1971 BP Rally of South Eastern Australia

The BP Rally was held on 11 to 16 May 1971.

1971 BP  Rally of South Eastern Australia

Jeff Beaumont tells the story …

The 1971 BP Rally, directed by Frank Kilfoyle and Mike Osborne, was considered to be one of the toughest yet. The 2,200 mile event certainly tested the 48 crews over four days and nights.

South Australians Stewart McLeod / Jack Lock ( Torana XU-1 ) scored a fine victory with fellow “ crows “  Tom Barr-Smith and Rob Hunt ( Renault 16TS ) in third place. They were split by the Victorian crew of David Chettle / Laurie Comerford, also in a Renault 16TS.

The rally bought everyone together at Echuca for the start proper. The route ran north west through Gunbower forest, then up to the Sunraysia capital, Mildura.

Rex Lunn and Bob Forsyth started the rally badly, having to change a head gasket on their V6 Capri, a job that they had to repeat three more times during the event!

Low scrub along the banks of the Murray caused many broken windscreens, including Colin Bond, who carried on to the finish with a replacement windscreen taped in place.

Chettle / Comerford took an early lead from Len Shaw and Tony Wunderlich in the twin cam Escort. However, the Escort challenge soon faded when their Halda stopped working near the Gol Gol Swamp.

As the field ran across the border into South Australia, Bob Watson / Jim McAuliffe suffered a broken drive shaft. Being deep in the scrub, they were forced to walk 16 miles to civilization.

Their team mates Roger Bonhomme / Geoff Thomas were also in trouble also in a R8 Gordini, with a slipping clutch due to a leaking rear main seal. With dozens of gates to be opened and shut, it became awfully difficult to continue. They persisted for a further 600 miles towards Horsham until the diff finally broke.

Being a bit more comfortable in their home state, the two South Australian crews led the field, separated by just a couple of points at the division break.

Back into Victoria, via a bunch of sandy tracks, broken exhausts were repaired for the Bruce Wilson / David Long Datsun and the Matt Philip / Chris Jessup Colt.

The Surrey Motors Hustler of David Cuthbert / Andy Chapman had moved steadily through the field but then lost time with wet ignition.

At the Stawell break a shock absorber was replaced in the Datsun 1600 of Bruce Wilkinson / Ian Inglis. Otherwise this crew had performed almost faultlessly and they finished this challenging event with another strong placing, in fourth.

The final stages ran through the St Arnuad and Dunolly Forest areas, then down to the usual finish at Chadstone Shopping Centre.

1971 BP winners, Stewart McLeod and Jack Lock

Results and entry list

1stStewart McLeod / Jack LockTorana XU-1377 points
2ndDavid Chettle / Laurie ComerfordRenault 16TS 416 points
3rdTom Barr-Smith / Rob HuntRenault 16TS428 points
4thBruce Wilkinson / Ian InglisDatsun 1600521 points
5thDavid Cuthbert / Andy ChapmanHillman Hustler532 points
6thColin Bond / George ShepheardTorana XU- 1600 points


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Maps or their links

Other event documents

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