The Classic Rally was held on 6 April.
ARC Round 1 / VRC Round 2: 1968 GMHMC Classic Rally
Jeff Beaumont tells the story…
The new Australian Rally Championship began with its first ever round being the Classic Rally of Gippsland.
Organised by the GMH Motoring Club, the event Directors were Bob Watson and Jim McAuliffe. Their management was superb with a great selection of roads, perfect maps, excellent instructions and very capable officials.
The rally attracted 47 starters and was based at Noojee in the hills east of Melbourne. The 500 km event contained three alternating loops from the central point at Noojee Park. By alternating the loops, car gaps were six minutes which eliminated any dust problems.
This was an outstanding concept, which could only be used in the days of limited public traffic as the roads were not closed to the public!
Another unique feature was the design of the route instructions. Each loop was referred to by colour; pink, blue and yellow. The competitors were provided with maps, also colour coded, detailing the route with mileages between junctions. The “route instructions” simply referred to the map and that in turn clearly displayed the intended passage (links to the maps below).
Frank Kilfoyle ( Cortina ) and Bob Holden ( Volvo ) starred in the Pink Division which included the rough Mt Observation Road, plus a section of bitumen, used twice.
The Yellow Division was expected to be a Ford vs BMC battle but Evan Green and George Shepheard had issues with fuel blockages in their Cooper S and Roger Bonhomme had gearbox issues in the Dent’s Cooper S forcing their retirement.
The Blue Division was Kilfoyle’s, where he dominated with fastest on every single stage, thus cementing his victory.
Victorians Frank Kilfoyle and Doug Rutherford in their FoMoCo GT Cortina won the first ever Australian Rally Championship round with just 25 points lost from Harry Firth and Graham Hoinville in their Lotus Cortina with 43 points lost.
Ford Team Victorian crews finished in first and second places and were thus awarded with the relevant points for the Victorian Rally Championship, although neither crews contested any further VRC events in the year.
They were followed home by a big bunch of NSW crews, with Volvo’s filling the next three places, a splendid team effort.