Division W

Perth to Darwin

Cars departed Perth pre-dawn on Friday morning for the long run to Darwin via Geraldton, Port Hedland, Derby and Kununurra. Short breaks were scheduled in each of those towns. The first car would not reach Darwin until late Sunday afternoon. The route is shown below.

The route comprised only 1 special stage of 3.3 km, 9 trial stages totalling 2,012.7 km and 12 transport stages totalling 2,730.2 km for a total division distance of 4,746.2 km of which 42% was competitive.

Detailed descriptions of the stages, conditions and stories are split into six parts:

Full route instructions are available here.

The Western Australian division was where the Commodores won the event. It can even be said that it is where Brock won the event, even though Car 05 would briefly relinquish the lead to Ferguson near Mount Isa, regaining it again between Mackay and Rockhampton. In reality, the Ford effort fell apart at Perth where all three cars required substantial work. The lead car of Bond was presumably given priority and made it out of Perth on time, only to roll on a transport stage 50 km from the city. Fury just made the transport but dropped road position. Carr lost more than an hour leaving Perth, and crucially, lost road position which would be critical on later dusty sections. Fury's car then broke its engine mounts on the first trial stage and never really recovered. Carr spent the whole division languishing down the field, perhaps nursing the car and almost certainly encountering a lot of dust. Bond battled on, effectively retiring at Wittenoom while Fury skipped sections after Newman and headed straight to Darwin. Portman rolled at Wanneroo and Dunkerton had a number of mechanical issues, while Cowan's hydraulics failed before Port Hedland. The Commodores moved into a commanding 1-2-3 position by Port Hedland. George Shepheard, no doubt realising that the dream of a 1-2-3 finish was actually possible, now had to manage the intra-team rivalry between the Brock and Ferguson cars. The two stages before Port Hedland proved decisive with the Ferguson car puncturing and then becoming stuck twice, allowing Brock into a clear lead, but then a broken tie-rod on the 05 car would reduce that lead to a just 3 minutes by Darwin.

By Darwin only 17 cars had done the entire route without missing any controls. The 9 that dropped off the list since Perth (Lund, Bond, Fury, Warmbold, Johnson, McCubbin, Stewart, Roberts, Mason) had basically struck troubles before Port Hedland. Outright scores at Darwin:

  1. Brock/Philip/Richards(Commodore) 2.09.06
  2. Ferguson/Bell/Boddy (Commodore)2.12.39
  3. Mehta/Aaltonen/Lake (Commodore) 3.44.38
  4. Cowan/Reddiex/Beaumont (Citroen CX) 4.26.48
  5. Carr/Morrow/Gocentas (Cortina) 5.36.41
  6. Dunkerton/McKay/Jones (Volvo 244) 6.38.08
  7. Portman/Thompson/Hammond (Stanza) 6.52.55
  8. Rowney/Wilson/Tyson (Datsun 180B) 7.57.03
  9. Nalder/Richards/Boyd (Celica) 8.02.02
  10. Barth/Kushmaul (Porsche 924) 8.33.07
  11. Davis/Eather/Toner (Datsun 180B) 9.16.17 *
  12. Loader/Hill/Neale (Lancer) 9.16.28
  13. Herrmann/Rainsford (Porsche 911) 9.27.40
  14. Watson/Harrowfield (Peugeot 504 Diesel) 9.42.23
  15. Jackson/West/Jackson (Commodore) 12.45.38 #
  16. Hilton/Bourke/Pattenden (Celica) 12.46.20
  17. Mizel/Hall/Fricker/Mortimer (Chevy Blazer) 13.58.38
* Davis' score is missing time lost on stage W10, estimated to be 15 minutes.
# Jacksons' score is shown as 20 minutes more in the results, probably an arithmetic error.

It is also of interest to look at the scores on Division W alone, where 27 cars had done the entire route. Apart from the standout performances of the two Porsches, there were also some great performances from a few crews that had previously missed controls on earlier divisions:

  1. Mehta/Aaltonen/Lake (Commodore) 40.15
  2. Brock/Philip/Richards(Commodore) 53.13
  3. Ferguson/Bell/Boddy (Commodore)1.09.18
  4. Cowan/Reddiex/Beaumont (Citroen CX) 2.03.30
  5. Barth/Kushmaul (Porsche 924) 2.26.32
  6. Herrmann/Rainsford (Porsche 911) 2.43.45
  7. Nalder/Richards/Boyd (Celica) 2.45.38
  8. Watson/Harrowfield (Peugeot 504 Diesel) 3.10.51
  9. Dunkerton/McKay/Jones (Volvo 244) 3.17.27
  10. Davis/Eather/Toner (Datsun 180B) 3.33.38 *above
  11. Loader/Hill/Neale (Lancer) 3.36.51
  12. Carr/Morrow/Gocentas (Cortina) 3.51.24
  13. Portman/Thompson/Hammond (Stanza) 4.17.36
  14. Jackson/West/Jackson (Commodore) 4.18.39 #above
  15. Rowney/Wilson/Tyson (Datsun 180B) 4.38.24
  16. Mizel/Hall/Fricker/Mortimer (Chevy Blazer) 4.57.39
  17. Hilton/Bourke/Pattenden (Celica) 5.32.01
  18. Hurrey/Geddes (Celica) 5.54.38 (results show 6.40.38)
  19. Clarke/Davis/Burge (Datsun 180B) 6.21.45
  20. Beveridge/Heaney/Jarman (Volvo 244) 6.23.43 (results show 6.03.43)
  21. Finlay/Sullivan/McLeod (Commodore) 6.32.45
  22. Jensen/Johnson/Wellington (Volvo 242) 6.55.41 (results show 6.33.21)
  23. Giddings/Jones/Seaman (Datsun 200B) 7.00.25
  24. Miettunen/Morgan/Suominen (Volvo 244) 8.18.24
  25. McDiarmid/Phegan/Travis (Datsun 180B SSS) 8.37.55
  26. Murray/D'Albora/Murray (Commodore) 8.44.52 (results show 8.36.52)
  27. Lockhart/Dunstan/Finlayson (Commodore) 11.00.49 (results show 11.49.49)
It is interesting to note that because the late time limit on Division W was 8 hours, those with scores over 8 hours did so by booking in early on some controls.

There were some other notable performances. Roberts/Waterson/Carrol (Commodore) missed only 1 control (Tangadee), so not doing stages W9 and W10, as did Foden/Baker/Young (Leyland P76) and O'Donnell/Geissler/Gibson (LX Torana), although both of them skipped other stages, picking up maximum penalties for entering an end control from the wrong direction.

There were 104 cars classified as still in the event at Darwin, plus Carter/Stephens/Draper (XC Falcon) running under protest (they had missed 9 controls on Division W). The 87 cars that had missed controls were as follows:

  • Missed 1 control:
    Roberts/Waterson/Carrol (Commodore)
  • Missed 2 controls:
    Clarke/Davis/Burge (Datsun 180B)
    Jensen/Johnson/Wellington (Volvo 242)
    Murray/D'Albora/Murray (Commodore)
    Mason/Hicks/Horley (Commodore)
  • Missed 3 controls:
    McCubbin/Kelly/Guyatt (Monaro GTS)
    Finlay/Sullivan/McLeod (Commodore)
    Beveridge/Heaney/Jarman (Volvo 244)
  • Missed 4 controls:
    Lockhart/Dunstan/Finlayson (Commodore)
  • Missed 5 controls:
    Hurrey/Geddes (Celica)
    Miettunen/Morgan/Suominen (Volvo 244)
  • Missed 6 controls:
    Giddings/Jones/Seaman (Datsun 200B)
  • Missed 7 controls:
    Maloney/Vitnel/Daley (Leyland P76)
    Faulkner/de Vaus/Bateson (Peugeot 504)
  • Missed 8 controls:
    Johnson/Vanderbyl (Volvo 242)
    Bond/Riley/Dawson-Damer (Cortina)
  • Missed 9 controls:
    Fury/Bonhomme/Suffern (Cortina)
    Foden/Baker/Young (Leyland P76)
    Wilson/Baker/Freeze (Mercedes 280S)
    Birrell/Smith/Nixon (Renault 16TS)
  • Missed 10 controls:
    McDiarmid/Phegan/Travis (Datsun 180B SSS)
  • Missed 11 controls:
    O'Donnell/Geissler/Gibson (LX Torana)
  • Missed 12 controls:
    Warmbold/Willemsen/Schleuter (Audi 100SE)
    Tattingham/Geue/Kemp (EH Holden)
    Sheridan/Reid (Datsun 1600)
    Lloyd/Crockenberg/Dick (Colt)
  • Missed 13 controls:
    Koseki/Takaoka (Subaru Leone)
    Caudle/Drew/Elsden (Datsun 1600)
  • Missed 14 controls:
    Ingerson/Wilson/MacCulloch (Peugeot 404)
  • Missed 15 controls:
    Goldsborough/Flanagan/Ground (Commodore)
  • Missed 16 controls:
    Boys/Vonthien (Ford F100)
    Turner/Donohue/Sparrow (Leyland P76)
    Lahiff/Beath/Clarke (HR Holden)
  • Missed 17 controls:
    Penny/Kennard/Brown (LH Torana)
  • Missed 18 controls:
    Farmer/Farmer/Fraser (Leyland P76)
    Minett/Chapple/Watson (Datsun 1600)
    Nicholson/Crawford (Lancer)
    Heaton/Shepherd/Mann (HJ Holden Panel Van)
    Potter/Bain (Mazda RX3)
  • Missed 19 controls:
    Kuss/Wraight/Knight (Escort)
    Boaden/Pritchard/Atkin (Mazda RX4)
    Lance/Craft/Robinson (Commodore)
  • Missed 20 controls:
    Herdy/O'Kane/Gramenz (Peugeot 504)
    Bray/McMahon/Smith (Valiant Charger 770)
  • Missed 21 controls:
    Richardson/Daniel/Fullerton (XD Falcon)
  • Missed 22 controls:
    O'Shanesy/Dean/O'Shanesy (Fiat 131)
    Caddey/Mulach/Hanrahan (Fairmont)
    Hayden/Phillis/Hogan (Mazda RX2)
    Easton/Rayner/Bell (Datson 1600)
    Taylor/Hunt (Rover 3500)
  • Missed 23 controls:
    Meehan/Gifford/Gardiner (Monaro GTS)
  • Missed 25 controls:
    Myers/Myers/Sinfield (Peugeot 504)
    Walker/McCann (Renault 12)
    Neilson/Stewart/Tyre (HQ Holden)
    Colless/Johnston/McCoy (Datsun 1600)
  • Missed 26 controls:
    Gough/Hutton/Bishop (LJ Torana)
    Kahler/Partridge/Simeon (Mazda RX4)
    Stockley/O'Neill (Porsche 911E)
    Donoghue/Logan/Grace (Celica)
    Jones/Jones/Webber (Riley)
  • Missed 27 controls:
    Clyborne/Hayes (Ford Pickup)
    Pittaway/Boston (XY Ford Ute)
  • Missed 28 controls:
    Walsh/Whitby/Wunderlich (Ford 'Grey Ghost')
  • Missed 29 controls:
    Glover/Burke/Hather (VW)
  • Missed 30 controls:
    Koch/Darling/Koch (Commodore)
    Bolch/Keane/Owen (Monaro HJ GTS)
    Darby/Clark/Stewart (HR Holden)
  • Missed 31 controls:
    Rayner/Campbell/Loader (HT Holden)
    Roggenkamp/Adair/Eakin (Escort)
    Garner/Madden/Corban (Torana)
    Tholstrup/Perry (Chevvy Pickup)
  • Missed 32 controls:
    Moore/Sethna (VW Beetle)
  • Missed 35 controls:
    McArthur/McArthur/McArthur (XY Falcon)
  • Missed 37 controls:
    Lunney/Tyler/Tyler (Peugeot 504)
    Reinders/Lewis (FJ Holden)
  • Missed 38 controls:
    Spanbroek/Compton/Plywright (Datsun 240K)
  • Missed 39 controls:
    Ferrier/Smith (Honda Civic)
  • Missed 40 controls:
    Bird/McKinnon (Corolla)
  • Missed 42 controls:
    Fullagher/Fullagher/Fullagher/Fullagher (Monaro GTS)
  • Missed 43 controls:
    Cafe/Gurney/Dawson (Mazda RX4)
  • Missed 44 controls:
    Webster/Jolly/McIntyre (FJ Holden)
  • Missed 47 controls:
    Hall/Smith/Lott (Escort)
    Sparkes/Clayton (Ford Fairmont)
  • Missed 54 controls:
    Bryson/Cable-Cumming (Escort)
  • Missed 55 controls:
    Haslam/Bing (Ford Sedan)
  • Missed 57 controls:
    McTigue/Sheridan/Wilson (HQ Holden Panel Van)
  • Missed 59 controls:
    Parsons/Parsons (Mazda 323)

The following cars retired during Division W or at Darwin:

  • Lund/Elliott (Mazda RX7) - rear end
  • Stanley (Trevor)/Harrison (Volvo 244) - rear end
  • Ellis/Wall (Datsun 120Y) - rear end
  • Kipling/Potticary (Holden HJ Ute) - blown engine
  • Glennie/Shaw/Amos (Stanza) - no details
  • Wallis/Cochrane/Davies (Peugeot 404) - radiator
  • Cleworth/Comley/Ballestrin (Mini GT) - no details
  • Corr/McKimmie/Johansson (Saab) - gearbox problems at Geraldton
  • Feizaks/Molan (Citroen D) - smashed gearbox on the way to Cue
  • Duyveston/Kirk/Comley (EH Holden) - hit kangaroo
  • Bell/Vaughan (Peugeot 203) - out of late time at Port Hedland
  • Stewart/Parry (Commodore) - clutch after Port Hedland
  • Craig/Wansborough (Mini Cooper S) - retired at Broome
  • Saville/Fyvie/Harris (Peugeot 504) - accident in Kimberley
  • Hargrave/Hutton/Trinks (Torana) - hit bull
  • Johnson/Marsh (Mazda R100) - out of late time at Kununurra
  • Quill/Quill/Ellis (Commodore) - blown engine at Kununurra
  • Mitchell/Rowe/York (Cortina Mk2) - gearbox problems at Kununurra
  • Suth/Gros/Suth (VW) - out of late time at Darwin
  • Sawyer/Halliday/Mortimer (XD Falcon) - no details
  • Cuthell/Harris (XU1 Torana) - out of late time at Perth
  • Warmbold/Willemsen/Schleuter (Audi 100SE) - out of late time at Darwin?
  • Haslam/Bing (Ford Sedan) - out of late time at Darwin?
  • Kuss/Wraight/Knight (Escort) - out of late time at Darwin?

Next: Division T

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