Mister Motocross Series History 1974 to 1990

Mister Motocross Series History 1974 to 1990

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Mister Motocross series history - 1974 to 1990

1976 Mr Motocross Poster
Mark Pace and Vince Tesoriero - Mr Motocross
Mr Motocross podium Stewart McLachlan with Anthony Gunter and Darryl Willoughby
Mr Motocross Honour roll - Stephen Gall, Craig Dack, Ray Vandenberg and Anthony Gunter

Photos: [Left] 1976 Mr. MX  promotional poster featuring the ribbed muscle man image; [centre] Mr. MX promotor Vince Tesoriero with Honda rider Mark Pace;  [Top right] The late Stewart McLachlan won round 2 at Jilliby (NSW) in 1980 ahead of Darryl Willoughby and Anthony Gunter; and [Bottom Right] Four of the seven Mr. MX winners (L-R) Stephen Gall, Craig Dack, Ray Vandenberg, and Anthony Gunter proudly display their unique Mr. MX trophies.

Mr. MX - Australia's iconic National motocross series

On 9 June 2024, it is the 50th Anniversary of the iconic Mister Motocross (Mr. MX) series, with the inaugural event held at Amaroo Park in New South Wales on 9 June 1974.

Winning the Mr. MX title in the 1970s to 1990s was arguably the most prestigious title in Australian motocross history – even more than the National Championships, which between 1953 and 1991 were held over one weekend.  

The multi-round National series paved the way for our existing Penrite Pro MX Motocross Championship series now held throughout the country.

To celebrate the Mr. MX 50th Anniversary, AMX History takes a look at the series, how it began, what made it so special, the Mr. MX heroes and the man who made it all happen – Vincent Tesoriero.

Vince raise the profile of motocross in Australia, and its top riders, to levels that had never been experienced before.  Big media support, television coverage and promotions leading up to every round made the top riders household names – Anthony Gunter, Stephen Gall, Pelle Granquist, Graeme Smythe, Ray Vandenberg, Jeff Leisk, Glen Bell, Trevor Williams and many more.

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How Mr. Motocross began in the seventies

In 1974, Tesoriero and his advertising agency, Forcefield Promotions, created Mister Motocross; a series that quickly grew to legendary status and, over the decade that followed, changed the mainstream perception of how people viewed men riding dirt bikes.  Mr. MX gave motocross in this country the proverbial “shot in the arm”. 

The series gained immediate attention from television and newspapers attracting thousands of spectators to each round. Thanks to Vincent and his crew, the Mr. MX series also attracted the sponsors so necessary to enable an event of such magnitude to be created and it was well received by the riders and fans.

As part of the sponsorship deals, riders were required to do media promotions prior to every round across the country, improving the professionalism of the sport and making the riders household names across the country.

At a time when motocross championships were run over two long 20 or 30 minute races with 2 laps, Vince introduced a fast and furious 4 x 6 lap format (3 in 1974) back-to-back races, which were very appealing to the spectators and making the racing very cut throat, attracting even more media attention.

He got the idea for the race format the year before when New South Wales challenged Victoria to a series of four short-dash motocross races at Amaroo Park. That day the concept of the Mr. MX race format was born.

Between Mr. MX heats, the action on the start line was furious as mechanics and helpers struggled to make repairs and adjustments in the few minutes available. This was the first time mechanics and helpers had had attention focused on them, and it was the beginning of the heyday of motocross stars trouping around the countryside with an entourage of mechanics and tuners.

It was during this period that this country’s first professional riders emerged, including New South Wales riders Stephen Gall, Anthony Gunter, Mark Pace and Swedish expatriate Pelle Granquist, Victorian Mike Landman and the youngest rider at the time Allan McCarthy from WA.


1974 Mr Motocross Amaroo Park - Trevor FLood (5) Jack Pengally (12) Gary Flood (2) John Behrens (191) Stephen Gall (55)
Myer Motocross Team - Stephen Gall, Mike Landman and Lester Rowley - Mr MX promotion
1978 Mr Motocross Round 2 Wallan VIC - Jon Hawkins No.1 Mechanic — with Dean Vick, Steve Gall and Pelle Granquist

Photos: [Top]  1974 Mr. MX winner Trevor Flood leads the field at Amaroo Park (NSW)  with Jack Pengally (12), brother Gary (2) and John Behrens (191) in hot pursuit;  [Middle] Myer Motocross Team riders at a  shopping centre promotion in 1977 – Stephen Gall, Mike Landman and Lester Rowley; and [Bottom]  Riders and mechanics in between legs of the 1978 Mr. MX round in  Wallan (VIC) – Jon Hawkins No.1 Mechanic — with Dean Vick, Stephen Gall and Pelle Granquist (78).

The legend behind the series - Vincent Tesoriero

1975 Vincent Tesoriero with Gaston Rahier at Amaroo Park NSW
Mr Motocross ad - Alan McCarthy and Wayne Lothian WA

Vince Tesoriero was an advertising professional – a part owner of Forcefield Promotions – one of Sydney’s biggest advertising agencies in the 1970s. Together, in partnership with his creative team, they produced Yamaha advertisements for many years.

Prior to establishing the inaugural Mr. MX series in 1974, Vince started the Castrol Six Hour road race.
He was connected with motorcycling for years, firstly as a participant, and then as Australia’s first full-time paid motorcycle club secretary – for the Willoughby Club in the early seventies.

Through the Mr. MX series he also organised sponsorship packages for the series and leading riders – Castrol, Just Juice, Toshiba, Golden Breed, Grace Bros, Procycles, Pepsi Cola and many others. Then in the eighties, he established the famous Rat Racing motocross gear brand which, due to its individual beautiful designs, was worn by all of the leading riders with nobody getting paid to wear them.

Coming from an advertising agency, Vince became such a brilliant race promoter. He knew about marketing, designs, liaising with the media, creating a spectacular and entertaining race format and building the brand of the top riders by incorporating them in the promotions.

Consequently, the riders became household names across the country and thousands of spectators flocked to all rounds to see their heroes in action.

He packaged motocross racing in a way that it was presented to the public as a legitimate spectator sport attracting significant television coverage and raising the profile of motocross (and riders) right across the country.

Mr. Motocross All-time Greats

Mr Motocross Legends - Stephen Gall and Craig Dack
  • Stephen Gall, NSW (4 titles: 1978, 1980 to 1982)
  • Craig Dack, NSW (4 titles: 1986 -1988 & 1990)
  • Anthony Gunter, NSW  (3 titles: 1976-1977 & 1979)
  • Jeff Leisk, WA  (2 titles: 1984-1985)
  • Ray Vandenberg, VIC (1 title: 1983)
  • Gary Flood, VIC (1 title: 1975)
  • Trevor Flood, VIC (1 title: 1974))
1974 Mr Motocross winner Trevor Flood

1974 Trevor Flood (Victoria, Yamaha)

Victorian rider Trevor Flood created history on 29 September 1974, becoming the first rider to win the inaugural Mr. MX series, which was sponsored by clothing manufacturer Golden Breed.

This first series was run over three rounds in May, June and September – all at Amaroo Park in New South Wales with $5,000 prize money on offer.

The top unlimited class riders at the time on the east coast who entered the series included Victorians Trevor Flood (Yamaha), his older brother Gary (Bultaco), and Jack Pengelly (Maico).

Three internationals also contested the inaugural series – Malcolm Dearn (England, Husqvarna) and international expatriates Per Klitland (Denmark, Maico) and Hans Applegren (Sweden, Husqvarna).

Trevor Flood was the overall winner at the very first Mr. MX round at Amaroo Park on 9 June finishing on 28 points, ahead of Englishman Malcom Dearn (22) and Jack Pengelly (17). These positions remained unchanged for the rest of the Mr. MX series with Trevor, riding a Yamaha 360, winning all rounds to become the first to win the Mr. MX crown on 69 points.

Photo: Victorian rider Trevor Flood created history in 1974 at Amaroo Park in New South Wales becoming the first Mr. MX Series winner on a Yamaha.

1975 Gary Flood (Victoria, Bultaco)

Trevor Flood’s older brother Gary won the second Mr. MX series in 1975 riding a Bultaco Pursang. This was the first and only time during the history of the Mr. MX series that a European bike won.

The South Australian-based Golden Breed clothing company was the main sponsor that year and increased its sponsorship to an amazing amount of $10,000. Once again, the series was held over three rounds – all at Amaroo Park in New South Wales. But this year there was one significant change – the three six-lap dashes per round were increased to four. The 1975 series became more of a national and international event, with Rick Gill (WA) and Lester Rowley (SA) competing the whole series, as well as three New Zealanders – Peter Ploen, Brian Martin and Les O’Brien.

Switching to a 360 Yamaha in 1975, Klitland – the golden haired Dane – looked set to make a clean sweep of the series up until five weeks before the final. An injured shoulder hampered his chances, but he declared himself fit for this ride, which Gary Flood dominated on a Bultaco Pursang – beating Klitland for the overall series in a thrilling finish.

Heading into the final, Gary Flood had gradually whittled down Klitland’s lead to just eight points. After 11 races, the final would be the decider – with the result becoming evident just seconds after the start.
With Klitland brought down in a first-lap pile-up and Gary Flood at the front of the field avoiding the mayhem, Gary won the series keeping the trophy in the family with brother Trevor winning the inaugural event the year before.

1975 Mr Motocross Gary Flood - Photo by Kevin Brown
1975 Gary Flood Mr Motocross winner with Molly Blue promotional girl

Photos:  [Top] 1975 Mr. MX winner Gary Flood on a Bultaco in action at Amaroo Park (NSW), the  Victorian was the only rider to win the series on a European motocross bike; and [Bottom] Getting his trophy from the Molly Blue promotional girl, joining young brother Trevor as a Mr. MX champion.

1976 Mr Motocross Round 5 Amaroo Park Anthony Gunter and Stephen Gall
1977 Mr. Motocross Anthony Gunter wins back-to-back titles ahead of Stephen Gall - Bruce Biltoft
1979 Mr Motocross - Anthony Gunter wins third title
1979 Mr Motocross Anthony Gunter with works Suzuki

1976, 1977 and 1979 - Anthony Gunter (NSW, Suzuki)

In 1976, we saw the Mr. MX series go truly National extending the series to five rounds across three States, with New South Wales legend Anthony Gunter winning the first of his three Mr. MX series.

Following the success of the new Japanese two-strokes and reigning World 125cc Motocross Champion Gaston Rahier – and a troupe of internationals touring the country – motocross exploded in Australia with record racing competition licenses issued.

More 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.

Suzuki team mates Gunter and Geoff Worrell dominated the 1976 series on their 370 Suzuki RMs with Gunter, from Wollongong, ending the Trevor and Gary Flood domination of the opening two years.

Mr. MX continually blossomed and in 1977, for the first time, the Australian national motocross series became international and included Auckland (NZ) and two other rounds were added – Tivolli (QLD) and Noble Falls (WA).

The series bought the Kiwis into the fray for the first time too, with Suzuki rider Ivan Miller fighting a long battle with New South Wales riders Stephen Gall (Yamaha) and Anthony Gunter (Suzuki) for the title, with the reigning champion having a disastrous start to the season seriously injuring his leg to finish without any points on the day in Auckland.

But ‘Grunt’, as he was nicknamed, displayed his fighting ability and after several months of physiotherapy, was ready to defend his title at the second round in Queensland. Miller continued his fine form at Tivoli (QLD) and led the series after two rounds. But then it was his turn for bad luck, with the Kiwi Champion breaking his leg in round 3 at Wallan in Victoria.

This enabled Gunter and Gall to bridge the points gap on Miller and, heading into the final round at Amaroo Park, the series victory was still wide open to these three riders with four motos to be held and 60 points up for grabs.  Gall was the overall winner on the day with three wins and a second, but a win and three second placings was enough for Gunter to win the overall series. Gunter created history becoming the first rider to win back-to-back Mr. MX series and more than one title.

Gunter was unable to make it a hat-trick in 1978, with Gall finally breaking through to win his first Mr. MX title. But in 1979, Gunter would seek revenge and win his third Mr. MX.

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.

Gall led the series right up to the final round at Amaroo Park. But in a thrilling final in front of 8,000 people, Gunter lined up on a works Suzuki RM400, which he secured just 4 days before the race from Neville Cutt’s Suzuki team in the West.

He won all four heats in the final round, coming from well behind in the points table at the start of the day to win and become the first rider to win three Mr. MX titles.

Photos: Anthony Gunter winning his three Mr. MX titles in 1976-77 and 1979; and [Below] Unveiling the works Suzuki at the final round in 1979 at Amaroo Park.

1978, 1980 to 1982 Stephen Gall (NSW, Yamaha)

In September 1982, New South Wales Yamaha rider Stephen Gall created history to become the first rider to win four Mr. MX titles – in 1978, and a hat-trick between 1980 and 1982.

The 1978 series, his first win, was sponsored by Pepsi and Golden Breed and 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, Gunter was keen to make it a hat-trick and Gall was equally as determined to break through for his first series win, after showing so much promise the year before.

But heading into the final round at Amaroo Park on 10 September 1978, three riders were in contention to win the Mr. MX series – Gall on 119 points, just 12 ahead of Pelle Granquist (107) and 17 ahead of Trevor Flood. Gunter was in fourth on 88 points, but was no longer in contention after injuring his back at Wallan.

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 then recovered to win the remaining three legs and clinch his first Mr. MX crown ahead of Trevor Flood, who pipped Pelle Granquist by just one point.

In preparation for the 1980 season, Stephen Gall and Anthony Gunter trained and raced in the United States. Gall, in particular, came back wiser, fitter and faster and upped his pace to such an extent that he was rarely beaten during the year aboard his revamped Yamaha YZ465G machine.
After several years in the shadow of Anthony Gunter – who faded from the scene in 1980, fraught with the frustration of injuries and illness – Gall finally emerged as Australia’s number one moto-crosser and won almost every title he contested that year.

Victorian rider Trevor Williams was the main rider to pose any threat to Gall in 1980, justifying the faith that Team Kawasaki Australia had in nurturing him for several years, along with South Australian Yamaha rider Daryll Willoughby.

Mr. MX almost didn’t survive in 1980. To make it financially viable, the series was reduced to four rounds – two in NSW (Jilliby and Amaroo), one in the ACT (Canberra) and one in Victoria (Broadford).

Two “newbies” Trevor Williams and Grant Cramer (VIC, Yamaha), tied in the opening round at Broadford, with Williams the round winner on a countback. But after four wins in round 3, Gall shot into the lead making the final a two-horse race between him and Williams. 

Just five points separated Gall (117) and Williams (112), with Willoughby in third on 75 – the only other rider with a mathematical chance of winning the title. Everybody expected Gall, the Amaroo specialist, to win the final round and series, which is exactly what he did!  He convincingly won the Amaroo Park round on 7 September to win the series on 174 points, ahead of Williams in second (144) and Willoughby in third (108).

For the 1981 Cue Cola Mr. MX series, reigning champion Stephen Gall was 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.

After problems with his Yamaha OW51 works bike during practice, in the opening round at Broadford, 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 Gall finishing on the podium in second and third, respectively.

With Gall also winning round 3 in Tivoli (QLD), Kawasaki Australia’s Anthony Gunter thrilled the 15,000 strong crowd at Clarendon in South Australia when he convincingly won the fourth round. But despite earning 51 vital points in the Mr. MX title chase, Stephen Gall became Mr Motocross 1981, with one round still to go.

Gall then cleaned up at the final round at Amaroo Park to really stamp his dominance on the series for the year, collecting the $5,000 prize purse and winning the series by a massive 95 points ahead of Kawasaki team mates Anthony Gunter (169) and Trevor Williams (156).

After taking back-to-back wins when he won again in 1981, Stephen Gall created his own place in history by winning again in 1982. He was the first to take three titles, now his fourth with three in a row, no doubt earning him the major respect of many fans across the country.  

But his 1982 Mr MX title was by far his biggest challenge.  For 1982, the series reverted to three rounds – in Broadford (VIC), Tivoli (QLD) and Amaroo (NSW), with points in the final round to be doubled.  

Gall lead the series early after winning the opening round at Broadford, but with WA young gun Jeff Leisk winning round 2 at Tivoli, he was now a series challenger to Gall for series lead. To make matters worse, Gall broke his wrist and was sidelined for two months, winning the Australian 250cc Championship in Toowoomba in his first ride back.

He was so sore after the 250cc races that he decided not to contest the other classes and to rest for the final round of the Mr. MX series. The move paid off and won final round to clinch third Mr MX title, narrowly by six points over South Australian Yamaha rider Darryl Willoughby (173 and Jeff Leisk (WA, Yamaha, 168). 

1978 Stephen Gall - Mr MX Round 1 in Queensland

Stephen Gall got off to a great start winning the opening round in Tivoli (QLD) to set up his first Mr. MX win in 1978.

1980 Round 3 Canberra - Stephen Gall 1, Trevor Williams 2 and Grant Cramer 3

Gall won round 3 in Canberra ahead of Trevor Williams and Grant Cramer to lead the 1980 series heading into the final.

1981 Mr Motocross - Round 3 Fairbairn PArk Canberra - Stephen Gall, Trevor Williams and Anthony Gunter

For the second year in a row, Gall won  in Canberra  – setting up his 1981 Mr. MX title – again  ahead of Trevor Williams, but this time with Anthony Gunter in third.

1982 Mr Motocross placegetters - Stephen Gall, Darryl Willoughby and Jeff Leisk

Gall  winning his fourth Mr. MX title in 1982 – his third in a row – ahead of Darryl Willoughby (SA) and Jeff Leisk (WA).

1982 Stephen Gall - Toshiba Yamaha Racing Team

Throughout the  Mr. MX series, Stephen Gall won all of his titles aboard Yamaha machines, twice creating history – becoming the first rider to win four  Mr. MX titles, then three in a row.  Later on, however in 1990, he would be joined by fellow NSW rider Craig Dack.

1983 Mr Motocross - Ray Vandenberg in action - By Lou Martin
1983 Mr Motocross Ray Vandenberg, with Stephen Gall and Marty Moates - Photo Lou Martin

1983 Ray Vandenberg (Victoria, Suzuki)

The year 1983 was the tenth anniversary of Mr MX. As a way of celebrating the biggest success story on the Australian competition scene, the series was expanded to take in five rounds.  In a complete break with tradition, both the opening and Grand Final rounds were allocated to Broadford, in Victoria – with the others held in South Australia (Mallala), Queensland (Tivoli) and New South Wales (Raymond Terrace). 

More importantly, the enduring race format was changed to encompass four 20-minute heats instead of the more familiar four eight lap sprints (with a five minute break in between races).  Also, for the first time, two American riders entered for the series. Jim Ellis was to ride a KTM 495 for Bert Flood while Marty Moates had been signed up to ride under the Motorsport Suzuki banner.

Up and coming 19-year-old Ray Vandenberg (Suzuki) from Heany Park in Victoria had the advantage to compete two rounds in his home State. “Goof”, as he was nicknamed, was not expected to challenge the stars of the 70s and 80s on the big 500cc two-strokes. But he did in 1983. Leading the series early after blitzing the opposition in the opening round at Broadford.

With American Marty Moates winning round 2 (Mallala, SA), Gall round 3 (Tivoli, QLD) and Leisk round 4 (Raymond Terrace, NSW), the 1983 was one of the most even in the event’s history.
Going into the final round at Broadford on 20 November 1983, Gall led the championship chase by 23 points over Vandenberg. But with double-points up for grabs, Moates and Leisk were also still in the title chase.

The Grand Final at Broadford didn’t let anybody down. It proved to be one of the best days racing in a long, long time and the closest finish in the series’ 10-year history.  In front of a huge home crowd cheering him on, Ray Vandenberg made history when he won the first three heats back to back, at 19 becoming the youngest winner of the prestigious National series.

Photos: [Top] 1983 Mr. MX winner Ray Vandenberg in action on his Suzuki – By Lou Martin; and [Bottom] On the podium at Broadford with Stephen Gall (NSW, Yamaha) and American expatriate Marty Moates who finished the day in third despite breaking his collarbone when he crashed into a cameraman.

1984 to 1985 Jeff Leisk (WA, Honda)

In 1984 more changes were made to the Mr. MX format and the double points on the last round were removed, but the five round 4 x 20 minute moto format remained.  Broadford would again host the opening and closing rounds, with the races were run in reverse direction. The remaining three rounds were in SA (Mallala), QLD (Tivoli) and NSW (Raymond Terrace).

Reigning champion Ray Vandenberg switched to team Honda. So with Jeff Leisk and Vaughan Style also on Team Honda it looked to be a big year for big red, particularly with the young Western Australian “Leisky” winning the New South Wales round the year before.  Big it was, because Leisk blitzed the established stars. His only real competition came from US imports Marty Moates and Jimmy Ellis.

Moates was a great competitor, but was nagged throughout his Australian tour by numerous injuries. Ellis was really fast, but couldn’t keep his bikes together long enough that year to take even a round win. Vaughan Style was very consistent and took the runner up spot, capping a solid year and earning the nickname of “Mr Consistency” by which he would continue to be known.  Leisk created history in 1984 becoming the first rider to win all five rounds and the first win for Honda.

The 1985 Mr. MX series underwent a major change when the main event was switched to 250cc machinery and reduced to four rounds – at Broadford (Victoria), Mallala (SA), Toowoomba (QLD) and the new Oran park circuit (NSW).

This decision to switch from 500s to 250s was made to boost participation as Supercross events were now dominating the National scene and most riders now had the smaller machines so they could ride the one bike in both branches of the sport.

It was also considered at the time that more riders would be competitive on the 250s as against the larger 500cc machines. But the change made little difference to the Honda rider from Western Australia, who proved to be as fast on the small bike with the reigning 1984 Mr. MX champion picking up from where he left off in 1985.

Heading into the season, four-times Mr. MX Champion Stephen Gall (Yamaha), who finished third in 1984, and US expatriate Jim Ellis were the main challengers for Leisk, with the American riding Yamaha’s for the new season.

But when the season got under way at Broadford on 28 April, it was clear that no other riders were in the same league as Leisk who convincingly won the opening round – scoring a maximum 60 points – and going onto to win his second title – only losing one moto all year.

1984 Mr Motocross Vaughan Style leads Jeff Leisk

1984 Mr. MX winner Jeff Leisk dicing with fellow Honda team mate Vaughan Style.

Jeff Leisk twice won the prestigious Mr Motocross title, in 1984 and 1985

Leisk on the podium with Style (2nd) and Gall (3rd), with Leisk becoming the first rider  to win all rounds in 1984.

Jeff Leisk 1985 Mr Motocross winner with Craig Dack and James Deakin

Again in 1985,  Leisk won all Mr. MX rounds – this time on a 250  ahead of Yamaha riders Craig Dack (NSW) and James Deakin (QLD).

1986 Mr Motocross Craig Dack Honda

The move by Craig Dack to Honda in 1986 was a successful one with Dack winning his first of four Mr. MX titles that year.

1986 Craig Dack - Mr MX Champion on a Honda

Dack celebrating his 1986 Mr. MX victory at the final round at Oran Park (NSW)

1987 Mr Motocross Tivoli presentation Craig Dack, Glen Bell and James Deakin

Dack won his second Mr. MX title in 1987, ahead of Marlboro Yamaha Team riders Glen Bell (NSW) and James Deakin (QLD).  That year he also won the National 250/500 titles.

1988 Australian Motocross Championships Mackay - 250 class - Craig Dack - By Edan Wilson

Dack in action in Mackay (QLD) at the 1988 Australian Motocross Championships after securing his third Mr. MX title, switching back to  Yamaha’s that year (By Edan Wilson)

1990 Craig Dack - Inaugural Australian Supercross Champion

After returning from racing in Europe in 1989 to contest the 1990 Mr. MX Series, Dack won the Australian 250cc Supercross Championship and Mr. MX series, equaling Stephen Gall on four wins.

1986 to 1988, 1990 Craig Dack (NSW, Honda and Yamaha)

With two-times and reigning Mr. MX Jeff Leisk departing for the United States at the end of the 1985, Honda quickly signed up Craig Dack from New South Wales to ride for them for the 1986 motocross season.  

From the opening round at Oran Park on Sunday, 20 April 1986, it was clear that Dack (Honda, Brian Collins Motocross) was fitting in well at Honda Australia and had adjusted to his new Honda CR250 bike, after switching from the Toshiba Yamaha Dealership Team. Dack won three motos on the day on his 500cc CR Honda and finished third after a bad start in another, getting off to a great start ahead of his archrivals Glen Bell (Marlborough Yamaha) and Vaughan Style (Honda, Brian Collins Motocross).

With Leisk gone, the predicted Dack vs Bell battle became a reality, with both riders winning various rounds of the 1986 series.  With Bell having a disastrous round in the mud in round 4 in Toowoomba (QLD), heading into the final round at Oran Park (NSW) on 17 August 1986 Craig Dack was now poised to win his first Mr. MX title.
Yamaha rider Bell was 21 points behind Dack and the only rider within reach to wrestle the series from him and end Honda’s reign. But Bell appeared nervous and got off to a disastrous start at Oran Park, crashing and failing to score any points in the first two motos – leaving Dack to claim the title.

Honda scored a 1-2 for the series when its No.2 rider, David Armstrong, had a great day at the last round, pipping Glen Ball on points. That day marked the beginning of the “Dack Attack” era and the end of Stephen Gall’s long illustrious career as the Yamaha rider announced his retirement from serious motocross.

1987 was billed as the Yamaha vs Honda and Bell vs Dack series. Team Honda had withdrawn their support from the motocross team. Dack returned to one of his previous sponsors, Brian Collins Motorcycles, but remained aboard Hondas. No.2 seeded Armstrong had defected to Kawasaki during the off season and Ellis had switched to Yamahas. The Yamaha team had opted for two 250cc riders, keeping Glen Bell, and signing Queenslander James Deakin as the number two.

Dack found excellent form in 1987 and won the series convincingly, Bell helped Dack’s cause by missing one of the five rounds, but Glen hauled himself into second by the last round only to have another forgettable final round where he slipped to fourth overall again behind Armstrong and team mate Deakin in 3rd and 4th respectively.

1988 saw even less support offered to Dack from Honda, so Craig switched to Yamaha but remained with the Brian Collins team.   The Yamaha team changed shape, dropping Glen Bell and retaining Queenslander James Deakin. As Honda didn’t want Dack and Yamaha to have it their own way, they offered Bell a deal. So there was a complete turn-around with Australia’s two fastest riders swapping camps with the rivalry remaining.

The Oran Park opening round of the 1988 series in New South Wales was a ripper and the cat had been set amongst the pigeons with James Deakin and David Armstrong tying for overall first on the day.
In Round 2 at Broadford (VIC) the tables turned and Dack and Bell took over the points lead. Deakin and Armstrong had disastrous days, allowing another Queenslander Stephen Dinsdale to move to third with his good performance.

Round 3 in Gillman (SA) was all Glen Bell as he took 3 wins and a second, with Dack second overall on the day. With 2 rounds and 8 motos to run, Dack now led Bell by just one point in the series.  But with Dack having a trouble-free day in round 4 at Toowoomba (QLD) to pull away on points from Bell, who scored no points in one moto after a tangle with another rider, he was in the box seat to win his third Mr. MX title, which he did in the final round at Oran Park. Bell also won a heat on the day clinching second overall in the series and a third on the day.

In 1989 Craig Dack moved to Europe to compete in the World 250cc Motocross Championship, so he had no plans of defending his Mr. MX title. But as it turned out, as the new season approached it was announced that the series would be abandoned until 1990.

Long-time series sponsor Castrol had a change of heart and cut their sponsorship input substantially. As this decision was late, there wasn’t time left to find a replacement sponsor. Also, Mr. MX promoter Vince Tesoriero was busy with other commitments and didn’t want to slap something together too hasty and damage the series’ reputation.

It’s also worth remembering that with Supercross events popping up everywhere, the focus was firmly towards on the 250cc capacity bikes and Mr. MX started losing its appeal when the switch was made from the 500cc class in 1985.

The entirely new generation of spectators to the sport had got used to travelling short distances across town to watch all the razzle-dazzle of a Supercross event under lights, rather than drive many more kilometres to an outdoor motocross.  The writing was on the wall for Mr. MX, so Vince called it time, but in 1990 sold the series to Motocross Promotions Queensland, which was run by Jim Shone and John Fenton, who had been running excellent supercross events over the past four to five years.

With Dack finding the cold, wet and muddy European conditions difficult, he decided to return home and vie for his fourth Mr. MX title.  Castrol came back on board as the major sponsor, with the series to be run over four rounds – Appin (NSW), Broadford (VIC), Tivoli (QLD) and Gillman (SA). A new format was also introduced with each round to be run over 3 x 25 minute + 1 lap races.

Craig Dack convincing won the first three rounds, virtually having the series wrapped up before the final with Glen Bell, Lee Hogan and Stephen Andrew battling it out for the minor placings. Andrew on the final round in South Australia with Dack cruising home in 10th place to equal Stephen Gall’s four titles.  But Dack created some history of his own, being the first and only rider to be crowned Mr. MX four times in a row (1986, ’87, ’88 and ’90).

Although the racing was exciting, sadly the same spark for the Mr. MX series was just not there and 1990 turned out to be its swansong with the iconic National motocross series being retired a second time, but this time permanently.

Mister Motocross Poster gallery

Click on the years below to read all available Mr. Motocross race annual reports and results

Mr Motocross Poster 1974
1975 Mr Motocross Poster
1976 Mr Motocross Poster
Mr Motocross Poster 1977
1978 Mr Motocross Poster
1979 Mr MX Poster
1980 Mr Motocross Poster (filler)
Mr Motocross Poster 1981
Mr Motocross Poster 1983 - 10th year anniversary
1984 Mr Motocross Poster
Mr Motocross Poster 1985
1986 Mr Motocross Poster
Mr Motocross Poster 1987
Mr Motocross Poster 1988
1990 Mr Motocross Poster




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Australian Motocross History