AMXhistory.com.au
Motocross Champion Appelgren

Motocross Champion Appelgren

WA-NSW Motocross Champion Hans Appelgren

1975 Hans Appelgren in action
Hans Appelgren - Presentation
Hans Appelgren sponsor - Advertisement for General Pants company

Photos: [Left to right] Swedish expatriate Hans Appelgren in action aboard his Husqvarna;  on the winner’s podium; and a General Pants Co. advertisement, one of his sponsors.

Appelgren - The flying Swede down under in the 1970s

Like four-times Australian Motocross Champion Pelle Granquist, Appelgren was born in Sweden and raced Husqvarna machines down under.

When he first arrived in Australia, he settled in Perth (WA) where he dominated the motocross scene.  His first race meeting in WA was an enduro event, where he received three sponsorship offers. 

He accepted an offer to race Husqvarna’s for the WA distributor John Kirkpatrick and rode the Swedish-built bikes throughout his entire career, after riding an Ossa and a 125cc Zundapp provided by Charlie Drake while in WA.

 

After placing third in the WA State 250cc Motocross Championship in 1972, Appelgren went on to win four state titles.  In 1973 he won both the 125cc and Unlimited WA titles and was third in the 500cc class.  Then the following year he retained his 125cc crown, clinched the 500cc Championship and was third in the Unlimited class.

1973 Hans Appelgren - Herne Hill - WA State 125 and Unlimited Champion

Hans Appelgren in action at the Herne Hill circuit in Western Australia in 1973

That year, on 2 June 1974, the Australian Motocross Championships were held at the famous Cosy Creek circuit in Manjjmup – over the Foundation Day holiday long-weekend, which became the date for the annual Manjimup 15000 spectacular and is still one of the top events on the National calendar.  Appelgren was the Runner-up Australian Unlimited Motocross Champion to Trevor Flood and finished third in the 125cc class, which was won by New Zealand expatriate Brian Martin (Honda).

Following his success in the West at state and national level, Appelgren was lured East by the stronger racing competition in New South Wales and Victoria, competing in the inaugural Mister Motocross (Mr. MX) series in 1974.   Initially over east he raced a Maico, then Huskys – eventually becoming a Husqvarna importer and setting up his business and home with his family (wife and two children) in Rooty Hill (NSW).

Appelgren raced both the Mr. MX series and Australian Championships through to 1977, finishing second to Suzuki rider Geoff Worrell (NSW) at the National titles, which were held at Tivoli (QLD) that year.  

Tivoli was one of his favourite tracks and earlier, at the Tivoli International on 15 November 1975, he was the first Australian home against some of the World’s best riders.  

After winning the World 125cc Championship (Suzuki’s first), reigning Champion Gaston Rahier from Belgium toured Australia in 1975, along with a host of international riders, to promote the new Japanese lightweight motocross machines.  The international riders included fellow Belgian Gerard Camal and Japanese development rider Masanori Ozeki, all on works Suzuki’s, along with Bultaco rider Vic Allen (Wales), Gualtiero Brissoni on a SWM 125, and Ivan Miller (NZ, Yamaha).

The Swede’s last race at National level was at the Australian Championships at Acusa Park (SA) on 16 October 1977 where he placed in the first moto in the Unlimited Class, but just missed out on a rostrum placing overall.  Anthony Gunter (NSW, Suzuki) won the championship and Duke of Edinburgh Trophy at that event. That year he also competed for Australia in the Australian New Zealand Challenge, which was won by the Kiwis on home soil.

Applegren was also a successful enduro rider, winning many events in Australia between 1972 and 1990, when he finally hung up the racing boots. He went on to be the Husqvarna Team owner and manager in Australia for 25 years.

Photo gallery

Hans Appelgren sponsor - General Pants company

Hans Appelgren was sponsored by the General Pants Company, which sold some of the first ventilated racing motocross tops in Australia.

Hans Appelgren on the startline before a motocross race

Photos [Above]: Appelgren on the start line; [Right] a member of the Australian team for the 1977 ANZ Challenge (middle row  far LHS) with Lester Rowley, Ron Dinsdale, Geoff Ballard, Jack Pengelly, Trevor Flood, Mike Landman, Greg Cameron, Darryl Willoughby and Danny Reilly.

1977 ANZ - L Rowley, R Dinsdale, G Ballard, J Pengelly, T Flood, M Landman, H Appelgren, G Cameron, D Willoughby and D Reilly

Appelgren's key career highlights

1977 Hans Appelgren at the 125cc NSW champs held at Karma Gutza in Canberra ACT

WA State Championships

1972
3rd WA State 250cc Motocross Championship

1973
WA State 125cc Motocross Champion
WA State Unlimited Motocross Champion
3rd WA State 500cc Motocross Championship

1974
WA State 125cc Motocross Champion
WA State 500cc Motocross Champion
3rd WA State Unlimited Motocross Championship

Australian Championships

1974
Runner-up Australian Unlimited Motocross Champion (Manjimup, WA)
3rd Australian 125cc Motocross Championship (Manjimup, WA)

1976
Runner-up Australian 500cc Champion (Tivoli, QLD)

International

1975
First Australian home at Tivoli International (Ipswich, QLD)

Photo:  Hans Appelgren competing in the 125cc NSW State Motocross Championships at Karma Gutza in Canberra (ACT) – By Peter Kitchingman

Stay connected through social media

Mr Motocross
Legends and Stars

Mr Motocross Legends and Stars

Australian Motocross History

AMXHistory - Facebook Homepage

Old Stars WA
Motocross Group

Old Stars WA Motocross Group

Australian Sidecarcross Association

AMX Social Media Group - Australian Sidecarcross Association

One comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Australian Motocross History