History of Southern Cross International Rally

1966 to 1980

Conducted by

SPORTING CAR CLUB LIMITED

A HISTORY OF THE EVENTS

Compiled by Tom Snooks – Competitor 1968, Event General Manager 1973-1977; Secretary of Australian Sporting Car Club 1972-1978

RACING CAR NEWS – “Trials in Australia in 1966 have been the biggest ever, with principal ‘works’ teams doing battle in almost every state. Culmination of this highly exciting branch of the Sport will be the International Southern Cross Rally in October. Artist David Atkinson has presented a scene we may expect to see somewhere along the route. Reprints are available at 10 cents per copy”.

 

The era of the long distance trials, as witnessed by the Redex, Ampol and Mobil Trials of the fifties and sixties were largely over by 1964 with the running of that year’s Ampol Trial (which ran for last time I 1970), mainly due to costs and complications of the organising time being too great, whilst roads dramatically improved as the effects of World War 2 wore off, and speed limits introduced. There were three such events to come – Repco Reliability Trial in 1979, Mobil Trial in 1995 and the Playstation Trial in 1998.

As the sixties advanced, rallies or trials became, in character, closer to the European competitive style of rallying and were being almost exclusively confined to forests or mountainous country. Sections, or stages, were short compared to those of the round Australia trials and the action took place in condensed localities. Permissions from municipalities, shires and forest authorities to conduct events became necessary.

Competition became more intense and more professional and gradually by the time the seventies arrived most states had adopted route charts for their events, replacing navigation. This was necessary to ensure that only roads for which permission had been obtained were used, and crews wanted to improve their chances of doing well by taking out some of the ‘guesswork’ involved with navigation.

All states had introduced State Championships in the early sixties and the challenge of a national event in which crews from states could be pitted against each other was taken up with the introduction of the Southern Cross Rally in 1966, followed by the Australian Rally Championship in 1968.

Origins of the Southern Cross International Rally – Following is from John Keeffe CAMS CEO 1973 -1993
The concept of an international rally was the result of discussions during 1965 and 1966 in the Australian Sporting Car Club rooms located at the Sydney suburb of Redfern. A small group of Evan Green, John Keeffe and Peter Mulder developed the international event theme which grew into a rough outline of a possible course through the more populated areas of the country – Sydney to Melbourne and return.

Evan Green was an enthusiastic driver and at that time held the unofficial round Australia record for a four wheel vehicle. He was the Public Relations Manager at British Motor Corporation (BMC) and, importantly, he was employed by Eric White Associates, a major public relations firm which had an extensive network of useful contacts worldwide, and Green could call on his contacts to involve their companies with the event.

Through Green’s contacts support came from BMC, which agreed to send Paddy Hopkirk and Rauno Aaltonen to Australia for both the Gallaher 500 Race at Bathurst and the newly developed international rally, which started four days after the race. Castrol offered support as one of a number of sponsors for the team, whilst Rothmans was a principal sponsor of the event. Rothman’s Jim Shepheard was a very valued and enthusiastic contact.

The name of the event was determined fairly early in discussions between Green, Keeffe and Mulder. Several potential names were canvassed while they sought a definitively Australian name and they settled on the name of Southern Cross, which also refers to the best known and most represented star group in the Southern Hemisphere which can be seen all year round from almost anywhere in Australia. The constellation is not visible in the northern hemisphere.

The name was topical in at least the Eastern States of Australia at that time in the mid-sixties because there had recently been a Southern Cross yacht race in the region.

With the concept, event name and potential sponsors to hand an Event Director (now known as the Clerk of the Course) Bob Selby-Wood was brought into the organising team and was involved in all discussions thereafter.

Whilst Selby-Wood had a free hand in establishing the event on the road he needed to take into account the international rally character of the event, and the expectations of the international competitors. He did this very well, and the first Southern Cross International Rally, conducted from Sydney to Melbourne and back again over four days and nights, was a very good rally – so much so, that the internationals came for all of the Southern Cross International Rally events that followed, up to its end in 1980.

So, the Sydney-based Australian Sporting Car Club, which had organised the Redex and Ampol Trials (but not the 1970 Captain Cook Bicentenary Event which was organised by the Australian Racing Drivers Club – ARDC) as well as the Southern Mountains Rally (forerunner of the Bega Valley Rally), determined to conduct in 1966 the Southern Cross Rally over a four day 3500 kilometre route from Sydney to Melbourne and return.

In 1966 the event was run in early October, starting on the Thursday after the Bathurst touring car race, allowing international drivers to compete under the BMC banner in the Gallaher 500 in Morris Cooper S cars and then take part in the Southern Cross. Rauno Aaltonen, with Australia’s Bob Holden, won the Bathurst race but Paddy Hopkirk didn’t finish.

In 1967 the overseas visitors who competed at Bathurst also included Tony Fall (finished 5th), Timo Makinen (7th) and, again, Hopkirk (8th), and they were entered in the Southern Cross Rally. Then in 1969 Makinen and Hopkirk competed in the Southern Cross Rally, but not the Bathurst race (by now called the Hardie-Ferodo 500).

As these drivers were also rally drivers it seemed natural to attract them to participate in an Australian Rally, which had been set up under FIA regulations for them to compete – and thus was born international rallying in Australia, with FIA homologated cars.

The 1966 and 1968 events ran from Sydney to Melbourne and back to Sydney, whilst the 1967 course was Sydney-Bairnsdale-Sydney. In 1969 there was a moratorium on the conduct of rallies using shire roads in New South Wales whilst an agreement was drawn up between the shires and CAMS for the conduct of rallies, and the event was based at Surfers Paradise, although it did use some roads in northern New South Wales.

In 1970, the rally started and finished in Sydney, but was based at Port Macquarie. Only forestry roads were used. This became the format for future Southern Cross Rallies, with the last one in 1980 finishing in Port Macquarie.

Key organisers of the event were:

Year Road Director General Manager
1966 Bob Selby-Wood
1967 Bob Selby-Wood
1968 Alan Lawson
1969 Alan Lawson
1970 Alan Lawson
1971 Alan Lawson
1972 Dan White
1973 Dan White Tom Snooks
1974 Dan White Tom Snooks
1975 Dan White Tom Snooks
1976 Dan White Tom Snooks
1977 Dan White Tom Snooks
1978 Peter Berriman Tony Webb
1979 Peter Berriman Tony Webb
1980 Geoff Sykes

 

Distances and Numbers of Competitors

Year Total Dist. No. of Starters No. of Finishers Number Complete 100% Course Number Overseas Comment
Drivers Navs
1966 3500 69 38 2
1967 4000 84 39 3
1968 3500 76 35 1
1969 3400 71 ? 4 3
1970 3600 78 ? 3
1971 2700 79 37 4 2
1972 3200 66 ? 4 1
1973 3200 72 38 9 9 4 ‘The Wet One’
1974 3400 61 ? 7 11 7 ‘The Magnificent Seven’
1975 3400 79 30 14 25 16
1976 3300 83 22 10 30 28
1977 2700 69 ? 33 30 ‘FIA Drivers Cup’
1978 2700 52 22 22 21 15
1979 2700 40 17 17 8 4
1980 2600 44 17 17 4 4

 

Competitive Sections/Special Stages – Timing

The event was not a special stage rally until 1977.* It was conducted as what is now known as an ‘A to B’ trial, with transport sections followed by competitive sections and cars starting at two minute intervals to cater for dust. Timing was to the forward minute, although on the daylight ‘stages’ from 1974 timing was to the forward quarter minute. A time allowed was set for each section, and the time by which competitors exceeded the time allowed was the penalty time, expressed as points (with each minute, or part thereof, attracting a one point penalty). Penalties also applied for entering or leaving controls in the wrong direction.

Often a crew did this tactically to try to stay within the late time limit, as crews had to report to at least seventy-five percent (75%) of main controls in the correct direction within the late time limit to be classified as a finisher when this limit came into force as from 1974. Before that, a sole competitor in a class could start each division, and then return to the comfort of the motel, work out what the finish time should be and then book in at that time, never leaving Port Macquarie (unless to spectate!). From 1977 100% of the course had to be achieved to be a finisher.

*The first special stage rally was organised by Peter Lang in the ACT in 1974, where the penalty time was the elapsed time timed to the second. This was the Don Capasco Rally which became the famous Castrol Rally. It was won by Bob Watson in a Renault Alpine.

Roads were NOT closed to non-rally traffic, which started to become a problem when more and more competition sections were conducted in the afternoon. From 1977, when ‘special stages’ were introduced to conform with the requirements of the FIA Drivers Cup, timing was to the second but target times were still used, so time penalties were calculated for times in excess of the target times and expressed in time and not ‘points’.

From 1977 ‘special stages’ were scheduled to be run in darkness on roads not closed to non-rally traffic, and ‘daylight special stages’ scheduled to be run in daylight on roads closed to non-rally traffic. This meant that if the running schedule was delayed, or competitors were running exceedingly late so that they were in daylight in the morning, competitors were not to exceed a speed of 50km/h, even on competitive stages. This didn’t happen very often.

 

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1966

5 – 9 OCTOBER
SYDNEY – MELBOURNE – SYDNEY

1966 Southern Cross International Rally winners Harry Firth/Graham Hoinville in their Ford Cortina GT Mk1
– from the cover of the 1967 Supplementary Regulations

 

Summary

The inaugural ‘Southern Cross’ Rally in 1966 directed by Bob Selby-Wood brought classic international rallying to Australia. Attracting 69 starters, including European stars Paddy Hopkirk and Rauno Aaltonen in their state-of-the-art Cooper S rally cars, the 3500 kilometre event ran from Sydney to Melbourne and return, via Canberra.

The event was not conducted for ‘amateurs’ or novices. After commencing with relatively easy stages the rally intensified as the kilometres passed with the final night from Canberra to Sydney testing the endurance of all the crews and their will to finish.

There was no limit on the amount of the course that could be missed provided the late time limit was achieved at the end of a division; missing a control led to a penalty of 200 points.

Final Outright Placings

1 Harry Firth Graham Hoinville Ford Cortina GT 130 points
2 Greg Garard Frank Goulburn Holden HR 155 points
3 Ian Vaughan Roger Vaughan Ford Cortina GT 164 points
4 Reg Lunn Geoff Thomas Holden HR 180 points
5 Frank Kilfoyle Bob Forsyth Ford Cortina GT 184 points

 

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1967

4 – 8 OCTOBER
SYDNEY – BAIRNSDALE – SYDNEY

Photograph from the front cover of the 1968 event regulations booklet –
Barry Ferguson/Dave Johnson in their 1967 Southern Cross International Rally winning Volkswagen

 

Summary

This year Ferguson and Johnson made up for the disappointment of their 1966 crash with a runaway win in their Volkswagen. The rally provided much drama. Ferguson replaced Kilfoyle as the leader on the way back from Bairnsdale and a navigation error near Bairnsdale removed a potential threat from John Keran/Steve Halloran. The run home was led by Ferguson/Johnson all the way and they led the 39 finishers into Sydney. 1966 winners Firth/Hoinville crashed their Ford Cortina off the road and did a few rolls down a mountain at Blue Duck on the road to the Bogong High Plains. So Firth went fishing.

Final Outright Placings

1 Barry Ferguson Dave Johnson Volkswagen 330
2 Frank Kilfoyle Doug Rutherford Ford Cortina GT 379
3 Bob Holden George Shepheard Morris Cooper S 464
4 Colin Bond Brian Hope Mitsubishi Colt 467
5 Ian Vaughan Roger Vaughan Ford Cortina Mk2 482

 

There was no limit on the amount of the course that could be missed provided the late time limit was achieved at the end of a division; missing a control led to a penalty of 200 points.

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1968

9 – 13 OCTOBER
SYDNEY – MELBOURNE – SYDNEY

John Keran/Peter Meyer and the 1968 Southern Cross International Rally winning Volvo 142S

 

Summary

John Keran/Peter Meyer, in the Volvo 142S, set an unbeatable pace as the rally once again traversed the route from Sydney to Melbourne and return. Paddy Hopkirk was back for his third try in as many years but a wet clutch after a river crossing near Canberra on the first night ended his challenge.

New features for the event included special stages on circuits at Amaroo Park and Hume Weir (Albury) and loops in the wild country around Tumbarumba and Tumut in the Southern Alps.

This year’s Southern Cross International Rally heralded a new concept in Australian rallying by introducing the ‘special stage’ system. Short, sharp interesting and demanding stages, or sections, linked by easy relaxing transport sections. This set the standard for all future such events.

The event started in Sydney on the Wednesday and breaks were taken during the day at Canberra (Thursday), Melbourne (Friday) and Albury (Saturday).

Final Placings

1 John Keran Peter Meyer Volvo 142 S 48 pts
2 Frank Kilfoyle Doug Rutherford Ford Cortina GT 82
3 Colin Bond Brian Hope Mitsubishi Colt 85
4 Tony Roberts Mike Osborne Holden HK 89
5 Bruce Hodgson Bob Forsyth Ford Cortina GT 93
6 Bob Watson Jim McAuliffe Holden HK 108
7 Greg Garard Roy Denny Holden Monaro 117
8 John Garard Barry Waldron Holden Monaro 126
9 Doug Stewart Brian Field Mitsubishi Colt 128
10 Peter Houghton Mick Neilsen Peugeot 404 143

 

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1969

8 – 12 OCTOBER
SURFERS PARADISE – LISMORE – TOOWOOMBA – SURFERS PARADISE

Andrew Cowan/Dave Johnson won the 1969 Southern Cross International Rally

 

Summary

Andrew Cowan, fresh from his 1968 London to Sydney Marathon win, set a scorching pace in his Austin 1800 with Dave Johnson navigating. The Frank Kilfoyle/Doug Rutherford crew was the only one to provide Cowan with any real opposition. 1968 winner John Keran received a setback with his challenge when he miscued on a bridge in the dust and finished 6th outright whilst Colin Bond fought hard in his Colt 1500 to finish third outright, having overcome early brake failure and engine overheating.

With rallying in New South Wales banned for the year in 1969 whilst an agreement on the use of shire roads was discussed between Confederation of Australian Motor Sport (CAMS) and Shire Councils, the Southern Cross International Rally moved north to start and finish in Surfers Paradise. The first half ran down into the Northern New South Wales towns of Murwillumbah, Lismore (first day break), Casino, Kyogle and Tenterfield before moving back into Queensland via Warwick to be based at Toowoomba for the second and third day breaks. Then the route headed north from Toowoomba to Maryborough, and returned south through rally country west of the Sunshine Coast before finishing at Surfers Paradise.

Due to the terrain and the density of population this year’s event was of a different character to the past three, and future, Southern Cross Rallies. 13 sections were 5km or shorter, whilst transport sections were tight on time and many crews on numerous occasions lost points for being late on these sections.

It contained a degree of navigation, unlike other years which were fully route-charted. Director Allan Lawson had difficulty in setting the event.Getting permissions from shires difficult and indeed, it was only a few weeks before the event that Lawson was certain it could be conducted. The rough edges of the event were route charts being set in different cars, control officials who could be ‘conned’ by competitors (due probably to lack of adequate briefing as they were not as experienced as their counterparts in the southern events) and, generally, quite a few mistakes in the organisation of the event, due to the difficulties in setting it up.

However, the important issue was that the event was conducted, giving it continuity, and allowing breathing space while other potential areas in which to conduct the event were found.

Final Placings

1 Andrew Cowan Dave Johnson Austin 1800 63
2 Frank Kilfoyle Doug Rutherford Ford Cortina GT 66
3 Colin Bond Brian Hope Mitsubishi Colt 1500 SSS 118
4 Barry Ferguson Roger Bonhomme Holden Monaro GTS 120
5 Bruce Collier Lindsay Adcock Renault Gordini 150
6 John Keran Peter Meyer Volvo 142 S 165
=7 Doug Stewart Nigel Collier Mitsubishi Colt 1500 SSS 198
=7 Barry Lloyd Albert Browne Mitsubishi Colt 1500 SSS 198
9 David McKay John Bryson Mercedes 280 SE 208
10 Gary Mecak Ross Kelly Ford Cortina GT 230

 

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1970

7 – 11 OCTOBER
SYDNEY – PORT MACQUARIE – SYDNEY

Barry Ferguson/Dave Johnson in the Holden Torana GTR – from the 1971 regulations booklet

 

Summary

One of the favourites to win the event, 1968 winner John Keran, was the victim of a sensational crash in a LC Torana in the ‘Hardie-Ferodo 500’ conducted the weekend before the Southern Cross International Rally, in which he broke one of his legs.

78 crews started the event, and after a great see-saw battle between internationals Andrew Cowan and Brian Culcheth (both in Cooper S’s) and locals Barry Ferguson, Stewart McLeod, Colin Bond and Evan Green, Ferguson emerged the winner. A controversial ‘horror section’ on the last night on the way back to Sydney put Evan Green and Stewart McLeod into the minor outright places. Mechanical problems forced the retirement of most of the internationals, including Edgar Hermann, a recent East Africa Safari winner, and co-winner of the 1970 Ampol Round Australia Trial conducted a few months earlier.

It was the second time that Barry Ferguson and David Johnson won the event, having won it in 1967 in a Volkswagen, but it was the third time for Johnson as he navigated for Andrew Cowan in 1969.

Whilst Ferguson emerged as the winner it was only over the closing 250 kilometres of the event that he assumed this position, previously not seeming to be any more than a good chance against Andrew Cowan and Colin Bond, and even Evan Green. But he had great ability to pace himself and contain his driving over the distance.

The demise of the internationals allowed the Australians to stream home behind Ferguson in second to sixth places respectively – Evan Green/Peter Brown (Cooper S), Stewart McLeod/Adrian Mortimer (Datsun 1600), Richard Harris/Nigel Collier (Mazda R100), Paul Older/Colin Alexander (Volvo 142S) and Bruce Wilkinson/Ian Inglis (Datsun 1600). In fact, local crews fill the first twelve places, before the first international, Joginder Singh, the 1965 East African Safari winner.

After sharing the lead for the first three nights the internationals Cowan and Culcheth fell victim in their Cooper S cars to various dramas, and with them went their major rival for most of the distance, Colin Bond, in a Holden Torana XU1. Edgar Hermann started the rot when he stacked his Capella into a bank on the second night.

Final Placings

1 Barry Ferguson Dave Johnson Holden Torana GTR 160 pts
2 Evan Green Peter Brown Morris Cooper S 184
3 Stewart McLeod Adrian Mortimer Datsun 1600 186
4 Rex Harris Nigel Collier Mazda R100 206
5 Paul Older Colin Alexander Volvo 142S 234
6 Bruce Wilkinson Ian Inglis Datsun 1600 243
7 Barry Lloyd Andy Browne Mitsubishi Colt 1100 SSS 251
8 Colin Bond George Shepheard Holden Torana XU1 255
9 Rex Lunn John Hall Ford Capri 311
10 Ossie Jackson Adrian van Loon Volvo 122S 351

 

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1971

6 – 10 OCTOBER
SYDNEY – PORT MACQUARIE – SYDNEY

Colin Bond/George Shepheard in the Holden Torana XU1 – from the 1972 regulations booklet

 

Summary

79 competitors started the rally and Doug Chivas got to the front at the end of the first night (with 19 points lost) and stayed there until he hit a rock in the third division. Edgar Herrmann and Stewart McLeod were equal second and right behind him, on 21 points followed by Frank Kilfoyle and Barry Ferguson (23). Colin Bond was well down in tenth place on 28 points. Andrew Cowan, driving a Morris Mini Cooper S, was equal with Bond.

When the scores were tallied at the end of the second night Chivas’ Galant led Herrmann’s Galant 49 points to 57, and the latter closely followed by Bond (XU1) on 58 and Kilfoyle (XU1) on 59. Barry Ferguson (Galant) and Peter Lang (Datsun 1600 – 9th the previous night) fought each other to both be on 62, then McLeod (XU1) 7th with 70, followed by Hilton (Peugeot 504) and Arthur Jackson (Datsun 1600) on 86. The regulator in Cowan’s Mini shorted out and burnt the wiring loom to put him out of contention.

In the background was Yoshio Iwashita and Noboru Ishikawa in their Datsun H510 SSS who had by now settled into the event after losing time earlier due to navigation errors. Cutting his driving teeth on the East African Safari, Yoshio was to compete in numerous Southern Cross Rallies and become one of the best of the Japanese drivers to contest the event.

On the very first section of the third night Chivas hit a rock and was outed from the leader board (he did run on the last night and finished the event), and this allowed Bond to move up from third to be equal first with Herrmann (75 77

points) when the cars returned to Port Macquarie. Kilfoyle (87) moved to third, McLeod to fourth on 92, equalled by Lang, Ferguson sixth (103) and Iwashita, surprising everyone but not himself, to seventh with 119.

With the scores so close, the last night had to make for brilliant driving and so the drivers gave it all…… but misfortune had to happen of course. On a very hard right-hander after a grid, which held no caution (there was a lot of debate on this afterwards) Kilfoyle, McPherson and Herrmann all went off, with the first two suffering front suspension trouble; Kilfoyle’s XU1 axle slowly worked its way loose and the differential chewed off the splines, so that was the end of his event; McPherson fell well back in the field; and Herrmann lost time and dropped back to fourth. Peter Lang also left the road and this cost him heaps of time.

So, Holden Torana XU1s swept the field as Colin Bond won, and little was it realised that it would be 1978 before another Australian (George Fury) would win the event again! McLeod was second; then followed the Mitsubishi Galants of Ferguson and Herrmann; Lang recovered somewhat to take his Datsun 1600 to fifth, then Iwashita consolidated his overnight sixth place and a range of vehicles took out seventh to tenth.

Final Placings

1 Colin Bond George Shepheard Holden Torana XU1 113
2 Stewart McLeod Adrian Mortimer Holden Torana XU1 133
3 Barry Ferguson Garry Connelly Mitsubishi Galant 139
4 Edgar Herrmann Bob Riley Mitsubishi Galant 159
5 Peter Lang Ed O’Cleary Datsun 1600 174
6 Yoshio Iwashita Noboru Ishikawa Datsun H510 SSS 189
7 Peter Houghton Mick Neilsen Mitsubishi Colt 1100 198
8 Richard Harris Nigel Collier Mazda 1300 203
9 Bob Holden John Dawson-Damer Ford Escort TC 208
10 Bruce Hodgson Mike Mitchell Ford Escort TC 209

 

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1972

4 – 8 OCTOBER
SYDNEY – PORT MACQUARIE

Andrew Cowan/John Bryson in the Mitsubishi Galant GS – from the cover of the 1973 regulations booklet

 

Summary

The lead was battled for throughout the four nights of the 3200 kilometre event by the London to Sydney Marathon winner Andrew Cowan (with John Bryson) in a Mitsubishi Galant 1600 sedan, and his arch-rival Rauno Aaltonen from Finland, a former Monte Carlo winner and European rally champion, in a Datsun 240Z. He was navigated by Steve Halloran. The latter pair led for the first 725 kilometres, only to surrender the lead to Cowan when a puncture in a very muddy section on the second night cost them 5 minutes.

‘Supporting players’ were Doug Chivas/Peter Meyer in another Galant 1600 sedan (3rd), and East African Safari winner Edgar Herrmann with Mike Mitchell in a Datsun 180B SSS (4th). Hermann gradually lost ground as the event unfolded, consistently losing considerably more points than both Cowan and Aaltonen and he wasn’t happy with the car’s handling, although it lacked nothing in servicing but it was too heavy for the power-plant. 88

Arthur Jackson, with Peter Godden, drove his Datsun 1600 to be 5th outright and the first privateer home. Unsponsored, he was equal 8th on the first night, 6th after the second and 5th on both the third and last nights. A wonderful drive. Charlie Lund put in a great effort also. With Nigel Collier in his Mazda RX3 he was 16th after the first night and then gradually worked his way up to finish 6th outright.

Galant 1700 GTO coupes were seen in Australia for the first time in the hands of Barry Ferguson/Gary Connelly, and Doug Stewart/Dave Johnson, but these were not as fast as the lighter sedans and did not handle as well. Ferguson (twice winner of the event) was running a comfortable fourth until into the second night he rolled the car and retired. Stewart left the road on the first night and knocked over a few small trees and lost time recovering.

A Renault R12 Gordini, crewed by Bob Watson and Jeff Beaumont retired on the third night with gearbox failure, and Norm Bolitho suffered a severe setback when his well-prepared Volvo was gutted completely by fire – the crew had no time to salvage anything from the car.

The competition was followed by long post-event vehicle eligibility protests and counter-protest by Mitsubishi and Nissan and in the end only one minor protest was upheld (see Highlights below).

Crews were required to report to at least 25% of main controls in each division to be eligible for general classification and awards. The late time limit was reduced from 180 minutes in 1971 to 100 minutes for 1972. For the first time a maximum number of points could be lost on a section – 300.

Final Placings

1 Andrew Cowan John Bryson Mitsubishi Galant 90 points
2 Rauno Aaltonen Steve Halloran Datsun 240Z 114
3 Doug Chivas Peter Meyer Mitsubishi Galant 124
4 Edgar Hermann Mike Mitchell Datsun 180B 158
5 Arthur Jackson Peter Godden Datsun 1600 216
6 Charlie Lund Nigel Collier Mazda RX3 235
7 Peter Robertson Brian Allery Ford Escort TC 280
8 Ed Mulligan John Trumpmanis Mazda Capella 309
9 Robert Jackson Graham Roser Holden Torana XU1 389
10* Helmet Goetz Peter McFalzean Datsun 1600 SSS 567

*another record shows 10th as being taken by Col Parry/Eric Vigar in a Torana XU1

 

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1973

‘THE WET ONE’

3 – 7 OCTOBER
SYDNEY – PORT MACQUARIE

Andrew Cowan/John Bryson in the Mitsubishi Lancer GSR – from the cover of the 1974 regulations book

 

Summary

With the introduction that to be classified as an official finisher crews had to report to 75% of controls in each division only nine of the 72 starters finished the whole course, although 38 finished the event.

Covering 3200 kilometres over four divisions the rally was again based at Port Macquarie on the mid-north coast of New South Wales. The event commenced at Hyde Park in the centre of Sydney, with cars flagged away by the Lord Mayor.

Rain!! This year’s event has been remembered as the ‘Wet One’. It rained continuously prior to, during and after the event and made conditions the worst experienced in a Southern Cross International Rally. One just has to view the Mitsubishi film of the event to get an idea of just how muddy it was.

But rain or not, it made no difference to Mitsubishi, the company introduced the new two-door Lancer GSR 1600 coupes. Never before was an event won so decisively by one marque. Although also fielding several cars Nissan was unfortunate to lose several during the competition. However, they were not completely outdone with Frank Kilfoyle and Bob Watson finishing sixth and eighth respectively.

The leader board was set from the beginning and the top four did not change for the entire event – Cowan, Ferguson, Chivas and Singh. Fall was 5th after the first night but then Bond took over this position and Kilfoyle moved into 6th from 7th and these three held these positions to the end. Bob Watson moved in and out of the top ten.

First private entry to finish was the Mitsubishi Galant driven by Bob Riley, with Adrian van Loon navigating.

Final Placings

1 Andrew Cowan John Bryson Mitsubishi Lancer GSR 193 pts
2 Barry Ferguson Wayne Gregson Mitsubishi Lancer GSR 219
3 Doug Chivas Peter Meyer Mitsubishi Lancer GSR 225
4 Joginder Singh Gary Connelly Mitsubishi Lancer GSR 247
5 Colin Bond George Shepheard Holden Torana XUI 264
6 Frank Kilfoyle Mike Osbourne Datsun 180B SSS 281
7 Bob Riley Adrian van Loon Mitsubishi Galant 366
8 Bob Watson Jeff Beaumont Datsun 240Z 372
9 Charlie Lund Nigel Collier Mazda RX3 570
10 Bill Evans Mike Mitchell Datsun 1200 726

 

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1974

‘THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN’

9 – 13 OCTOBER
SYDNEY – PORT MACQUARIE

Andrew Cowan/John Bryson in the Mitsubishi Lancer GSR – from the cover of the 1975 regulations booklet

 

Summary

It is only rarely in the tough and highly competitive world of big-time international rallying that one driver can come to completely dominate a major event. Yet it seemed that Scottish driver Andrew Cowan somehow learnt the special secret of winning the Southern Cross International Rally, the major event on the Australian rallying calendar and indeed, one of the major events on the nation’s motorsport calendar.

When Cowan, with John Bryson, finished the 1974 event this crew had won it for three consecutive years (and was Cowan’s fourth, given his win in 1969).

The 1974 Southern Cross International Rally was remarkable for having the lowest number (seven) of finishers of the entire route in the rally’s nine year history. It had hardly seemed possible that any Southern Cross International Rally could be harder than the 1973 ‘Wet One’ when torrential rain reduced the 72 starters to only nine cars (which completed the whole course). Once again, inclement weather played some part in this demise of the field, with slippery mountain climbs on the first and second nights putting many crews outside their late time limit.

On top of this there was confusion over the correct interpretation of the regulations on the late time limit which resulted in a protest being upheld by the event’s Stewards just before the start of the third division. Many crews thought they were out of late time and didn’t front up for the start. As the word that the protest was upheld spread, which allowed some of them to restart, there was a mad dash to get to the start line, but not all made it. Of the 33 crews who booked in after the second division only 16 started the third.

Swede Harry ‘Sputnik’ Kallstrom (remembered for his trademark moustache), with experienced driver/navigator Roger Bonhomme, was equal placed first in his Datsun 710 with Cowan (Lancer) at the end of the first punishing night. It was his first drive in Australia.

‘Young’ George Fury/Monty Suffern (180B SSS) was third whilst ‘veterans’ Doug Stewart/Dave Johnson (Lancer) were fourth. 115

Due to the conditions on the first night the retirement list was enormous and only 40 of the 61 starters survived the night – indicating that there may well be a small number to complete the course.

Starting equal on the second night, there was promise of a titanic struggle between Cowan and Kallstrom. However, this was not to be as the Swedish driver’s 710’s front end fell apart when he crashed on a difficult corner in the very first section of the night and dropped out of the event.

Doug Stewart retired, stuck at the bottom a hill down a wrong road, and he shared this patch of ground with Gary Mecak in his Mazda RX3!

Once Kallstrom retired Cowan was able to slow down a bit from ‘flat chat’ and still retain his lead. He sat on 122 points, ahead of Ferguson on 150 (who climbed from ninth to second in this second division), Fury on 155, and Singh (up from 12th) on 176.

The third night took in some of the Horseshoe Road and the Bellingen River long water crossing (the latter in a transport section). Many of the gathered spectators at the river saw Barry Ferguson put the Lancer on its side on a right-hander after the crossing and, after being tipped backed on its wheels, the red-faced driver continued on his way.

Jim Laing-Peach retired his Subaru with a blown head-gasket, and Bathurst crew Rod Jones/Arthur Davis had problems at servicing and ran out of late time. Rod Millen’s challenge came to an end when the Mazda’s differential expired at a control.

Only ten crews started the last night and Kanno quickly retired with a broken differential; Shinozuka was outed as he did not report to 80% of the required controls; Fury hit a bank and worked feverishly to get to the finish in time; Robert Jackson (Holden Torana XUI), who kept out of trouble for the entire event, but on this last night he was also lucky to get to the finish in time after being stuck in a creek crossing without the starter motor operating, catching fire and leaving the road.

Barry Ferguson finished all of the competition and stopped for a routine service and car clean up before the finish podium and could not restart the Lancer. No-one could sort out the ignition problem and slowly the late time limit caught up with Fergie and he was out, for the crews had to report with their car to the very last control on top of the dais at the finish. It was later found that dirt was shortening out the contacts.

And so the 1974 Southern Cross International Rally was left with its Magnificent Seven.

Final Placings

1 Andrew Cowan John Bryson Mitsubishi Lancer GSR 209 pts
2 Joginder Singh Gary Connelly Mitsubishi Lancer GSR 272
3 Tatsuo Yaginuma Harau Okada Toyota Trueno 441
4 George Fury Monty Suffern Datsun 180B SSS 1051
5 Yoshio Iwashita Nobuhiro Yasuoka Datsun 710 SSS 2021
6 Robert Jackson Ross Jackson Holden Torana XU1 2528
7 John Munro Wal Harris Datsun 1600 3709

 

Download full SCR 1974 PDF

 

1975

8 – 12 OCTOBER
SYDNEY – PORT MACQUARIE – SYDNEY

Andrew Cowan/Gocentas in the Mitsubishi Lancer GSR – from the cover of the 1976 regulations booklet

 

Summary

Although not taking the same toll of cars as in the 1974 event, when only seven finished the course, 1975 was probably harder in many ways because of the better planning of the event by Director Dan White, who kept the pressure on all way until two thirds through the last division.

1975 saw Andrew Cowan’s domination of the Southern Cross Rally continue when he convincingly won, for the fifth time – four in succession. This was the finest of his wins as the competition this year was the strongest ever seen in the event. He blitzed the opposition to run out winner by 12 minutes from teammate Barry Ferguson.

14 points further back in third outright, and in many ways the ‘star’ of the event, Greg Carr, with navigator Wayne Gregson, in a Datsun 180B SSS, carried Nissan’s hopes after the tragic demise of the 710’s engines of the works team which included Harry Kallstrom, Rauno Aaltonen and George Fury. Carr drove magnificently in an extremely well prepared vehicle, by Gerry Ball of Canberra and, but for a couple of punctures, may have ended up closer to the leaders.

Doug Stewart’s Lancer GSR came in fourth, after Kenjiro Shinozuka’s car was disqualified, and then fifth was Bruce Hodgson/Chris Heaney in a Ford Escort RS1600. Hodgson had a victorious week, having been placed 13th outright in an RS2000 in the ‘Hardie-Ferodo 500’ the previous weekend. At the end of division one he was 32nd’, but he eventually got the car sorted out and he put in a magnificent drive over the next three nights.

Final Placings

1 Andrew Cowan Fred Gocentas Mitsubishi Lancer GSR 189 points
2 Barry Ferguson Lindsay Adcock Mitsubishi Lancer GSR 201 points
3 Greg Carr Wayne Gregson Datsun 180B SSS 215 points
4 Doug Stewart John Dawson-Damer Mitsubishi Lancer GSR 277 points
5 Bruce Hodgson Chris Heaney Ford Escort RS 1600 368 points
6 James Laing-Peach Barry Lake Subaru A22 373 points
7 Takeshi Hirabayashi Yoshimasa Nakahura Subaru A22 397 points
8 Bruce Cheeseman Alan Horsley Mitsubishi Lancer 405 points
9 Shingeru Kanno Kiyoshi Kawamur Mitsubishi Lancer 422 points
10 Noriyuki Koseki Takao Ishii Subaru A22 440 points

 

Download full SCR 1975 PDF

 

1976

9 – 14 OCTOBER
Start (Sydney – Amaroo Park)/Finish (Sydney – Motorcade to Hyde Park)

Andrew Cowan/Fred Gocentas in the Mitsubishi Lancer – from the 1977 cover of the souvenir booklet

 

Summary

It wasn’t until the last 150 kilometres of the 3300 kilometre 1976 Southern Cross International Rally that five times winner of the event, Andrew Cowan, knew he had a chance of making that six times. This was when the event-long leader, George Fury/Monty Suffern’s Datsun 710 differential failed, putting them out of the rally. Cowan went on to arrive at Port Macquarie with a massive 45 minutes lead over his teammates Barry Ferguson/Neil Faulkner, with the best of the four Datsun 710 team that started the event, crewed by Shehkar Mehta/Adrian Mortimer only two points behind. It was then a considerable gap to the Mitsubishi Team Leader, Doug Stewart, with John Dawson-Damer, 4th place, his best finish in the event.

This year’s event had that strongest international contingency of drivers seen in Australian rallying to date, many of them world-rated stars.

The first night decimated the field, with 31% (26) of the starting field falling by the wayside; the second night was worst with 35% (20) of the 57 that started the second night and on the third night 32% (12) of those starting dropped out. 22 finished within the late time limit, with 10 completing the full course. Although conditions were not as difficult as some previous years when wet weather intervened, the failure rate is an indication of the toughness of event.

However, three privateers finished in the top ten, a very creditable effort demonstrating the abilities of Australia’s privateers.

Final Placings

1 Andrew Cowan Fred Gocentas Mitsubishi Lancer 157 points
2 Barry Ferguson Neil Faulkner Mitsubishi Lancer 203 points
3 Shekhar Mehta Adrian Mortimer Datsun 710 SSS 205 points
4 Doug Stewart John Dawson-Damer Mitsubishi Lancer 271 points
5 Kenjiro Shinozuka Garry Connelly Mitsubishi Lancer 324 points
6 Per-inge Walfridsson Peter Godden Datsun 710 SSS 348 points
7 Ian Hill Graham Roser Mitsubishi Lancer 391 points
8 David Bond Ian Richards Mitsubishi Lancer 418 points
9 Murray Coote Brian Marsden Datsun 1200 437 points
10 Peter Janson Paul Paterson Mitsubishi Lancer 453 points

 

Download full SCR 1976 PDF

 

1977

8 – 13 OCTOBER
Start: Sydney (Amaroo Park) – Finish: Sydney (Motorcade to Hyde Park)

Rauno Aaltonen and Jeff Beaumont took the Datsun 710 SSS to victory in 1977

 

DATSUN WINS AT LAST!

The withdrawal of the Mitsubishi factory team was not only a serious blow for the event, but it meant the absence of six time winner, Andrew Cowan.

However, the Southern Cross International Rally had provided plenty of excitement and much colour over the years and 1977 was no exception, with some stirring battles being fought between Datsun and Ford. This was the truly never-to-be-forgotten (to those who witnessed it) Golden Era of Australian Rallying, with Datsun and Ford fighting each other in the Australian Rally Championship with drivers Ross Dunkerton and George Fury (Datsun) v Colin Bond and Greg Carr (Ford) – and mention must be made of their navigators of this era, Jeff Beaumont and Monty Suffern v John Dawson-Damer and Fred Gocentas.

Datsun, at last, had a clear sweep of the field, winning the event for the first time in six years of officially having entered it, with Aaltonen, Kallstrom and Watson filling the first three places in Datsun 710s. However, it is fair to say that although Mitsubishi ended its direct factory involvement after 1976 following its five consecutive wins, four Lancers still finished in the top ten, headed by the semi-works driver Kenjiro Shinozuka in fourth place. Ford’s best was fifth, with Greg Carr fitting in here.

However, for some time the Datsun win didn’t look too apparent as Carr, in the Ford Australia Escort RS1800 (with a 16-valve twin cam motor that was built in Boreham, England) drove brilliantly, particularly on the third night, and took a commanding lead of nine minutes. Then halfway through the final night the alternator failed and, without a spare, he had to run using batteries alone and finished fifth. His reduced speed let the Datsuns sweep through to a great victory. That’s rallying!!

Colin Bond drove a Ford Escort RS2000, with the twin-cam two litre motor, but didn’t have a happy event. He rolled on a gentle bend in the long ‘Horseshoe’ stage, breaking the steering in the incident. However, with the Escorts running in the event, this was a foretaste of the magnificent tussle that was ahead in the next couple of years against the Datsun Stanzas.

A significant international driver was Stig Blomqvist in a Saab, supported by local Dean Rainsford in a similar car.

There was the now usual large contingent (20) of privateers from Japan, headed by Shinozuka and Iwashita. The MHDT returned in a Gemini for Wayne Bell. Entries were also received from Indonesia, Turkey and PNG. There were many fancied local privateers also, including the Gosford Dyno Tune team with Lancers for Ian Hill and for Ross Jackson.

Shekhar Mehta took off seventh in the PB210; then came the Australian privateers, Ian Hill and Arthur Jackson (both Lancers), a Japanese driver (Kanno – Lancer) ninth and the top ten was rounded off by a New Zealander (Blair Robson – Lancer)

This year’s event included the famous ‘Horseshoe’ stage (the course being in the shape of a horseshoe!) which ran for 236 kilometres between Bellingen and Kempsey. This was without a service break and crews had to carry out refuelling in their own time!

Crews were required to report to 100% of all main controls in each division to be eligible for general classification and awards.

Final Placings

1 Rauno Aaltonen Jeff Beaumont Datsun 710 SSS 80.40
2 Harry Kallstrom Claes Billstam Datsun 710 SSS 87.85
3 Bob Watson Peter Godden Datsun 710 SSS 113.96
4 Kenjiro Shinozuka Gary Connelly Mitsubishi Lancer 116.24
5 Greg Carr Wayne Gregson Ford Escort RS1800 153.30
6 Shekhar Mehta Adrian Mortimer Datsun PB 210 164.32
7 Ian Hill Graham Roser Mitsubishi Lancer 196.80
8 Arthur Jackson Peter Berriman Mitsubishi Lancer 216.69
9 Shingeru Kanno Kiyoshi Kawamura Mitsubishi Lancer 236.18
10 Blair Robson Chris Porter Ford Escort RS1800 270.12

 

Download full SCR 1977 PDF

 

1978

14 – 18 OCTOBER
Start: Sydney (Amaroo Park) – Finish: Port Macquarie

George Fury/Mont Suffern/DatsunStanza – from the 1979 regulations booklet

 

Summary

AUSTRALIANS WIN SOUTHERN CROSS INTERNATIONAL RALLY AFTER SIX YEARS!

With the Datsun 710s of Rauno Aaltonen and Harry Kallstrom, together with Andrew Cowan in a VW Golf, at the head of the field, George Fury could have done it the hard way, but in fact, he won quite easily after a titanic tussle with Colin Bond for most of the event.

Fury, and navigator Monty Suffern, swept aside all opposition to bring their Datsun Stanza home to victory in the 1978 Travelodge Southern Cross International Rally. Leading from the second section and without being headed, they dominated the event and finished without any major mechanical failures.

Colin Bond, expected to be Fury’s main rival, experienced a few problems but nevertheless kept up the pace, but he and navigator John Dawson-Damer had to be content with second place after losing time on wrong roads and with several flat tyres.

Although Bond on occasions could take fastest time on a stage, Fury widened the gap gradually. As the rally neared its end Fury’s gearbox began to play up and he nursed the cars over the last few stages. But Bond, too, had his own troubles – the Escort’s differential wasn’t working properly and traction and handling became almost non-existent.

The Holden Dealer Team Gemini of Wayne Bell and George Shepheard came in third place after holding down second spot until the third night when some 12 minutes were lost after they mislaid a page from the road book! Four pages of a re-route instructions were issued by the organisers and apparently one sheet was missing. However, it was the competitors’ responsibility to check what they were given so there was no comeback.

Ross Dunkerton, with navigator Adrian Mortimer, came home fourth despite his Datsun Stanza having wheel bearing problems. Frank Neale and Phil Dodd, the first privateer crew home, were fifth in their 1800 twin cam Mitsubishi Lancer after a relatively trouble-free run.

Japanese Kanno and Yamauchi showed the Japanese drivers can do very well, finishing a fine sixth and seventh, then followed two Australian privateers, Ian Hill and Mike Bell. Mitsuo Ayabe rounded the top ten, to give three Japanese drivers the honour of being on the Top Ten Scoreboard.

The rally was characterised by dusty and fast conditions, together with a wet second night, and saw the top four favoured works crews retire early on. Defending Southern Cross winner Rauno Aaltonen dropped out on the first night with a blown engine, Andrew Cowan broke a half shaft in his Volkswagen Golf, Greg Carr’s Escort broke an axle and he also retired during the first night. Harry Kallstrom’s Stanza also blew its engine (second night). This left Fury, Bond, Bell and Dunkerton to fight it out for the top honour, which they did right to the end of the event.

Final Placings

1 George Fury Monty Suffern Datsun Stanza 1:25:17
2 Colin Bond John Dawson-Damer Ford Escort RS1800 1:37:12
3 Wayne Bell George Shepheard Holden Gemini 1:58:32
4 Ross Dunkerton Adrian Mortimer Datsun Stanza 2:17:42
5 Frank Neale Phil Dodd Mitsubishi Lancer 3:18:50
6 Shigeru Kanno Kiyoshi Kawamura Mitsubishi Lancer 3:37:39
7 Shinya Yamauchi Toshiaki Fukai Toyota Levin 3:38:10
8 Ian Hill Ann Heaney Mitsubishi Lancer 4:00:06
9 Mike Bell Peter Pattenden Mitsubishi Lancer 4:22:35
10 Mitsuo Ayabe Mamoru Namiki Toyota Levin 4:33:16

 

Download full SCR 1978 PDF

 

1979

13 – 17 OCTOBER
Start: Sydney (Amaroo Park) – Finish: Port Macquarie

George Fury/Monty Suffer/Datsun Stanza – winners for the second successive year

 

Summary

Spearheading a magnificent 1-2-3 result for the Datsun Team, George Fury, navigated by long-time navigator, Monty Suffern, took the winner’s laurels for the second consecutive year. It was the third successive win for Datsun in the event, with Rauno Aaltonen winning in 1977.

Fury drove a consistently fast and careful event and had his equally consistent team-mates Ross Dunkerton/Jeff Beaumont and Rauno Aaltonen/Adrian Mortimer to finish immediately behind him. All were in Datsun Stanzas.

But they had a mighty opponent in the Ford Team, comprising Colin Bond, Greg Carr and Bjorn Waldegard in the Escorts, with Geoff Portman running a Repco Reliability Trial Cortina.

The drama and excitement went on well into the fourth and final night, until Waldegard’s Escort broke a differential four stages from the end, shattering Ford’s hope of a win and leaving Colin Bond/John Dawson-Damer’s Escort in fourth.

From the outset, Waldegard showed his worth and Carr was the only driver who could stay with him in the early stages. Then the Fords were threatened from within when Carr’s car retired after a broken axle and then a blown differential. From then on the Ford mechanics worked continuously on the remaining Escorts changing axles and the resultant time losses let the Datsuns stay within reach. Waldegard’s Escort broke an axle on the second night but although not stopped by the incident it let Fury close the gap. Then, on the third night, after another broken axle, Fury took the lead.

However, on the last night Waldegard grabbed the lead back and was leading by a few seconds when the Escort’s differential failed (obviously because of the axle problems) and Fury was the winner again.

Frank Johnson/Steve Halloran’s Mazda RX3 front end failed towards the end and he had to nurse the car to the finish, to be fifth; followed by Nabihiro Tajima/Kioshi Kawamura in their Toyota Levin TE25 – they had a fine run.

The frontrunners had a great battle, overshadowing some good efforts further down the field, with Doug Stewart/Col Parry (Holden Commodore) and Geoff Portman/Ross Runnalls (Ford Cortina) having a real tussle with each other in the big cars, and finishing seventh and ninth; they were split by Gordon Leven/Robbie Wilson in the Datsun H510.

Rounding out the ten was Ron Marks/Chris Heaney after a mighty drive in the Datsun 120Y.

Final Placings

1 George Fury Monty Suffern Datsun Stanza 20:36:09
2 Ross Dunkerton Jeff Beaumont Datsun Stanza 20:49:20
3 Rauno Aaltonen Adrian Mortimer Datsun Stanza 21:53:53
4 Colin Bond John Dawson-Damer Ford Escort RS1800 22:05:19
5 Frank Johnson Steve Halloran Mazda RX3 23:18:13
6 Nobuhiro Tajima Kiyoshi Kawamura Toyota Levin TE25 23:32:26
7 Doug Stewart Col Parry Holden Commodore 23:41:35
8 Gordon Leven Robbie Wilson Datsun H510 23:46:30
9 Geoff Portman Ross Runnalls Ford Cortina 24:05:36
10 Ron Marks Chris Heaney Datsun 120Y 24:36:41

 

Download full SCR 1979 PDF

 

1980

18 – 22 OCTOBER
Start: SYDNEY – Finish: PORT MACQUARIE

Ross Dunkerton/Jeff Beaumont, Datsun Stanza
Winners of the last Southern Cross International Rally

 

Summary

Dunkerton’s and Beaumont’s victory gave the Nissan Rally Team its fourth win in a row in the prestigious event, bringing them close to the enviable record set by Mitsubishi when Andrew Cowan won five on end. Nissan’s effort was a wholly Australian one with all local drivers. The Team was again under the quiet control of manager Howard Marsden.

Second and third places went to Ford Australia crews running Escort RS1800s. Greg Carr/Fred Gocentas finished exactly three minutes behind Dunkerton, while Finnish star Ari Vatanen, with Dave Richards of England, a further 24 minutes down.

In fourth place, and first private crew home were Ian Hill and Anne Heaney in the Ford Escort RS2000, yet another fine result for them following their eighth place in 1978.

Victorian crew David Jones/Ian Pearson finished fifth in their Holden Commodore, an excellent result given this was Jones’ first Southern Cross International Rally, and the bigger car he drove; then came Westralians Frank Johnson/Steve van der Byl in their Mazda 323. An exponent in long distance rallies Johnson was only two minutes behind Jones and his position confirmed his fine fifth in 1979.

The 1980 Southern Cross International Rally was certainly not the longest or toughest in its 15 year history, but it was more dramatic than most. There were five different leaders at various times and the last night was packed with incident, including the blown engines of two of the leading Datsun team.

Dunkerton came from fourth on day one, to third on day two and was second going into the fourth and final division to take his first Southern Cross International Rally after many starts. It was a fairy tale victory for the multiple Australian Rally Champion as his consistently safe but at times spectacular driving suddenly handed him the rally lead towards the end of the event.

A highlight of the event was the appearance of Finnish and World Rally Championship superstar Ari Vatanen. Early on he took the lead and then Geoff Portman took over by the end of day two, only to relinquish it to Fury on day three. Fury set out to wrap up the event but he was stunned by an engine failure like that which occurred to Portman. Carr and Vatanen closed in for the kill but Dunkerton, driving furiously, held them off.

Final Placings

1 Ross Dunkerton Jeff Beaumont Datsun Stanza 836:26
2 Greg Carr Fred Gocentas Ford Escort RS 1800 839.26
3 Ari Vatanen David Richards Ford Escort RS 1800 863:29
4 Ian Hill Ann Heaney Ford Escort RS 2000 898:52
5 David Jones Ian Pearson Holden Commodore 933:22
6 Frank Johnson Steve Van Der Byl Mazda 323 Rotary 935:33
7 John Berne David Petti Ford Escort RS 2000 950:07
8 Gordon Leven Rob Wilson Datsun 1600 SSS 964:34
9 Graham Clark Arthur Davis Datsun 180B 974:43
10 Gary Meehan Gregg Gifford Toyota Celica 977.36

 

Download full SCR 1980 PDF

 

TOM SNOOKS PROFILE

Photo from the SCR era

 

Tom was a competitor in Western Australia in the 1960s, winning the 1967 West Australian Navigators Championship with Ray Jackson, in a HK Holden Ute. He also organise club days for the West Australian Car Club, as well as a number of State Championship events. In 1968 he navigated for Bob Bulloch in that year’s Sydney-Melbourne-Sydney Southern Cross Rally, in a Fiat 125, and they finished!

He organised the Perth start of the 1970 Ampol Round Australia Trial (cars started in each capital city and the competitors then assembled at Port August prior to continuing to the Trial start at Alice Springs) and flew to Sydney for that event’s finish – and stayed there! After all, whilst the best may have been in the West, the motoring feast was in the East!!

It didn’t take long for Tom to find the Horsepower Bar in a hotel near Sydney’s Central Railway Station and become caught up with the motor sport fraternity (both racing and rallying) that gathered there on Wednesday nights, and this led him to join the Australian Sporting Car Club (ASCC – the organiser of the Southern Cross and Snowy, later Bega Valley, Rallies). He was Secretary of the club from 1971 to 1978.

From 1972 Tom became fulltime in organising motor sport events, following a career as a Production Controller in factories, and was hereafter never in a ‘real job’ employment situation! The major events he has been closely associated with are:

  • • 1971 and 1972 Dulux Rallies – assistant to Clerk of Course in 1971 and then Clerk of Course in 1972;
  • • 1971 to 1977 Southern Cross Rallies – General Manager 1973 to 1977;
  • • 1976 to 1980 Total Oil Economy Runs (Sydney to Melbourne) – Event Coordinator;
  • • 1979 Repco Reliability Trial (around Australia) – General Manager;
  • • 1985 to 1992 Wynns/Australian Safari – Co-founder and Promoter and Executive Director;
  • • 1993 to 2003 Targa Tasmania – Sporting Consultant in 1993 and Clerk of Course 1994 to 2003;
  • • 1995 Mobil One Round Australia Trial – Chief Administrator;
  • • 1998 Playstation Round Australia Rally – Chief Administrator;
  • • 1999 to 2002 Australian Safari – Chief Administrator;
  • • 1999 to 2003 Grand Prix Rally – Clerk of Course;
  • • 2002 to 2005 Classic Adelaide Rally – Clerk of Course;
  • • 2008 Red Centre to Gold Coast Trial – Clerk of Course;
  • • 2009 to 2020 Classic Outback Trial – Clerk of Course;
  • • 2009 to 2013 Bega Valley Rally – Promoter/Clerk of Course;
  • • 2017 Targa Florio Touring Event – Clerk of Course.

Tom has also had a distinguished career with the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport (CAMS), the major motor sport controlling body in the country, having worked in head office during 1982 to 1984; then taking on being Secretary and Chair of the National Rally Committee (1982 to 1988), and Chair of a number of other CAMS National Committees/Commissions. He has written 18 manuals on creating and running a car club and ‘How to Organise’ Club events (all on the CAMS website). In recent times he drafted for the FIA (on behalf of CAMS) a development manual to guide national motor sport bodies (the equivalent of CAMS) worldwide on how to set up their motor sport structure.

Tom has been the Minutes Secretary for the six CAMS National Commissions – Race, Historic, Rally, Off Road, Club Sport Development and Officials) – since 2014, taking in some 50 meetings a year (face-to-face meetings and teleconferences).

He is the holder of the CAMS number one officials licence (88/1) and was recognised for his contribution to CAMS Motor Sport by being selected as the inaugural National Official of the Year (1996), awarded the Australian Sports Medal (2000), was the third recipient (after the founders John Large and Ronda Matthews) of Targa Tasmania Hall of Fame, and a member of the Inaugural Recipients of the CAMS Rally Hall of Fame (2013). He was honored with Life Membership of CAMS in 2012. He has held the CAMS Officials Gold Level for Rally Administration and Command for many years.

Tom has also written a history of the Australian Rally Championship (1968/1988), Dulux Rallies (1971/72) and the Total Oil Economy Run (1976/1980)

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