Albury to Melbourne

N17 – In Repcospect Transport

DistanceTime allowedFirst car dueMap
310.7 km4 hours 40 minutesDepart Albury 7.00 am Sunday
Hold at BP Aberfeldie at Essendon
Arrive Melbourne Showground 12.00 midday
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The podium, left to tight: Ferguson, Brock (behind), Bell, Philip (obscured), Boddy, Richards
(Photo courtesy Ray Berghouse, Chevron Publishing)

The cars started departing the Albury Showgrounds at minute intervals from 7 am on Sunday morning for the transport down to Melbourne. Whilst this was all “ceremonial”, it had to be completed and vehicles had to be roadworthy, as police were out and about in force. This must have been just a little bit of a challenge for Portman’s Stanza which looked ready to go to the wreckers.
Cars made their way to BP Aberfeldie in Buckley Street, Essendon where they were assembled for a convoy to the Melbourne Showgrounds, arriving at 12 midday Sunday August 19th. There was a huge crowd. The thirteen cars that had visited all controls were paraded into the arena in reverse sequence, and subsequently after the three winning Commodores had circled in convoy, the remaining finishers were allowed to enter. As Bill Tuckey put it in An old dog for a hard road, You felt like crying out: “But you don’t understand! You don’t know what it was like!"

Next: Division N Summary

1 comment:

Ian Richards said...

The “partying” at the Travelodge on Saturday afternoon and evening was fairly subdued as everyone was very tired. I grabbed a few hours sleep in the afternoon and rejoined the throng at the Travelodge restaurant for dinner. Even then, with an early departure for Melbourne next morning, it was not a late night. It was good to have our first full night of sleep in almost 2 weeks!
Next morning my parents took me to the impound but Wes and Geoff were delayed after the police booked the service crew for carrying unsecured passengers on the back of the service ute for the one kilometre from the hotel to the impound. Still, we were soon motoring down the Hume Highway with Geoff and Wes dozing until we stopped for fuel at Winton. Geoff then drove into the regroup in Essendon and Wes drove into the Showgrounds in the convoy.
There was a big crowd and despite the many greetings and well wishes from friends and relations, the overriding feeling was one of anti-climax. It was all over and no-one who had not been in the event could ever understand what it had been like. At one level it was like several seasons of rallying rolled into two weeks, but it was much more than that. It had been incredibly difficult and tiring, with incredible highs and lows. For us, there was a certain quiet self-satisfaction that our planning, our preparation and our well considered strategy had all paid off. We had done better than we could have expected and from a lowly Car 81 we had “showed ‘em”. Our only disappointment was perhaps not taking better tyres for the Nullarbor run where we certainly “lost” the event and might otherwise have finished fourth.
The ceremonies followed and a press conference but the focus was on the 1-2-3 Commodore victory, which by any measure was a fantastic achievement. Dunkerton had shown what an incredible driver he was and had brought the Volvo home in fourth despite so many problems. His event was like a giant game of snakes and ladders! Everyone knew that Carr was quick and he salvaged some pride for the battered Ford team. For us to finish behind those well-funded factory entries was in many ways quite extraordinary, but so too were all the performances of those who finished behind us, especially the two-man crews in the Porsches and the Watson/Harrowfield Peugeot. We felt a bit neglected at the end and indeed it was not until several weeks later that Toyota held a small luncheon to recognise our achievement. Perhaps in some small way we contributed to the subsequent involvement in Australian rallying by Toyota through Neal Bates.