Australian Rally History

by Tom Snooks

1974 Australian Rally Championship

1974 Australian Rally Champions – Colin Bond, George Shepheard and the Holden Torana XU-1
1974 Australian Rally Champions – Colin Bond, George Shepheard and the Holden Torana XU-1

1974 CAMS AUSTRALIAN RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP

The 1974 Australian Rally Championship saw seven events run, including for the first time an event in Western Australia. For the first time ALL events were navigationally straight forward with none of the ‘crystal ball’ exercises which had ruined some events in the past. The series looked like a national series, with crews from five states (and the ACT) competing on a generally regular basis and this spread was reflected in the final points score table, with all the states and the ACT represented in the first seven placings.

The year of 1974 was remembered as the wettest ever in the short history the Australian Rally Championship with events hit hard. The Bunbury Curran had to be postponed, the Akademos was considerably cut back in length, and a similar problem hit the Bega Valley Rally.

It was obvious from early in the year the championship would be a battle between Holden and Datsun, with Stewart McLeod/Adrian Mortimer (Datsun 260Z) versus the Holden Dealer Torana XU-1s of Colin Bond/George Shepheard and Peter Lang/Fred Gocentas. And that is how it turned out after a year of hard-fought rallying.

The title went to Bond/Shepheard, gained from four wins and a second placing, with McLeod/Mortimer winning two and being second three times. The West Australian crew of Ross Dunkerton/John Large (Datsun 240Z), who put in some exceptional performances, were third, whilst fourth place went to Peter Lang (accompanied by George Shepheard and Fred Gocentas during the season). After winning the inaugural WA round their XU-1 was plagued by problems and did not contest the last two rounds. Victorians Bill Evans and Mike Mitchell plugged away during the year in the little Datsun 120Y and were rewarded with fifth place after finishing a third, two fourths and two fifths. Dean Rainsford/Graham West (Porsche 911S) had an interesting year, leaving the road a number of times and going quickly elsewhere. They finished sixth. Queensland was represented in seventh place by Adrian Taylor/John Souminen in their Honda Civic, finishing third on two occasions.

The Championship was the fourth in succession for the Holden Dealer Team XU-1, and the third in four years for Bond/Shepheard.

Vehicle eligibility
was based on CAMS Group C – Australian Touring Cars

Championship Point-scoring
1st = 9, 2nd = 6, 3rd = 4, 4th = 3, 5th = 2, 6th = 1

1974 CAMS AUSTRALIAN RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP

This document includes the summary, details of each of the six rounds of the 1974 ARC and is 7 pages in length. 

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