That was the year that Graham Noyce was MX King of the World

“It’s Noyce and his mechanic against the world!” screamed the headline in MotorCycle of March 24, 1979. How did that year pan out? Read on…

Looking like he’s going to try some extreme stuff... 30 years early!
Looking like he’s going to try some extreme stuff… 30 years early!

The swinging Sixties were over, the Seventies almost through and not only was Jeff Smith’s second world MX championship but a distant memory for off-road fans but so was the factory he raced for, when all eyes turned on a tall, blond Hampshire lad making his mark on the tracks of the world. Graham Noyce was being touted as if not the next world champion but a contender at least.

He’d finished the 1978 season in seventh place and pundits were saying he had to mature a bit before he’d reap successes as he was young and inexperienced. Problem with pundits is they’re very often wrong and rarely seem to ask the people involved. As Geoff Aspel pointed out after he interviewed Noyce before the start of the 1979 season the Hampshire lad had the determination to be a champion.

Read more in the Autumn issue of CDB

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