Australian Rally History

by Tom Snooks

1970 Southern Cross Rally

7 – 11 OCTOBER 1970

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

1Barry FergusonDave JohnsonHolden Torana GTR160 pts
2Evan GreenPeter BrownMorris Cooper S184
3Stewart McLeodAdrian MortimerDatsun 1600186
4Rex HarrisNigel CollierMazda R100206
5Paul OlderColin AlexanderVolvo 142S234
6Bruce WilkinsonIan InglisDatsun 1600243
7Barry LloydAndy BrowneMitsubishi Colt 1100 SSS251
8Colin BondGeorge ShepheardHolden Torana XU1255
9Rex LunnJohn HallFord Capri311
10Ossie JacksonAdrian van LoonVolvo 122S351

Read about the 1970 Southern Cross Rally are in the document below.

1970 Southern Cross Rally