Motocross Champion Cutts, Neville

Motocross Champion Cutts, Neville

WA Motocross Champion Neville Cutts

Neville Cutts Australian and State Motocross Champion - Wanneroo 1979
1979 Australian Motocross Championships Wanneroo - All Power winner Nevile Cutts on third place getter Graeme Smythe's shoulders
1979 Australian Championships Wanneroo - By Warren Jack - Neville Cutts

Photos: [Left] WA rider Neville Cutts from Manjimup proudly displays the Duke of Edinburgh trophy he won in the Unlimited class at the 1979 Australian Motocross Championships at Wanneroo, WA; [Centre] celebrating his victory with Graeme Smythe; and in action at Wanneroo on the World Suzuki (Photos: Peter Kitchingman and Warren Jack, Australasian Dirt Bike).

Neville Cutts – Honda Australia’s first professional motocross rider in the 1980s

Western Australian Neville Cutts was one of Australia’s fastest and successful motocross riders in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

After dominating local junior motocross in his teens, the Manjimup sensation went on to win nine State titles (including 3 juniors), an Australian Championship in the prestigious Unlimited class and coveted Duke of Edinburg award, and five podium finishes in the National Championships between 1976 and 1981 – in all classes.

The son of Bob Cutts – who was also a top motocross rider and the driving force behind the Manjimup Motorcycle Club and building the famous Cosy Creek Circuit – Neville and his brothers Ray and Alan followed in their father’s footsteps watching him compete in scrambles when they were children.

At age 20, just three years into seniors, Neville had his biggest success when – after training in Japan with World Champion Roger De Coster from Belgium – he was given a Works Suzuki to race and won the Unlimited class at the 1979 Australian Motocross Championships at Wanneroo in his home state  and was second to Swedish expatriate Pelle Granquist in the 500cc class.  He also won the WA State Unlimited title that year and was the highest placed WA rider in the King of the Cross at Southern Cross, which was won by Anthony Gunter (NSW, Suzuki).

Earlier on, riding in the Restricted License Holder (Junior) classes, Neville won the 12-14 years State title in 1974, then back-to-back titles in the 15-16 years classes in 1975 and 1976. As a junior, he had some classic battles with another young gun Allan McCarthy – who was two years older – and in 1974 just prior to the National Championships at Manjimup, with Neville pushing him all the way – McCarthy broke the 2km Cosy Creek circuit record (including the seniors) with a blistering time of 2.25 seconds in the 15-16 years class.

When both riders moved up into seniors in 1975 and 1977, respectively, they were immediately awarded A grade status – and were as fast as the State’s top riders at the time.

At age 16, after Neville finished fifth at the 1976 Australian Championships in Tivoli, Queensland in the 125cc class in his first attempt, Suzuki WA boss John Thompson contracted Cutts to ride for Suzuki WA in senior competition for the 1977 season, giving him a 125cc and 250cc machine, with Neville winning both titles.

Riding Suzuki’s, Neville won five WA state titles through to 1977 before switching to Honda in 1978 where he won a further two. He switched back to Suzuki for his National Championship winning year in 1979, going back to Honda in 1980.

After finishing third in the 1981 Australian 250cc Motocross Championship at Symmons Plains in Tasmania aboard a Honda, the following year he was honored becoming Honda Australia’s first professional motocross rider, based in Tullamarine, Melbourne, at its factory and competed in all major events in Australia for the next three years.

Neville Cutts retired in 1984, after celebrating a National Championship and nine WA titles (including three in juniors). On 13 October 2017 he was inducted into the Motorcycling WA Hall of Fame at the Shannons Insurance Night of Champions at the Esplanade Hotel in Fremantle.

History of the Harley Scramble - Winning bikes - Triumph - Bob Cutts
WA Shellport Suzuki riders - Neville Cutts, Glen Hollands and Greg Thomas in 1975
1979 King of the Cross - Top WA Rider - Neville Cutts Suzuki returning to pits

Photos: [Top] In 1960 (when Neville was a baby) his father Bob was the first country rider to win the famous Harley Scramble  – winning at the Rope Works circuit, Mosman Park in front of over 10,000 spectators; [Centre] The WA Shellport Suzuki team in  1975 – Glen Hollands, Neville Cutts, Alan McCarthy and Greg Thomas.[Bottom] In 1979, Cutts was the highest placed WA rider at the King of the Cross in Southern Cross (Bob Couzens Collection).

Growing up in Manjimup and the big decision

1974 WA Junior motocross champion Allan McCarthy with up and coming champions - Brothers Alan & Neville Cutts & Clayton Mills

Photo: 1974 WA Junior motocross champion Allan McCarthy (second from right) with brothers Alan and Neville Cutts and Clayton Mills (far right) at Manjimup.

Neville Cutts was born in Manjimup in 1959, the second son of three boys to Betty and Bob Cutts.  The boys interest in motocross started when they watched their father Bob compete in various scrambling events in the 1960s.

When Neville was a baby, his father won the prestigious Harley Scramble at the Rope Works circuit at Mosman Park, near Perth – becoming the first country rider to achieve this feat. Five years later, Bob created history again becoming the first and only rider to win the Harley Scramble at both the Rope Works and Mount Brown circuits when the event moved from Perth to York.

Neville was ten years old when his older brother got their first motorcycle – an 80cc Yamaha road bike which was promptly transformed into a motorcross bike. That little 80 Yamaha was the start of it all and Neville, and his brothers all learnt to ride on the bike at the Manjimup track. Bob was the driving force behind building the Cosy Creek circuit at Manjimup and an active club member.

At the age of twelve, Neville started riding a YZ125cc in junior motorcross events with great success. In his first race meeting at Narrogin, he finished first and second in two races in the Restricted License Holders class for his age group, being one of the youngest riders competing.

It was the start of his motocross career and came after the hard decision of not following his promising career in football.
By the time he was 15, he had progressed to a sponsored mono shock 125cc Yamaha, winning all of the 14 to 16 year races that season and his third Junior State Motocross Championship – winning back-to-back State titles in 1975 and 1976.

Up into seniors and competing at National level

Fresh out of juniors, on 29 August 1976 Neville contested the Australian Championships in Tivoli, Queensland and in his first attempt, finished fifth in the 125cc class.

Following this achievement, Suzuki WA boss John Thompson contracted Neville to ride for Suzuki WA and in his first year in senior competition, he won both the WA State 125cc and 250cc titles.

At a National level, that year Neville was the runner-up Australian 125cc Champion, finishing second to local hero Darryl Willoughby at Acusa Park, with the South Australian just returning from racing and training in the United States.

Then the following year, Neville won both the 250cc and Unlimited WA State titles, winning seven state titles by age 18 and every Championship he had contested since starting racing.

After changing manufacturers to Honda in 1978, Neville continued his success and won the WA State 250cc and Unlimited Championships. Riding for Honda was short lived however, making the change back to Suzuki the following year.

This followed a visit to Japan to train with world champion Roger DeCoster, setting him up for a big season in 1979, which proved to be the most successful of his career during Way ’79, WA’s 150th Anniversary celebrations.

1977 Australian Motocross Championships Acusa Park SA - Darryl Willoughby, Neville Cutts, Mark Pace and Danny Reilly
1980 Manjimup 15000 Neville Cutts with Roger Harvey (UK)

Photos:  [Top] At the 1977 Australian Motocross Championships at Acusa Park, SA – Neville Cutts (Suzuki) finished second to home-town hero Darryl Willoughby (Honda) and ahead of Mark Pace (NSW, Honda) and the late Danny Reilly (SA, Yamaha); [Bottom] At Cosy Creek, Manjimup at the 1980 Manjimup 15000 with British Champion Roger Harvey (Maico), who won the inaugural international event (By Peter Kitchingman)

1979 Australian Championships at Wanneroo

1979 Australian Championships Wanneroo - Presentations - L-R Max Stipanicev, Neville Cutts and Stephen Gall
1979 Australian Motocross Championships - Neville Cutts Works Suzuki on trailer

At the Australian Championships at Wanneroo on 7 September 1979, Nevile Cutts showed his ability in the sand and won the Unlimited Australian Motocross title on a Works Suzuki and was second to Swedish expatriate Pelle Granquist (Husqvarna) in the 250cc class.

Although weeks earlier Suzuki WA arranged the Works Suzuki rider for Neville, Suzuki Australia demanded that Anthony Gunter (NSW) ride the bike in the final round of the National Mr. Motocross, with Gunter did and blitzed the opposition, snatching victory over a surprised Stephen Gall (NSW, Yamaha).

But it was “one off” ride on the works Suzuki for Gunter and Cutts too. For Gunter, it must have been a bitter pill to swallow – particularly as he came second to Cutts at Wanneroo in the Unlimited class and had to sit behind him and eat his dirt all day.

That year at a State level, Neville won back-to-back Unlimited Championships and was second to Graeme Smythe in the 500cc class, his first placing since beginning his career having won every title contested so far – 8 out of 9.

Photo:  Neville Cutts being presented his Duke of Edinburgh award at the 1979 Australian Championships at Wanneroo (WA) with local rider Max Stipanicev and Stephen Gall (NSW, Yamaha); and [Bottom] Neville Cutts’ Works Suzuki on the trailer arriving at Wanneroo for the  Championships (Peter Kitchingman)

Cutts becomes Honda Australia’s first professional motocross rider

In 1981, Neville rode for Honda Australia winning the 500cc WA Championship and finishing second to up-and-coming Champion Jeff Leisk in the 250cc class.

At the Australian Championships held at Symmonds Plain in Tasmania, Neville finished third in the 250cc class in cold, wet and icy conditions – with the creek crossing frozen at the start of the two-day event.

The following year, in 1982, Nevile was appointed Honda Australia’s first professional Motocross rider based in Melbourne. He competed for Honda throughout Australia for the next two years, but had limited success due to mechanical issues.

Photo: In 1981 Neville Cutts finished on the podium in Queensland with NSW Mr. Motocross Legends Anthony Gunter (Kawasaki) and Stephen Gall (Yamaha) 

Cutts inducted into the MWA Hall of Fame

Neville Cutt’s last podium in the Australian Motocross Championships in 1981 in the 250cc class aboard a Honda, where he finished second to Stephen Gall (NSW, Yamaha).

Neville Cutts retired in 1984 to pursue varied business interests and raise a daughter (Jade) with his partner, Beverley.

In a career that spanned 13 years, Neville is one of WA’s all-time motocross greats – celebrating a National Championship and nine WA titles (including three in junior competition). In the history of the sport, only Dale Britton has won more titles finishing with 13 (2 in juniors).

Golf became his next passion, but he kept involved in motocross giving lessons to and encouraging young riders.

On 13 October 2017, Neville Cutts was inducted into the Hall of Fame at Motorcycling WA’s Shannons Insurance Night of Champions at the Esplanade Hotel in Fremantle, joining other WA motocross legends Jeff Leisk, Graeme Smythe, Dale Britton, Charlie West, Peter Nicol, George Scott, Bob O’Leary  and Gordon Renfree.

Cutts' key motocross career highlights

Neville Cutts Honda Australia professional motocross rider in early 1980s

In 1982 Neville Cutts from Manjimup in WA became Honda Australia ‘s first professional motocross rider and was based at Tullamarine in Melbourne

Australian Championships

3rd Australian 125cc Motocross Championship (Suzuki, Tivoli, QLD)

2nd Australian 250cc Motocross Championship (Suzuki, Acusa Park, SA)

Australian Unlimited Motocross Champion and Duke of Edinburgh Award winner (Suzuki, Wanneroo, WA)

3rd Australian 250cc Motocross Championship (Honda, Symmons Plains, TAS)

WA State Championships

Restricted License Holder 12-14 years Champion

1975 and 1976
Restricted License Holder 15-16 years Champion

WA State 125cc Champion
WA State 250cc Champion

WA State 250cc Champion
WA State Unlimited Champion

WA State Unlimited Champion
2nd in WA State 500cc Championship

WA State 500cc Champion
2nd in WA State 250cc Championship

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