The Alpine Rally was held on November 27.
1971 LCCA Alpine Rally
Jeff Beaumont tells the story….
The traditional and prestigious Alpine Rally was held over an extremely testing 700 mile course at the end of November.
This year the Alpine was not a championship event but it still attracted a very strong field. Gerry Ball Tuning entered a team of three cars, two of which finished on the podium. Frank Kilfoyle was a non-starter as his XU-1 was not available.
Bruce Hodgson / Jeff Beaumont put up a serious challenge but a couple of punctures on their twin cam Escort cost them dearly. However they eventually finished in a creditable second place.
The rally started at Wangaratta, then competition got underway with some quick runs through Stanley Plantation, followed by a long series of runs beside the main power transmission lines up in the north east of Victoria.
At the Corryong break, Graeme Elliot had already opened up a lead, from Peter Janson / Mike Mitchell ( XU-1 ), closely followed by Hoddo’s Escort. The Volvo 142S of Tony Roberts / Jim McAuliffe had retired with transmission problems after a heavy landing over a grid.
Dust was still a problem, as the field headed south to Mitta Mitta, Mt Beauty, Bogong and Falls Creek.
Punctures became a major problem due to the rough sections, with Hoddo suffering two. But Peter Janson had a total of four punctures and was forced to run on a flat through a stage at Porepunkah which destroyed his suspension, causing retirement.
The third Gerry Ball entry of Lang / O’Cleary somehow drove straight through the control point at Bogong with a resultant 120 point penalty.
The final Division utilized the traditional run over the Hotham Plateau, then down the winding road to Harrietville, followed by the final run through the forests around Bright and Myrtleford.
Hoddo was charging hard towards the end but a loose steering rack slowed his progress somewhat. Elliot / Gocentas made the most of their dust-free run at the front and went on to score a fine victory.