Australian Motocross Legend Anthony Gunter
Mr Motocross Anthony Gunter - a household name in Australia
With the introduction of the Mr Motocross series in 1974, motocross became more professional in Australia. The series raised the sport’s profile and – for the first time across the Nation – the riders became household names.
New South Wales rider Anthony Gunter was one of the emerging stars and, along with Stephen Gall, promotable athletes.
Representing Suzuki, from the struggling steel town of Wollongong, the “rough nut” kid, Anthony Gunter started making waves that year.
Gunter was already a name rider, having won the NSW 125 title in 1974 in the first year of the competition, and in 1975 he competed in Mr MX.
In 1976 Gunter broke through to win his first of three Mr MX titles. He also looked set to win his first National Championship in Tivoli, Ipswich in Queensland. But he was the unluckiest rider that day winning several races early, but being let down by machine problems.
1977 was Gunter’s year retaining his Mr MX crown, but also clinching his first National Title at Acusa Park in South Australia. That year Gunter won both the 250cc and premier Unlimited classes. The Unlimited title was his best ride of the year, which typified his nickname “Grunt”.
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"Grunt" - the face of determination
After leading the first race from Ivan Miller (NZ), Ballard, Applegren (Sweden), Smythe, Gall, Landman, Dinsdale and Fullston, Gunter had a flat rear tyre at the half way mark. He didn’t pull out however, he just kept on riding at a slightly reduced pace. The determination gave him third place, and in the second leg he won by a considerable margin to give him the overall win.
What made Gunter’s achievements even more incredible that year, was that he injured his back in Round 2 of Mr MX, which affected his ability to ride at his best.
Injuries continued to plague Gunter in 1978, but he bounced back in 1979 to win his third Mr MX title and establish himself as one of the legends of Australian Motocross. His performances in the final round of Mr MX were magnificent. He went to the final round at Amaroo with only one chance at winning the title – he had to win all four heats. He did just that, and at the end of the day, he had won the title for the third time. Stephen Gall and Graeme Smythe tied for second place, five points behind Gunter.
1979 King of the Cross Anthony Gunter. He also won the Southern Cross event in 1981
In 1979 Gunter also won the King of the Cross International Motocross event at Southern Cross, in Western Australia.
The following year Gunter struggled again with injuries forcing him to miss the 1980 Australian Championships at Dargle, NSW – in his home State. That year saw Stephen Gall breakthrough to win his first two National titles in the 250cc and Unlimited classes.
Riding now for Kawasaki, Gunter won the 500cc Australian Championship at Symons Plains in Tasmania on 23 August 1981, taking out his second King of the Cross earlier that month. He came third in the 500cc class at Toowomba in Queensland behind teenage sensation Jeff Leisk (WA, Yamaha) and Robert Bailey (NSW, Suzuki).
That was to be his last major achievement due to a debilitating knee injury, which eventually forced him into an early retirement from the sport.
Gunter in action - Photo gallery
Anthony Gunter at Amaroo Park (by Peter Kitchingman)
Team Pepsi – Anthony Gunter (2) and Stephen Gall (1)
Gunter passing Mike Landman at Southern Cross (1979)
Gunter chases race leader Graeme Smythe at the Cross
Anthony Gunter's key career highlights
250cc Australian Champion, Acusa Park SA
Unlimited Australian Champion
2nd Unlimited Australian Championship, Wanneroo WA
King of the Cross, Southern Cross WA
500cc Australian Champion, Symons Plains TAS
King of the Cross, Southern Cross WA
3rd 500cc Australian Championship, Toowoomba QLD
Australian Championship results and photos
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