Motocross Champion Willoughby

Motocross Champion Willoughby

Australian Motocross Champion Darryl Willoughby

1982 Mr Motocross placegetters - Stephen Gall, Darryl Willoughby and Jeff Leisk
Port Pirie SA - Darryl Willoughby 16, Ray Robertson 47, Rob Nixon 37, Mike Tyson 61, Steve Crafter 94

Photos: [Clockwise from top RHS] Darryl Willoughby is one of South Australia’s greatest motocross riders.  A tough day in the mud at the 1981 Australian Championships at Symmons Plains (TAS); finishing second to Stephen Gall in te 1982 Mr Motocross series, and racing on home soil at Port Pirie (SA)

Willoughby returns from the US with instant success

South Australian rider Darryl Willoughby was one of Australia’s top Motocross riders in the late 1970s and early eighties.

Willoughby spent the early months of 1977 in America, racing with the FMF (Flying Machine Factory) team and honing his skills.  

The US trip was a big success and he returned home a much fitter and faster rider convincingly winning the Australian 125cc Championship in his home State. Riding a Honda, Willoughby won both legs of the 125 titles at the Acusa Park circuit in Adelaide, taking the crown ahead of Neville Cutts (WA, Suzuki) and kamikaze-style youngster Mark Pace (NSW, Honda).

Later in the year, the Hamilton Motor Cycle Club in New Zealand staged an Australia versus New Zealand teat match in NZ and Willoughby was a member of the Australian team on a Honda 125. The Australians were soundly beaten, but it was a great experience.

On his day Willoughby was capable of beating the Nation’s best and had his most successful season in 1982 riding a Yamaha. That year Willoughby finished second to Stephen Gall (NSW, Yamaha) in the prestigious Mr Motocross series and ahead of up and coming rider Jeff Leisk (WA, Yamaha) in third.

He was the 1982 Runner-up Australian 250cc Champion at Toowoomba in Queensland, narrowly missing out on a place in the 500cc class – winning the second leg ahead of overall winner Jeff Leisk.

But one of Willoughby’s greatest achievements came in 1983 when he won the 1983 Manjimup 15000 International motocross spectacular at Manjimup in Western Australia, ahead of a star-studded line-up of riders.

Willoughby was also a top Supercross rider. At the 1980 Sydney Supercross – one of the country’s first indoor stadium events – he finished fourth behind visiting US riders Rex Staten and Marty Smith and Stephen Gall in third.

Without doubt, Willoughby is one of the best motocross riders to come out of South Australia, winning multiple SA State Championships.

Darryl Willoughby 1977 Australian 125cc Champion, riding a Honda
1982 Australian Motocross Championships Toowoomba - Darryl Willoughby and Jeff Leisk
Darryl Willoughby at Southern Cross

Darryl Willoughby won the 1977 Australian 125cc Championship aboard a Honda at Acusa Park in Adelaide, South Australia

Willoughby dicing with Team Yamaha rider Jeff Leisk for the lead in the 1982 Australian 500cc Championship in Toowoomba, Queensland

Willoughby at the 1983  King of the Cross in WA.  That year  in the west he won the prestigious Manjimup 15000 International  at Cosy Creek

Willoughby's career highlights

Darryl Willoughby at the 1981 Australian Championships

Five minutes to go in the 1981 Australian 250cc Motocross Championship leg at Symmons Plains in Launceston, Tasmania

Australian 125cc Champion (Acusa Park, SA)

Fourth in Sydney International Motocross
1982 Runner-up Australian

250cc Champion (Toowoomba, QLD)
Runner-up Champion Mr Motocross series

Manjimup 15000 winner

Multiple SA motocross champion

Video footage

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