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Motocross Champion Worrell

Australian Motocross Champion Geoff Worrell

1976 Mr Motocross - Final - Amaroo Park - 2 Geoff Worrell
1976 Mr Motocross - Final - Amaroo Park - 2 Geoff Worrell - Runner-up Mr MX
Geoff Worrell, possibly at International Motocross meeting at Tivolii QLD

Photos: [Clockwise from top] New South Wales rider Geoff Morrell (Suzuki Grace Bros Team) won the 1976 Australian 500cc Championship and narrowly finished  second  to team mate Anthony Gunter in the  prestigious Mr Motocross series that year.  (All photos by Peter Kitchingman)

Worrell wins Suzuki's first Australian 500cc Motocross title

New South Wales rider, the late Geoff Worrell, had his best year in 1976!  

That was the year in Australia that riders throughout the motocross ranks added colour with brightly coloured leathers and jerseys. The upper echelons also found sponsorship from a host of non-trade related businesses.  

Team Suzuki riders Worrell and Anthony Gunter dominated the racing that year, having some incredible duals.  Worrell was also sponsored by Grace Brothers that year, along with Brian Martin and Stephen Gall.

After reigning World Champion Gaston Rahier toured Australia in 1975 to promote the new Japanese lightweight 2-stroke Suzuki’s, Geoff Worrell emerged in 1976 as the country’s best motocross rider aboard the same machinery.

Worrell, who rode for the Wyong Motor Cycle Club, drew first blood on Gunter on 23 August 1976 – winning the premier 500cc class at the Australian Championships at Tivoli in Ipswich, Queensland. Worrell won both legs ahead of Husqvarna rider Hans Applegren (Sweden) and Steve Cramer (NSW, Suzuki).

Worrell created history becoming the first rider to win the National 500cc title aboard a Suzuki, as did Cramer the day before who became the first Australian to win aboard a Suzuki – in the 125cc class.   In 1975 Belgium Motocross Champion Gaston Rahier won the Australian 125, 250 and Unlimited classes, but he did not contest the 500cc class.  

Suzuki’s dominated the titles at Tivoli, although Victorian Yamaha riders Michael Landman won the 250 class and Trevor Flood the Unlimited Championship ahead of Worrell in second.

But it was Gunter who took honours over Worrell in the prestigious Mr. Motocross, to win his first series.

The 1976 Mr. MX series was increased to five rounds across three states at Amaroo Park (twice) and Curroo Park (NSW), Wallan (VIC) and Clarendon (SA).  And when the series was over at the final round at Amaroo Park (NSW) on 12 September, the Suzuki team of Gunter and Worrall had muscled their 370 Suzuki’s into first and second place, respectively. Gunter won on 201 points, just 19 points ahead of Worrell on 182, with an emerging Stephen Gall in third.

Worrell then capped off a great year to be the first Australian home in the International Motocross event at Tivoli (QLD) on 14 November.  He finished third overall at this event behind Gaston Rahier (Belgium) – who returned to Australia after winning his second World 125cc Championship in a row – and Peter Boyle from New Zealand, making it a clean sweep for Suzuki. 

Worrell's key career highlights

1976 Grace Bros Motocross Team - Geoff Worrell (Suzuki), Brian Martin (Maico) and Stephen Gall (Yamaha)

1976
Australian 500cc Champion (Tivoli, Ipswich QLD)
2nd Australian Unlimited Championship
2nd Mr Motocross Series
3rd overall and first Australia at International Motocross meeting at Tivoli (QLD)

In 1976, Geoff Worrell (Suzuki, left) was sponsored by Grace Bros, along with Brian Martin (Maico) and Stephen Gall (Yamaha)

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