Tooborac to Mount Gambier

During the first half of Sunday night crews travelled through Victoria to Mount Gambier just over the border into South Australia. Two special stages were conducted enroute, one just north of Ballarat and the second in the Mount Deception forest to the west of Heywood. Despite the somewhat damp conditions, these stages presented no insurmountable problems for most competitors and barely took any time from the leaders.

V5 - Exposure Transport

DistanceTime allowedFirst car dueMap
207.3 km2hours 30 minutes6.30 pm Sunday Click here

This transport stage took a somewhat indirect route to Creswick, travelling via Bendigo and Maryborough, ostensibly to give the residents of those places a chance to see the cars go by. After a fine afternoon the rain started and it was clearly going to be a long wet night. Crews could meet their service crews on the old alignment of the Midland Highway just prior to the start of the special stage.
Some crews were having difficulties managing their time on transports, or were perhaps actually needing extra service time! Rowney dropped a minute, Hodgson 4 minutes, Lund 2 minutes, the second Audi of Behret 6 minutes and Max Roberts 20 minutes. When competitors dropped 2 or more minutes on a transport they would likely have dropped road positions also which was critical once they hit the tricky roads near Bordertown and in the Sunset Country. The Mitchell Cortina (Car 130) had major problems and was more than an hour late.

V6 - Ballarat Special Stage

DistanceTime allowedFirst car dueMap
19.3 km14 minutes6.44 pm Sunday Click here

This stage used all fairly fast good quality gravel forestry roads in the pine plantation and native forests to the south of Creswick, ending near White Swan Reservoir just to the north-east of Ballarat. Conditions were wet and somewhat slushy but nothing too untoward, although the occasional patch of fog made for some excitement.

Super fast Codes Forest Road today, as used on the Ballarat Special Stage
(Photo grabbed from Google Maps Street View)

There were some questions raised about the timing at the end of this stage, with Brock's navigator believing they were docked an extra minute, while a remarkable time by John Bryson in the Escort seems implausible given that they had had a big "off" on the seeding special stage. Nonetheless, the official scores showed only Portman, Carr, Bond and Bell under one minute late (also Bryson!) with most of the front runners losing between one and three minutes. Rowney was unexpectedly slow dropping several places but still holding fifth on the road. Despite the shortness of the stage, quick Mick Ellis must have caught and passed the car in front of him (Hurrey?). Further back in the field the times stretched out to 10 minutes late and beyond with the Hargrave Torana and Foden/Baker P76 losing almost an hour each. Hargrave would eventually cut and run directly to Adelaide.

Fastest times:

  1. Portman 0.14
  2. Carr 0.26
  3. Bond 0.50
  4. Bryson 0.57 (?)
  5. Ferguson (Bell?) 0.58
  6. Mehta (Aaltonen?) 1.13
  7. Brock 1.15
  8. Ellis 1.23
  9. Dunkerton 1.25
  10. Fury 1.26
  11. Perkins 1.36
  12. Cowan 2.05
  13. Barth 2.07
  14. Jackson 2.10
  15. Stewart 2.14
  16. Johnson 2.20
  17. Nalder 2.21
  18. Hodgson 2.23
  19. Mulligan 2.24
  20. Warmbold 2.26
  21. Sutton 2.33
  22. Colless 2.34
  23. Herrmann 2.39
  24. Davis 2.45
  25. Meehan 2.51
  26. Giddings 2.52
  27. Miettunen 2.53
  28. Alexander 2.53
  29. Mason 2.55
  30. Kahler 2.56
  31. Jensen 3.10
  32. Hilton 3.21
  33. Boaden 3.23
  34. McCubbin 3.24
  35. Taylor 3.24
  36. Watson 3.26
  37. Rowney 3.26
  38. Lund 3.26
  39. Stanley (Trevor) 3.30
  40. Beveridge 3.32
  41. Finlay 3.35
  42. Kaitler 3.36
  43. Faulkner, Roberts 3.37
  44. Corr 3.43
  45. Hurrey 3.48
  46. Lahiff 3.52
  47. Lloyd 3.53
  48. Quill 3.53
  49. Kuss 3.55
  50. Suth 3.58
  51. Potter 4.01
  52. Enter 4.03
  53. Loader 4.06
  54. Glennie 4.19
  55. Murray (Gelignite Jack) 4.21
  56. Leighton 4.28
  57. Coleman 4.36
  58. Caddey 4.39
  59. Fritter 4.42
  60. Moore 4.55
  61. Behret 4.58
  62. Mizel 5.02
  63. Bell 5.05
  64. Maloney 5.09
  65. Murray (Jack Milko) 5.16
  66. Tucker 5.18

V7 - Glenelg Transport

DistanceTime allowedFirst car dueMap
263 km3 hours9.44 pm Sunday Click here

A lengthy transport stage through Ballarat and Hamilton took crews to the start of a special stage west of Heywood. The rain continued.
Dunkerton had his first problem with the Volvo - just a loose shock absorber, easily fixed with no time lost. Others were not so fortunate. McArthur's Falcon headed straight for Mount Gambier as did Bell's old Peugeot. The Boaden Mazda RX4, Minett's Datsun 1600, Hayden's Mazda RX2 and Bolton's old Dodge Kingsway all had problems losing around 30 minute each on this transport. Bolton would skip the next special, go to Mount Gambier and then head straight for Pinnaroo, while Minett and Hayden would take maximum (4 hour) penalties on the next special. The Parsons 'husband and wife' Mazda 323 headed straight for Adelaide, having had enough rallying for one day.

V8 - Heywood Special Stage

DistanceTime allowedFirst car dueMap
67.8 km41 minutes10.25 pm Sunday Click here

The roads in the so-called Mount Deception State Forest (now the Cobboboonee National Park) are mostly fast, some with long straights punctuated by sharp bends. Conditions were wet and slushy in places which was challenging at fairly high speeds but the stage was always going to be cleanable by quick cars with confident drivers. This was further guaranteed when the clock at the end control was out by about 2 minutes.

The final bend on Heath Road approaching the end of the stage
(Photo grabbed from Google Maps Street View)

Nineteen cars cleaned the stage: Herrmann, Cowan, Mehta, Bond, Brock, Warmbold, Dunkerton, Carr, Ferguson, Portman, Stewart, Perkins, Sutton, Loader, Miettunen, Nalder (Richards), Ellis and Kaitler. Perkins probably passed Watson and Mizel, Nalder passed Lund and Alexander, Ellis probably also passed two cars (Taylor and Beveridge?), and surely Kaitler further down the field would have also passed several cars. There were plenty of cars losing just a minute or two but times stretched out down the field as the roads became more slushy and the drivers less experienced. Notable 'slow' times were Mulligan (6 seconds), Rowney (38 seconds), Davis (54 seconds), Fury and Barth (both one minute, perhaps a timing error?), Hodgson (2.58) while Watson also dropped almost 3 minutes (the Peugeot was not that quick in a straight line).
Jackson was particularlyl slow (9 minutes), while problems beset Finlay (36 minutes) and Caddey (43 minutes). The Falcon of Phillips lost its brakes, dropped an hour and decided to skip to Adelaide. Gawler and Kipling both lost over an hour while Minett, Caudle, Hayden and O'Donnell took maximum penalties, presumably not actually doing the stage but visiting the end control from the wrong direction and missing the passage control.

V9 - Mount Gambier Transport

DistanceTime allowedFirst car dueMap
59 km45 minutes11.10 pm (EST), depart 11.30 pm (CST) Sunday Click here

The transport along the Princes Highway took crews to Mount Gambier for a 50 minute break. Times were changed from EST to CST.
It was early days but the leader board at Mount Gambier was a follows. We need to go down to 50th place to include all thirteen cars that eventually completed the entire course, with Jackson lying 49th after the very slow time on the Heywood Special Stage.

  1. Portman/Thompson/Hammond (Stanza) 0.14
  2. Carr/Morrow/Gocentas (Cortina) 0.26
  3. Brock/Philip/Richards (Commodore) 1.15
  4. Ellis/Wall (Datsun 120Y) 1.36
  5. Ferguson/Bell/Boddy (Commodore) 2.32
  6. Cowan/Reddiex/Beaumont (Citron CX) 2.33
  7. Mehta/Aaltonen/Lake (Commodore) 2.33
  8. Bond/Riley/Dawson-Damer (Cortina) 3.15
  9. Sutton/Williams/Brock (Datsun 1600) 3.38
  10. Fury/Bonhomme/Suffern (Cortina) 4.08
  11. Dunkerton/McKay/Jones (Volvo 244) 4.34
  12. Mulligan/Byrn/Heaney (Escort) 4.34
  13. Nalder/Richards/Boyd (Celica) 4.46
  14. Stewart/Parry (Commodore) 4.47
  15. Miettunen/Morgan/Suominen (Volvo 244) 4.54
  16. Rowney/Wilson/Tyson (Datsun 180B) 5.42
  17. Perkins/Perkins (VW Beetle) 5.52
  18. Johnson/Vaderbyl (Volvo 242) 5.59
  19. Barth/Kushmaul (Porsche 924) 6.09
  20. Warmbold/Willemsen/Schleuter (Audi 100SE) 6.22
  21. Herrmann/Rainsford (Porsche 911) 6.28
  22. Kaitler/Kay/Harper (Datsun 1600) 6.59
  23. Meehan/Gifford/Gardiner (Monaro GTS) 7.29
  24. Mason/Hicks/Horley (Commodore) 7.54
  25. Jensen/Johnson/Wellington (Volvo 242) 7.59
  26. Hilton/Bourke/Pattenden (Celica) 8.02
  27. Faulkner/de Vaus/Bateson (Peugeot 504) 8.27
  28. Loader/Hill/Neale (Lancer) 9.35
  29. Hurrey/Geddes (Celica) 9.45
  30. Giddings/Jones/Seaman (Datsun 200B) 9.51
  31. Davis/Eather/Toner (Datsun 180B) 10.01
  32. Alexander/Sedgwick (Escort) 10.31
  33. Watson/Harrowfield (Peugeot 505 Diesel) 10.37
  34. McCubbin/Kelly/Guyatt (Monaro GTS) 10.44
  35. Quill/Quill/Ellis (Commodore) 11.07
  36. Stanley (Trevor)/Harrison (Volvo 244) 11.22
  37. Bird/McKinnon (Corolla) 11.23
  38. Lund/Elliott (Mazda RX7) 11.24
  39. Taylor/Hunt (Rover 3500) 11.49
  40. Colless/Johnston/McCoy (Datsun 1600) 11.53
  41. Beveridge/Heaney/Jarman (Volvo 244) 12.16
  42. Kuss/Wraight/Knight (Escort) 12.26
  43. Corr/McKimmie/Johansson (Saab) 12.27
  44. Mizel/Hall/Fricker/Mortimer (Chevy Blazer) 13.34
  45. Murray ('Gelignite' Jack)/D'Albora/Murray (Commodore) 14.20
  46. Hodgson/Houghton/Mitchell (Falcon) 14.21
  47. Enter/Enter (Galant) 14.27
  48. Maloney/Vitnel/Daley (Leyland P76) 14.27
  49. Jackson/West/Jackson (Commodore) 15.13
  50. Glennie/Shaw/Amos (Stanza) 16.01
A total of 148 cars had visited all controls to Mount Gambier, with 127 cars with losses under an hour. Four cars had taken maximum penalties on the Heywood special stage (which probably meant they did not do the stage). Nineteen cars had missed controls or retired from the event, and this was after only three competitive stages that presented few real challenges.

Next: Mount Gambier to Renmark

1 comment:

Ian Richards said...

Despite our good seeding stage time, some of the cars in front of us remained there even though they had done slower times. Somehow Car 80 (Graham Alexander) was slotted back in front of us and in front of him was Car 77 (Charlie Lund's RX7). Bob Watson and Garry Harrowfield in the Peugeot Diesel were only about 5 cars ahead of us.
I recall feeling like crap in the back of the car as we motored through Bendigo and Marybrough. I guess it was a build up of tension more than anything else. It dissipated by Mount Gambier and never returned.
Car 40 (Bruce Hodgson and Mike Mitchell in the Falcon) were late on the transport and next after us into Creswick. Wes drove the Creswick stage and it was pretty treacherous really, but did a good job and a solid time (15th or 16th fastest).
We stopped in Hamilton at the local Toyota Dealer, Tom Francis Motors, for a quick checkup and a coffee. I had been driving from Ballarat and the rain was constant. Wes drove from Hamilton to the start of the stage west of Heyfield.
I quite enjoyed the Heyfield stage as I knew the roads quite well (we had used them in two George Derrick Memorial Trails in 1975/76) and despite the wet and slippery conditions, I was confident that there were no unforeseen hazards other than the mapped bends - most of the roads are pretty straight. Somehow Alexender was in front of Lund and us next but I caught the RX7 after about 20 km and easily got past - there was definitely no dust! We caught Alexander after a further 22 km and would have cleaned the stage just, but because the clock was wrong, we were about 2 minutes early. I was surprised later to see only 19 cars clean as it was really pretty easy and we didn't think we were pressing too hard.