Adelaide to Broken Hill

The run to Broken Hill was a largely enjoyable and trouble free day’s trialling for the leading cars, none of which had any serious problems, bar Fury whose Cortina needed extra service time before leaving Adelaide. The three stages through the southern Flinders Ranges and the plains to the east were quite demanding with lots of rocky creek crossings and generally fairly rough conditions. Numerous gates on all the stages kept the co-drivers busy.

S1 – Burra Transport

DistanceTime allowedFirst car dueMap
185.5 km2 hours 40 minutes7.40 am Tuesday Click here

It was an early start for crews as cars were allowed out of impound one hour before their nominated departure time and they could simply depart on the transport stage up to Burra or take their cars to wherever they had planned to carry out servicing. Therefore the first car left impound at 4.00 am. The route deviated from the main highway in order to pass through Kapunda.
The first chink in the Cortina’s armour was appearing with Fury needing longer time in Adelaide for service. They lost 21 minutes up to Burra and dropped 10 places on the road, probably going out on the first trial stage behind Herrmann. For most cars, the ample 2 hours and 40 minutes allowed in addition to the one hour of service time meant that they could relax and chat at the start of the first stage of the day. The ABC film crew landed their plane on the road, apparently just as Portman was starting the next stage and the Stanza passed neatly under the wing.

Of the 162 cars classified as reaching Adelaide:

  • 73 cars were recorded as being on time at Burra.
  • 48 cars were either late or early at Burra. In addition to Fury, others of note were Jackson (33 minutes), Roberts (17 minutes), Glennie (9 minutes) and Lockhart (1 hour 49 minutes).
  • 26 cars did not appear in the official results because they retired somewhere enroute to Perth and because they did not hand in their Road Cards, scores were never recorded for them. These included Perkins, Sutton and Hodgson, all reasonably well placed at Adelaide.
  • 10 did not even make it Burra, presumably having to work on their cars in order to skip to Broken Hill, Marree, Coober Pedy or Nullarbor. These included Meehan/Gifford/Gardiner (Monaro GTS) which skipped to Nullarbor a day and half later, and Hall/Smith/Lott (Escort) who drove directly to Perth.
  • 5 actually retired in Adelaide and did not start Division S.

S2 – South Flinders Ranges Trial Stage

DistanceTime allowedFirst car dueMap
181.2 km2 hours9.40 am Tuesday Click here

This was a magnificent stage with a wide variety of terrain and roads. A lot was in rugged ranges dipping in and out of creeks, then out onto plains with fast roads and some tight station tracks through scrub country. A number of homesteads were passed including Ketchowla and Braemar with the section ending at Manunda south of Yunta. Many gates had to be opened and closed (32 in the instructions but a few were open). About 14 km into the stage was a creek crossing which was somewhat deep (see the photograph below) which caught out a few cars that did not have proper water proofing on the engine electrics. Apparently Sutton was caught out and Mehta held up by him for a minute or so. Roughly in the middle of the section was a neutralised section due to some sheep lambing in the paddock. This was achieved with two passage controls with cars timed in and out to the second, with exactly 5 minutes allowed to traverse the dead section. At 150 km there was a "Turn left" instruction that appeared not to be there (it apparently was just a left bend in the road with a vague track straight ahead). Some crews milled around but most just continued to the next instruction which came up OK. Tuckey's book suggests that Mehta lost about 7 minutes here.

Brock in front of Portman on the South Flinders Ranges Trial Stage
(Photo courtesy of Ray Berghouse, Chevron Publishing)

Times varied considerably and revealed that some crews were prepared to push very hard in the rough conditions whereas others were perhaps looking after their cars much more. Dust was a problem in some places but there were opportunities to pass in the slower rocky tracks or at gates. Brock passed Portman very early in the stage when he perhaps punctured (suggestions that Brock passed Portman at a gate seem unfounded as the photo above clearly shows that Brock passed Portman within the first 14 km), then pulled away slightly beating him by 3 minutes and taking the overall lead. Carr pushed even harder, keen to make up for his problems at Murray Bridge the previous day, passing Rowney, Johnson, Mehta and probably Perkins on his way to setting the fastest time. It was not only the fastest but was 4 minutes quicker than anyone else. Johnson and Rowney also set fast times, passing Mehta who did some exploring at the dubious "turn left" instruction. Dunkerton followed Doug Stewart for a while, unable to pass, but eventually Stewart stopped, probably with a puncture, letting the Volvo through. Nalder let Cowan through and they were both baulked by Jensen but both eventually passed the Volvo. Warmbold also passed Jensen and caught Nalder near the end, but did not pass the Celica. A little further down the field, Fury managed to pass at least three cars (McCubbin, Hurrey and Loader), Herrmann passed a couple of cars as did Davis.

Cowan passes Nalder on the South Flinders Ranges stage
(Photo: Ian Richards)

The route instructions did mention the kangaroo hazard which turned out to be very real. Behret had hit a kangaroo in the second works Audi and effectively retired. A somewhat similar fate befell the Citroen of George Harris which apparently rolled after its encounted with the roo. The Madgwick F100 also hit a roo and retired but it's not clear whether it was on this stage.
Further down the field the times started to stretch for many of the inexperienced crews, but a total of 107 cars are shown as completing the stage. Problems struck the Commodores of Lockhart (losing almost an hour) and Goldsborough (losing over 2 hours), both skipping from Yunta to Broken Hill. Bryson and Cable-Cumming lost almost an hour and half and then cut to Broken Hill for their wedding! The Foden/Baker/Young P76 stuck problems and took a 4 hour maximum penalty and also susbequently skipped to Broken Hill. The Ohta Toyota lost more than 2 hours and cut and ran to Nullarbor the next evening.

Fastest times:

  • Carr 1
  • Fury, Ferguson 5
  • Bond, Brock, Dunkerton, Johnson 6
  • Cowan, Rowney 8
  • Herrmann, Portman, Jackson 9
  • Mason 10
  • Warmbold 11
  • Roberts, probably Sutton 12
  • Mehta, Hilton 13
  • Davis, Loader, McCubbin 14
  • Nalder 15
  • Barth, Giddings 16
  • Watson, Stewart 17
  • Miettunen, Ellis, Glennie 18
  • Corr, Colless, Hurrey, Enter 19
  • Faulkner, Quill 20
  • Mizel, Jensen 21
  • Lahiff 22
  • Beveridgem Pittaway 23
  • Lance 25
  • Murray (Gelignite Jack), Clarke 26
  • Tholstrup, Maloney 27
Times were not recorded for Sutton, Perkins and Hodgson.

S3 - Yunta Transport

DistanceTime allowedFirst car dueMap
43.3 km1 hour10.40 am Tuesday Click here

This transport stage up to Yunta allowed adequate time for refuelling before heading out on the next trial stage which started almost next to the servo. Either minor problems or a failure to watch the clock lead to some losses in the leading pack: Carr (2 minutes), Dunkerton and Rowney (1 minute each). Problems struck the Birrell Renault (57 minutes) and the Penny Torana (48 minutes). Quite a few crews were booking in early at Yunta to preserve valuable late running time. Quite a few cars picked up the control at Yunta despite travelling up the highway from Adelaide or Burra, while some of these also went directly to the Mingary control, missing the two intervening trial stages and dropping the Curnamona control.

Carr at the Yunta refuel
{Photo: Ian Richards)

S4 - Curnamona Trial Stage

DistanceTime allowedFirst car dueMap
200.0 km2 hours 10 minutes12.50 pm Tuesday Click here

This was another magnificent stage, 200 km of typically rough Flinders Ranges roads and some faster station tracks on the plains to the east. It started with 85 km of almost flat chat running along the main gravel Yunta to Curnamona Road and its offshoot to Barrata to a passage control where crews crossed the main Carrieton to Curnamona Road. Several crews got disoriented on a tricky sequence of instructions just after Barrata. After that it was rough going with numerous nasty creek crossings and many gates up to Biblianda and north-west to Willipa. A striking feature of the stage was the superb Sturt Desert Peas in full bloom. Towards the end the roads were faster and dustier, but with a reasonable breeze blowing it was possible to get past if the wind was blowing across the track. The control at the Curnamona Homestead was buzzing with activity as a number of aircraft had landed at the adjacent airstrip, including the ABC Film Crew.

Perkins approaching Curnamona
(Photo grabbed from the ABC Sport video)

Again, there were a lot of gates to open and close (30 on this stage). A few of the gates were very close together such as the two at 95 km which were 90 metres apart and another two at 99 km that were 150 metres apart. Some navigators would ride on the back between the gates to save time but in one case the second gate was open so they had to stop and jump back in. However it seems that Dunkerton wasn't so kind to Peter McKay who had to cling to the back of the car for several kilometres until the next (closed) gate!
The wide spread of times once again revealed who was prepared to punish their cars the most. At the front, Portman must have conned the start control for a bigger dust gap but even then he caught but could not pass Brock, nonetheless taking 4 minutes off him and moving back into the overall lead. Bond also beat Brock by 3, passing Ferguson who was slow, perhaps delayed by a puncture. Carr was flying and had moved up to fifth on the road behind Bond, but dropped a minute more than Bond after perhaps having to pass Sutton. Mehta (with Aaltonen driving) apparently passed Sutton at a gate by refusing to stop at the gate before they had closed it! Fury also continued to climb through the field, passing Hilton, Barth and Warmbold, while Herrmann was doing likewise, passing several cars and perhaps even getting in front of his team mate, Barth, who was having fuel pump problems with the Porsche 924. Warmbold cracked a brake line but soldiered on to Broken Hill making reasonable times.
Further down the field, times stretched out to an hour or more late, even without crews encountering any significant problems other than deteriorating roads that would have been more and more rutted and corrugated. The Nielson HQ Holden dropped the 4 hour maximum when navigator Russel Tyrie had to be rushed to Broken Hill hospital with appendicitis. Jock Wilson's Mercedes dropped the stage altogether. About 85 cars completed the stage. The results show a cleansheet for the all girl Fiat, but they must have perhaps short cut from Barrata to Curnamona.


  • Portman 4
  • Bond 5
  • Carr 6
  • Brock 8
  • Ferguson 11
  • Johnson 12
  • Fury 13
  • Cowan, Rowney 17
  • Dunkerton 18
  • Herrmann, Colless 19
  • Mehta 20
  • Stewart, Davis 21
  • Warmbold, Nalder, Miettunen 22
  • Jackson, Mason 23
  • Mizel 24
  • Loader, Glennie, Giddings 25
  • Barth, Hilton, Roberts 26
  • Ellis 28
  • Jensen 30
  • Watson 31
  • Taylor, Finlay, McCubbin 32
  • Faulkner 33
  • Beveridge 34
  • Tholstrup, Enter 35

S5 - Mingary Trial Stage

DistanceTime allowedFirst car dueMap
144.3 km1 hour 35 minutes2.25 pm Tuesday Click here

There was no respite at Curnamona with crews immediately setting off on another trial stage. This one ran down to the Barrier Highway at Mingary and was faster and easier, utilising pretty much the same route used by the 1968 London to Sydney Marathon. Despite the numerous gates (29), pretty much all the leading crews cleaned the stage. Supposedly Carr nudged a gate post but with minimal damage. Cowan passed Stewart and Fury may have passed Mason but everyone were early and resumed positions. Those to lose time were those with slow top speeds such as Watson (2 minutes), or those who had problems such as Barth (12 minutes), Gelignite Jack Murray (9 minutes) and Lund who almost ran out of petrol (18 minutes). Of the 83 cars that completed the stage, 30 clean sheeted. Problems struck the Glover Volkswagen dropping almost an hour and subsequently cutting to Kingoonya the next afternoon.

The Brock Commodore negotiating a gate near the end of the Mingary stage
(Photo courtesy of Ray Berghouse, Chevron Publishing

S6 - Broken Hill Transport

DistanceTime allowedFirst car dueMap
72.3 km1 hour 35 minutes4.00 pm Tuesday
Leave 6.00 pm
Click here

The easy run up the highway to Broken Hill gave an opportunity for some of the later crews to book in early to regain precious late running time. What was intended to be a two hour break at the showgrounds was cut back for all but the earliest crews so that the field would be compressed somewhat and leave on schedule at 6 pm. Many crews would catch a shower and a bite to eat as this was the last decent break before Perth, 48 hours later.
The day's rallying had seen a tussle between the works Commodores, Cortinas and the private Stanza of Portman, but the differences were still only a few minutes here and there. The results show a total of 51 cars having visited all controls to Broken Hill. Of the many cars not shown in the results, Perkins was actually 6th (and is shown below because his time loss was recorded in An old dog for a hard road), Sutton was still in the top ten, and Hodgson would have still been about 18th. The positions at Broken Hill were as follows:

  1. Portman/Thompson/Hammond (Stanza)15.53
  2. Bond/Riley/Dawson-Damer (Cortina) 17.23
  3. Brock/Philip/Richards (Commodore) 17:45
  4. Ferguson/Bell/Boddy (Commodore) 21.18
  5. Carr/Morrow/Gocentas (Cortina) 26.44
  6. Perkins/Perkins (VW Beetle) 31.45 (not shown in official results)
  7. Johnson/Vaderbyl (Volvo 242) 32.00
  8. Sutton/Williams/Brock (Datsun 1600) score not known
  9. Mehta/Aaltonen/Lake (Commodore) 41.12
  10. Rowney/Wilson/Tyson (Datsun 180B) 43.39
  11. Dunkerton/McKay/Jones (Volvo 244) 46.47
  12. Cowan/Reddiex/Beaumont (Citron CX) 53.03
  13. Stewart/Parry (Commodore) 56.28
  14. Nalder/Richards/Boyd (Celica) 1.02.38
  15. Fury/Bonhomme/Suffern (Cortina) 1.03.15
  16. Warmbold/Willemsen/Schleuter (Audi 100SE) 1.07.15
  17. Mason/Hicks/Horley (Commodore) 1.09.13
  18. Hodgson/Houghton/Mutchell (Falcon) score not known
  19. Jensen/Johnson/Wellington (Volvo 242) 1.14.56
  20. Barth/Kushmaul (Porsche 924) 1.31.10
  21. Herrmann/Rainsford (Porsche 911) 1.40.13
  22. Hilton/Bourke/Pattenden (Celica) 1.41.07
  23. Loader/Hill/Neale (Lancer) 1.42.38
  24. Davis/Eather/Toner (Datsun 180B) 1.56.54
  25. McCubbin/Kelly/Guyatt (Monaro GTS) 2.12.45
  26. Hurrey/Geddes (Celica) 2.15.46
  27. Watson/Harrowfield (Peugeot 505 Diesel) 2.18.49
  28. Maloney/Vitnel/Daley (Leyland P76) 2:30.00
  29. Quill/Quill/Ellis (Commodore) 2.37.37
  30. Jackson/West/Jackson (Commodore) 2.39.06
  31. Glennie/Shaw/Amos (Stanza) 2.42.45
  32. Colless/Johnston/McCoy (Datsun 1600) 2.47.46
  33. Faulkner/de Vaus/Bateson (Peugeot 504) 2.52.45
  34. Roberts/Waterson/Carrol (Commodore) 3.56.33
  35. Mizel/Hall/Fricker/Mortimer (Chevy Blazer) 3.18.58
  36. Miettunen/Morgan/Suominen (Volvo 244) 3.19.42
  37. Enter/Enter (Galant) 3.41.07
  38. Taylor/Hunt (Rover 3500) 3.55.54
  39. Lloyd/Crockenberg/Dick (Colt) 3.56.51
  40. Murray ('Gelignite' Jack)/D'Albora/Murray (Commodore) 4.01.12
  41. Lahiff/Beath/Clarke (HR Holden) 4.02.29
  42. Lund/Elliott (Mazda RX7) 4.03.06
  43. Clarke/Davis/Burge (Datsun 180B) 4.05.34
  44. Sheridan/Reid (Datsun 1600) 4.08.02
  45. Potter/Bain (Mazda RX3) 4.38.38
  46. Lance/Craft/Robinson (Commodore) 4.41.34
  47. Tattingham/Geue/Kemp (EH Holden) 5.03.09
  48. Koseki/Takaoka (Subaru Leone) 5.09.04
  49. Pittaway/Boston (XY Ford Ute) 5.14.42
  50. Corr/McKimmie/Johansson (Saab) 5.48.09
  51. Finlay/Sullivan/McLeod (Commodore) 6.18.15
  52. Penny/Kennard/Brown (LH Torana) 6.34.00
  53. Caddey/Mulach/Hanrahan (Fairmont) 9.53.17
  54. Birrell/Smith/Nixon (Renault 16TS) 10.45.43
Many cars suffered suspension damage on the punishing roads of the southern Flinders Ranges. Retirements at or before Broken Hill with suspension breakages included the Moore P76, the Jack 'Milko' Murray Peugeot, the Hunt Datsun 180B, the Larkin EH Holden and the Coleman Honda Civic. The Barkell Escort apparently also retired in Broken Hill with unspecified problems. As the main field headed into the night numerous other competitors were scattered across South Australia as they made repairs and decided whether to head for Marree, Kingoonya or Nullarbor in order to rejoin the event over the next 36 hours.

Next: Broken Hill to Coober Pedy


Ian Richards said...

It seemed like the middle of the night when we woke up at the Adelaide Travelodge to get ready for our departure. Well actually it WAS the middle of the night! We were out of impound at 4.28 am and headed straight to the Toyota dealership about 10 minutes away. The dealership provided some sandwiches and juices for breakfast which was much appreciated. I analysed the route instructions and agreed a plan of action for the service crews with our other team members, Brian Hilton and Peter Hurrey. I wanted to get our service car into Barrata and Curnamona (which required sending them in via Carrieton) and the up to Frome Downs for later in the night while the other service vehicle would cover Yunta and the plane with Charlie Ryder on board would go to Broken Hill.
Geoff drove all the way up to Burra and there was plenty of time. Wes drove the first trial stage through to Manunda and up to Yunta. We enjoyed the stage and took it fairly easy as there were a lot of rough creek crossings and our strategy was to find a suitable pace that would not put undue stress on the car. I kept an eye out the back for Cowan who we let past after about 50 km, then I watched for Warmbold but there was no sign of the Audi. After the neutralised section in the middle there was something wrong with the route instructions where there was a T.L. at a fence that never appeared but in this kind of event you just press on and see if it fits, and it did. We caught Harry Jenson soon after that and he let us past then I could see Warmbold had passed Jensen also but he was not catching us much and as there was a bit of a breeze, he was well clear of our dust. We saw Warwick Smith and Geoff Lawson having a look at the end control.
We consumed some canned fruit on the way up to Yunta and mailed cards home to our wives from Yunta. I drove the next stage to Curnamona. I was prepared to let the Audi go first but he didn’t appear on time so we went anyway and never saw Warmbold again! We saw our service crew at the Barrata passage control but all was well and we pressed on into the rough stuff with numerous sharp creek crossings and dips. At the two gates that were 150 metres apart Geoff rode on the back only to find the second gate open but I stopped whereas Dunkerton apparently did the same but did not stop until the subsequent closed gate 800 metres further on! We didn’t see any other cars on the stage and arrived intact at Curnamona where it was like a major airport. I quickly swapped with Wes as we only had 1 minute in control.
The run down to Mingary was uneventful except for the numerous gates. Doug Stewart was in front of us at control and Cowan in front of him, but Cowan had passed him on the stage and both were early so they reverted back to their original order. Mason came in behind us then Fury and Warmbold who had gone mapping at Barrata. Geoff drove into the “Hill” where Charlie met us at the Showgrounds and we took the car to the dealership for a quick check over and us to Charlie’s motel room for showers. We were back at the showgrounds well in time for our departure.

RedAdder666 said...

Hi, Greg Gifford here.
Navigator from car 57 Monaro GTS (Meehan,Gifford,Gardner).

This sort of carries on from my previous post.
We had smashed the front windscreen on a low branch some where on the previous leg. When we booked out of Parc Ferma in Adelaide we were told if we arrived in Perth with the broken windscreen we would be out of the event !!
You ever tried to find someone to change the windscreen in Adelaide at about 5:00am. We ended up doing our service and it wasn't until about 8:30 (or maybe later) we found someone who had our windscreen in stock.
We had to make the decision to cut and run as too much late time had been used up. Thus we rejoined the trial at the Nullarbor Roadhouse but meant we had dropped 16 Controls. This was a big blow to us and now our attention swung to just try and finish.

Thomas Cook said...

Thanks a ton for posting this kind of article.We are an Australian based company mostly dealing with Adelaide Car Servicing

Unknown said...

As I was once Ganger of Immarna in 1978(Ganger no 2 gang Kingoonya in 79) its interesting to see what they thought of our local roads, I used an old Wolsley car for travel outback back then as our cars were valued on reliability not how new, I still drive an 81 Jeep Cherokee Wagon as it is easy to fix but never needs to be😂