Australian Rally History

by Tom Snooks

1975 Australian Rally Championship

1975 Australian Rally Champions – Ross Dunkerton/John Large/Datsun 240Z .
1975 Australian Rally Champions – Ross Dunkerton/John Large/Datsun 240Z. Image from Racing Car News December 1975

1975 CAMS AUSTRALIAN RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP

If ever proof was needed that competition improves the breed, then the CAMS Australian Rally Champions for 1975, Ross Dunkerton and John large, both from Western Australia, were living proof.

Two years previously, despite being West Australian Champions, they were largely unknown on the East Coast and, while obviously competent, they did not stack up against the top Australian combinations. At the end of 1973 the pair ran in the Southern Cross Rally and came home 11th outright without over-impressing. During 1974 they contested most of the Australian championship rounds and as a result improved rapidly and a number of good placings saw them take third place in the series. Finally, in 1975 they put it all together and took their Datsun 260Z to a resounding and well-deserved title win. On the way they won two of the seven rounds and shared victory in a third.

Second overall place-getters were South Australian champions Stewart McLeod and Adrian Mortimer in their Datsun 260Z. This crew were national runner-ups for the third time and seemed destined never to quite get to the number one spot.

The championship was a worthwhile series run over seven events in five states and at one time or another attracted most of the country’s top rally crews.

Among the more competitive of the regular crews was Ed Mulligan (Holden Torana L34) who ran in six rounds and took three minor placings but found the L34 not quite reliable enough. Doug Stewart ran in four rounds in the Mitsubishi Lancer with mixed success. 1974 Champions Colin Bond and George Shepheard did not debut the new L34 until the third round and dropped out of the series after the car had gearbox problems in the Queensland round and this put them out of contention for another title. Dean Rainsford and Graham West had a mixed year, winning the South Australian round but otherwise only picking up one point in their Porsche.

Ford Motor Company imported a works Ford Escort Mk 1 BDA for Bob Watson/Jeff Beaumont. Dust entered the engine during the car’s first ARC event (the Akademos) necessitating an engine rebuild after which the car was well down on power and not as competitive as expected.

Very successful appearances were put in by various Datsun variants. George Fury won the opening round in the works 710 but then only competed in two further rounds, including the Bega Valley Rally where he retired with suspension failure when heading the field comfortably on the second night. Fury’s bad luck was Dave Morrow’s good luck as he inherited the lead in his much-modified Datsun 180B SSS with its 2.4 litre motor but was not eligible for championship points. Greg Carr, also not eligible, had a comfortable win in the Alpine Rally in his Datsun 180B SSS.

As in 1974 all rounds were competitive and well organised. Promotors of the series made strenuous efforts to raise prize money and gain increased spectator involvement and media interest.

Vehicle Eligibility
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

1975 CAMS AUSTRALIAN RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP

This document includes the summary, details of each of the seven rounds of the 1975 ARC and is 11 pages in length. 

View the document below – use mouse, scroll bar or page controls to move through the document.