The George Derrick was held on 18 February.
VRC Round 1 – 1968 CCRMIT George Derrick Memorial Trial
Jeff Beaumont tells the story…
The Holden Dealer Team swept to a one-two victory in the first round of the 1968 VRC, the “ George Derrick “ run by the RMIT Car Club. The factory Fords would not be running in the VRC this year, with their focus being on the newly established Australian Rally Championship.
With twenty one starters, the field head off from Lancefield on a hot and dusty afternoon towards Pyalong and the Puckapunyal Forest. Thick dust and virtually no wind made conditions quite hazardous in the Pucka scrub.
The Directors, Tom Cox, Mike Osborne and Tom Seymour, had set a demanding course. Navigation was very demanding and even favourites Watson / McAuliffe scored a wrong direction in the maze of unmapped tracks. Bruce Wilson and Tony Wunderlich retired their Prince GT with mechanical issues.
From the break at Bendigo, crews headed to the next stage start at Laanecoorie where they endured a three hour wait because the officials didn’t have the second stage route instructions!
Finally crews headed off into the Dunolly scrub, with more challenging navigation. A hard to spot gate held up most of the field but David Forster and Jeff Beaumont poked the nose of their Cortina through a gap in the trees to lead a bunch of cars to Control 10.
A loop in the Melville Caves area followed, with huge granite outcrops providing danger for the drivers. Bob Watson and Reg Lunn in their factory HR Holdens were quickest on the route chart into the old mining town of Kooyoora, where the route instructions warned competitors old Ghosts!
The final controls of Stage 2 took the tiring crews back through Arnold West and Tarnagulla. After their earlier mistake, Watson / McAuliffe had flown through the final sections and at Bendigo they had reached the front by just a single point from their team mates. Similarly Tony Roberts and Neville Price, who did everything wrong in the first Division but fought back to finally finish in eighth place.
It is not clear whether the third division was conducted, but it was a fairly straightforward set of sections generally south east from Bendigo, passing through Mia Mia on the way to the finish at Tantaraboo.