The Eureka Rally was held on February 28.
ARC Round 1 – 1970 LCCA (Ball) Eureka Rally
Jeff Beaumont tells the story…
This first ARC round for 1970 was directed by Jack Ellis and started and finished in Ballarat, with most of the 800 competitive kms run in the Ararat and Grampians regions.
Due to the dry weather it turned out to be a very rough event combined with challenging navigation. In fact most of the non-Victorian crews were troubled by the difficult navigation.
Factory teams were entered by Renault, with three R8 Gordini models; the Holden Dealer Team with two new Toranas and a Monaro; Mitsubishi with a trio of Colt 1500s; plus British Leyland with two Morris 1500s.
Bob Watson and Jim McAuliffe set the early pace in their Gordini, from team mates Mal McPherson / Robin Sharpley and the Twin Cam Escort of privateers Peter Robertson and Roger Bonhomme.
The other factory teams were in a lot of trouble, with both mechanical and navigational issues. Tony Roberts replaced a differential at the break at Ararat, losing a little time but he fought back to finish fourth. Colin Bond and Barry Ferguson both had carby problems, then Fergie heavily bogged.
Doug Chivas / Adrian van Loon were running well, but a head-on crash with a competitor’s Mazda R100 in a tricky navigation section in the southern Grampians halted their progress.
Peter Janson / Jeff Beaumont in their Kays R8 Gordini were going well until they damaged their front suspension in one of the many nasty dry creek crossings just south of Halls Gap and retired.
Watson / McAuliffe stayed out of trouble and scored a well deserved and comfortable victory, their first of several wins for the season. They went on to win the 1970 national title with dominant performances all season.
Rex Lunn and John Hall from Geelong put in an outstanding and reliable performance to bring home their brand new Corona in second place.