geoff Ballard (29) and Robert Bailey (25). 

On 163 points, Gall now held an amazing 60-point lead over his closest rival Gunter (103), his Kawasaki team mate Trevor Williams (96) in third with Bailey (75) in fourth.

Anthony Gunter in action during the 1981 Mr. Motocross Series in Tivoli, Queensland - By Chris Gatehouse

Photo: Anthony Gunter in action on his works 500cc Kawasaki during the 1981 Mr. Motocross Series in Tivoli, Queensland (By Chris Gatehouse)

Gall's wraps up his third Mr. MX title early at Clarendon

Mr. Motocross Poster 1981

Kawasaki Australia’s Anthony Gunter thrilled the 15,000 strong crowd at Clarendon in South Australia when he convincingly won the fourth round on 9 August.  But despite earning 51 vital points in the Mr. MX title chase, Stephen Gall became Mr. Motocross 1981, with one round still to go.

Equal third at Clarendon was Gunter’s Kawasaki team mate Trevor Williams and the Suzuki team’s Robert Bailey. Young Jeff Leisk, WA Honda ace finished fourth.

After clinching his second Mr. MX title and back-to-back victories at Clarendon with one round still to go, Gall cleaned up at the final round at Amaroo Park on Sunday, 13 September to really stamp his dominance on the series for the year.

The Team Yamaha rider collected the $5,000 prize purse and won the series by a massive 95 points ahead of Kawasaki team mates Anthony Gunter (169) and Trevor Williams (156). Youngsters Robert Bailey, aged 18 (NSW, Suzuki, 140) and Jeff Leisk, aged 16, (WA, Honda, 82) were impressive to finish fourth and fifth respectively in this country’s most prestigious motocross series.

Photo:  Promotional poster for the 1981 Cue Cola Mr. Motocross series

1981 Mister Motocross Final Overall Points

1981 Mr. MX winner Stephen Gall (NSW, Yamaha)

1981 Stephen Gall - Yamaha Racing Team

1. Stephen Gall (NSW, Yamaha, 264)
2. Anthony Gunter (NSW, Kawasaki, 169)
3. Trevor Williams (VIC, Kawasaki, 156)
4. Robert Bailey (NSW, Suzuki, 140)
5. Jeff Leisk (WA, Honda, 82)

Photo gallery

1981 Jeff Leisk wins his first senior Australian Motocross Championship at Symmons Plains in Tasmania in the 125cc class
WA Suzuki rider Rob Woodward contested the 1981 Mr. Motocross series (By Peter Kitchingman)
1979 Australian Unlimited Motocross Champion Neville Cutts (WA) contested the 1981 Mr. Motocross series on a Honda

Photos: [Left] 16-year-old Jeff Leisk (WA Honda) finished fifth overall in his first attempt at the Mr. MX series;  [Centre] WA Suzuki rider Rob Woodward contested the 1981 Mr. Motocross series  after finishing third in the 1980  Australian Unlimited title at Dargle, NSW (By Peter Kitchingman); and [Right] the third Western Australian to contest the 1981 Mr. MX series – 1979 Australian Unlimited Motocross Champion Neville Cutts from Manjimup (Honda).

1981 Mr Motocross advertisement - The boys to beat Gall, Williams, Leisk, Willoughby and Robert Bailey
Team Kawasaki's Trevor Williams wins the holeshot in the final round of Mr Motocross at Amaroo Park in Sept 1981

Photos: [Left] 1981 Mr. Motocross advertisement – The boys to beat Stephen Gall (NSW Yamaha), Trevor Williams (VIC, Kawasaki), Jeff Leisk (WA, Honda), Darryl Willoughby  (SA, Yamaha) and Robert Bailey (NSW, Suzuki); and [Right] Team Kawasaki’s Trevor Williams (2) wins the holeshot in the final round of Mr. Motocross at Amaroo Park (NSW) on 13 September 1981, ahead of team mate Anthony Gunter (5) with Gall (Yamaha 1) behind Gunter.

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