Dulux Rally Overview 1971-1972

1971 & 1972
A History
Conducted by



PDF documents are located at the bottom of this page.



I’m a little hazy about the start of the event but I recall in 1970, after I moved to Sydney from Perth (July), I lived with Allan Lawson for some time and he was talking to the Promotions/PR Manager, Roy Waters, of ‘’Balm Paints’’, about  an event to promote the company’s upcoming name change to ‘Dulux’.

Research showed that the first group to promote to were car repair shops, refinishers, etc, as the company produced  a large range of automotive paints and lacquers. It also showed that the most effective way to carry out a promotion was through motor sport, as the operators and workers of the repair shops and refinishers were interested in the sport, and hence the development and conduct of the first true ‘Road and Track’ event in Australia.

Allan Lawson was the Event Director for the 1971 event and was also the Event Director of the Southern Cross Rally (1969 to 1971). Both events were conducted under the auspices of the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport (CAMS) by the Australian Sporting Car Club (ASCC), of which John Keran was President. Allan invited me to be the Event Administration Manager, and Allan Horsley, Promoter of the Oran Park Raceway, the Race Director.

John Keran
John Keran
Allan Lawson
Allan Lawson
Tom Snooks
Tom Snooks







Lawson moved to Queensland early in 1972 and I took over as Event Director of the Dulux Rally, and also was appointed Secretary of the ASCC.

THE EVENT CONCEPT                                                                                                                                      

The Dulux Rally was the only event of its type in the world. The idea came from the Tour de France Automobile which had been running for decades (mainly on sealed roads, including the rally sections), but the combination of genuine dirt rallying between the speed events made the ‘Dulux’ unique.

It was a new innovation to Australian motor sport, and was conducted  between  Sydney  to  Brisbane  to  Melbourne (1971, covering some 6500 kilometres) and Brisbane to Sydney to  Melbourne (1972  covering  some 4000 kilometres).   It combined a tour of hillclimbs and racing circuits, with road rallying between them.

The event could have been somewhat controversial – if the rally sections were  too  rough,  and  these  were  mainly sections run over  a full night, the  cars would have needed  greater modifications which could be considered to  be likely to be unsuitable for the speed events. If there was too little rallying, the rally regulars (who would form the bulk of the competitors) would not be interested.

The concept meant that the event received wide publicity, the most for a rally event since the Round Australia Trials in the fifties (except for the 1968 London to Sydney Marathon).

At the time of the Dulux Rallies there were no open road speed limits, permissions to conduct the event were minimal, the roads were not officially ‘closed’ as there was very little traffic on them, particularly at night; crews were conditioned to long rallies, as even state championship events ran over a weekend, not just a few hours in one day; there were plenty of dirt roads to select for a competitive course and rallying was heading into its ‘Golden Era’ (the mid to late Seventies).

Cars were pretty much production models, with modifications allowed to stand up to the rigours of rallying and long distances. Fuel bills those days were considered to be ‘petty cash’, paid out of change in the pocket so to speak!

The rallies were fully route-charted but there was plenty of activity for navigators to do with map work to keep them confident they were on the right track, for route-charted events were quite new at that time.

SCORING SYSTEM                                                                                                                                      

I can’t remember how the scoring system worked in 1971 but I recall it was cumbersome, so Race Director Alan Horsley and I devised a unique scoring system to suit the different activities of the event for 1972.

First of all, the activities were divided into three categories:

Category 1: Transport divisions on road sections – with time lost penalised at the rate of one point per minute.

Category 2: Hillclimbs, competitive rally divisions, shorter circuit races, sprints – with time lost in rally divisions, and time taken in speed events set out in ascending order of time lost/taken and penalties applied at the rate of      one point per placing for speed events and two points per placing for rally divisions.

Category 3: Very competitive rally divisions, longer circuit races – with time lost in rally divisions, and time taken in speed events set out in ascending order of time lost/taken and penalties applied at the rate of two points per placing for speed events and four points per placing for rally divisions.

The penalties were applied after each speed event, and after each rally division (ie: after completing the division, not after each section, or stage, as they are called now).

Where ties occurred the penalties were based on the average of the tied placing points. For example, in a three way tie for third in category 3, the points lost for each of the three competitors was 4 (based on 3+4+5 = 12, divided by 3).

Time penalties were applied for the following:

  • failure to participate in a race = 8 minutes added to the slowest completed time in a race;
  • failure to finish a race = 6 minutes added to the slowest completed time in race;
  • failure to start a time run in a hillclimb = ST + 10 seconds;
  • failure to finish a time run in a hillclimb = ST + 5 seconds;
  • failure to report to a control within the late time limit = 500 minutes;
  • entry to a control from the wrong direction = 200

Hillclimbs – the elapsed times (plus any penalties) were added together (after two or three runs) and then listed in ascending order. One point was allocated to each placing (eg: 1 = 1 point, 2 = 2 points, 12 = 12 points, 25th = 25 points) and these points added to the previous progressive total.

Rallies – the times above the allowed time (plus any penalties) were listed (as normal) in ascending order and points allocated.

There was no ‘elapsed time’ scoring as was the case in later years; in those days the Clerk of Course set a time in which the stage was to be completed without penalty and if crews were under that time they ‘clean-sheeted’; penalties were applied for time taken over the elapsed time.

Races – where the races were conducted in two groups (A and B) the times were amalgamated and listed in ascending order and points allocated as above. Either driver or co-diver/navigator could drive in a race. The driver had to be nominated five minutes prior to the practice session and then only that driver could drive in a race.

This meant that a Group B leader could be placed ahead of some Group A drivers if the Group B time was quicker than that of Group A. Points were allocated after each race, and then the points for the races added to give the race total, which was then added to the progressive total.

The scoring was somewhat involved, and these were days well prior to computers. James Horman, from Melbourne, was the Chief Timekeeper (and Results Manager) and he and his team did a splendid job in getting out the times and results quickly. The completed results document was quite complex.

CREW ELIGIBILITY                                                                                                                                      

A crew of two or three persons of at least 18 years of age was permitted; the nominated driver (for races, hilllclimbs) was required to hold a CAMS General Competition Licence; whilst other crew members were required to have a CAMS Road Licence, Of course all drivers were to hold a civil driving licence, however provisional driver licence holders were not permitted to drive in any competition.


The Dulux Rally was for touring and sports cars and vehicle eligibility was based on the following vehicle categories:

  • CAMS Group C (Improved Production Touring Cars);
  • Group D (Production Sports Cars); and
  • Group E (Series Production Touring Cars).

Certain modifications were permitted to allow them to be rallied competitively:

  • exhaust system may be modified after point of entry into the first silencer;
  • original make, type and number of carburetors must be retained, otherwise modifications permitted;
  • sump guard may be fitted;
  • rollover protection may be fitted;
  • seats, interior and trim, may be removed, modified or added to;
  • additional fuel tank/s may be fitted.

Classes in each of these categories were based on up to 2000cc, and 2001cc and over.

End of Dulux Rally – 1973                                                                                                                                      

Early in 1973 the ASCC was in a quandary and had to make a decision on which way to turn with the Dulux and Southern Cross Rallies.

The issues with the Dulux Rally were:

  • Dulux withdrawing its sponsorship to promote to the public through television advertisements;
  • the complexity of organising the event;
  • small fields in 1971 and 1972 making it probable that it would not develop further into a larger event as regards entry numbers;
  • the sheer cost of conducting the event and the size of the sponsorship to be raised to replace

Issues with the Southern Cross Rally were:

  • no sponsorship at the time of the meeting (and how sponsorship was later obtained from Total Oil is another story!);
  • not enough senior people to organise the event (so I was appointed ‘full time’ each year for the six months prior to the event as General Manager, which I then held until after the 1977 event).

With two major events to organise and seek sponsorship, the Committee, after much discussion, decided to drop the Dulux Rally in favour of the Southern Cross Rally – and the rest, as they say, is history. But, the Dulux Rally concept was very much in favour and the Southern Cross Rally did come very close to not being continued.


I must acknowledgment the major references I used to research the information and I have taken quite a few direct quotes, and photographs, from these sources:

  1. Australian Motor Racing Yearbooks, published annually by Berghouse Publishing Group Pty Ltd (Sydney). I own books covering this period.
  2. Racing Car News, published monthly over many years by Max Stahl which contained so many reports on all disciplines of the sport; I am indebted to Glen McAliece (Melbourne) for the loan of his collection of ‘RCNs’ over an extended period.
  3. Some information was gathered from various websites using Google.
  4. Memorabilia (press clippings, miscellaneous magazines) from the period which I have in my possession.

I take full responsibility for what is presented in this History of the 1971 and 1972 Dulux Rallies, and this responsibility includes any errors and omissions. I would be pleased to receive any constructive comment on the accuracy of the data.

Download PDFs by clicking on the images below.


Tom Snooks Melbourne | April 2019 kemdot@iprimus.com.au

Related posts