Australian Rally History

by Tom Snooks

1973 Southern Cross Rally

‘THE WET ONE’

3 – 7 OCTOBER 1973

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

1Andrew CowanJohn BrysonMitsubishi Lancer GSR193 pts
2Barry FergusonWayne GregsonMitsubishi Lancer GSR219
3Doug ChivasPeter MeyerMitsubishi Lancer GSR225
4Joginder SinghGary ConnellyMitsubishi Lancer GSR247
5Colin BondGeorge ShepheardHolden Torana XUI264
6Frank KilfoyleMike OsbourneDatsun 180B SSS281
7Bob RileyAdrian van LoonMitsubishi Galant366
8Bob WatsonJeff BeaumontDatsun 240Z372
9Charlie LundNigel CollierMazda RX3570
10Bill EvansMike MitchellDatsun 1200726

Information about the 1973 Southern Cross Rally in the document below.

1973 Southern Cross Rally