The BP Rally was held on 6-11 May.
1969 LCCA BP Rally of South Eastern Australia
Jeff Beaumont tells the story…
The 2,000 mile, four day BP Rally was run as usual by the Light Car Club of Australia and was held entirely in Victoria, attracting 40 crews. This popular Rally started and finished at Chadstone Shopping Centre, with large crowds in attendance.
Points losses for the event indicated the relative easiness of the BP Rally. The Ford Motor Company dominated the results, with their team of three GT Falcons finishing in the top five positions and led by Ian Vaughan and Bob Forsyth.
Competition started at Stawell, then swept around Western Victoria then up to Swan Hill for the first overnight stop. A couple of tricky sections upset the hopes of a few crews, including Tony Roberts / Mike Osborne in the Porsche 911 and John Keran / Roger Bonhomme In the Volvo 142.
Early in the rally an unmarked gate on a public road caused some confusion and points losses. It drew a protest that was later dismissed.
The vent was run in dry conditions in mid May, so the notorious sandy and boggy sections throughout Wimmera and Mallee did not eventuate, much to the disappointment of Director Tony Theiler.
As the field headed south-east from Swan Hill, dust became a problem in the forests alongside the Murray River. Normally hard-to-see tracks were even harder to locate in the dust haze, causing points losses for many crews.
The next overnight was at Wangaratta, before a loop the next day through the local ranges. The Land Rover of Ken Moore and Tony Wunderlich was running well at this stage but they slipped off the road into a ditch and damaged their front end.
The following day was spent in the forests around Beechworth and Myrtleford, then down to Mansfield and up to Mt Buller for the final overnight stop.
The NSW crew of Ken Tubman and John Sproule had been running well up with the leaders until they went forest exploring and dropped a bunch of points.
Sunday’s route led competitors through the Strathbogie Ranges, then down into the Murrindindi Forest, before the final run back to Chadstone.
Ian Vaughan / Bob Forsyth had put up a very solid performance, leading the Rally all the way with minimal points loss. Also impressive was the little Colt Fastback of Colin Bond and Brian Hope, finishing in second place, with Bob Watson and Jim McAuliffe completing the podium in the Renault.