The Experts was held on 3 July 1971.
1971 VTC Round 3 – LCCA Experts Trial
Jeff Beaumont tells the story…
In a great return to form for David Cuthbert and Andy Chapman ( Hillman Hunter) who stormed through 300 miles of muddy and boggy tracks to take out the aptly named Experts Trial.
They were followed in second place by Mal McPherson / Roger Bonhomme in the Renault R8 Gordini.
A welcome addition to the series were Tony Roberts and Jim McAullife who finished third in their 142S Volvo on debut.
The event certainly covered plenty of rugged terrain, from the start point at Castlemaine to the finish at Trawalla near Beaufort, with a half-way break at Ararat.
Bob Watson was running the Renault R12 Gordini, as a shakedown for the forthcoming Dulux Rally and he was navigated by Geoff Thomas. Gil Davis forsook his usual Twin Cam Cortina for a Mollison Motors entered 350 Monaro. Gil with navigator Peter Haas were running in second at Ararat, but badly bogged later later in the event.
Peter Janson / Mike Mitchell returned to rallying in another HDT Monaro, but they too suffered heavily from the muddy route which was most unkind to large cars.
The top crews cleaned the first few sections through old gold mining areas with little trouble. Challenges increased during the tricky run through the forests east of Avoca, with Edmonds, Dixon and Davis made it on time.
Just after Lexton the event suddenly became an “experts” in the old style, utilizing sloppy tracks over Ben Major, with tough map reading on different scale maps.
The route from Chute to Raglan to Middle Creek contained grassy, muddy easements, and saw McPherson, Dixon and Cuthbert best on the run to the break at Ararat, where Roberts / McAuliffe were leading.
After the break a series of muddy lanes trapped almost half the field. As a consequence, positions in the field had jumped around dramatically. An unmapped link track was aptly called “The Great Western Morass”. Roberts, McPherson and Cuthbert were just a few crews who scrambled through with respectable losses.
After Dunworthy the shrinking field took on the final burst of five sections in the slippery Mt Cole forest, then on to the finish at Trawalla.