1972 Cooper Memorial Trial

The Cooper Memorial was held on 4 November. Jeff Beaumont tells the story:

VRC Round 7 / VCS Round 6 – 1972 WDCC Cooper Memorial


The Victorian Rally Championship was hanging on the result of the last event which started at Winchelsea, west of Geelong.

Dust was expected to be a major problem so rally car starting gaps were opened up. The field headed off for a one hour run in daylight towards Wensleydale and Bambra, then through Benwerrin and on to the break at Apollo Bay.

Peter Janson was in fine form and he and Mike Osborne led on 12 from Barrie Edmonds/Rex Muldoon, Rex Lunn/Graham Harrison and Gil Davis/Peter Haas all on 13 points. Bob Watson/Geoff Thomas in the Peugeot and Matt Philip/Roger Bonhomme in the XU-1 followed closely, both on 14.

The event ran to Cape Horn then north west through the ranges east of Mt Sabine. Peter Janson ran into brake troubles in the XU-1, slowing his progress and Cuthbert and Chapman retired with illness.

Back again to a break at Apollo Bay saw Bob Watson leading in the Peugeot, a fine performance in the standard 504. However only a handful of points separated the next five cars. The pressure was obviously building going into the final division.

Gil Davis, sensing his first state title, really got down to business with quick times to Lardner and then through the final run in the Yaugher Forest. Gil Davis/Peter Haas finally won the event by 3 points from Bob Watson and Geoff Thomas.

With this victory Gil claimed the 1972 Victorian Rally Championship driver title, with the navigator title being a dead heat between Peter Haas and Roger Bonhomme.

The Cooper Memorial was also the final round of an “interesting” Clubman Series due to the upgrading of crews during the year. Despite not being able to score points following their classification on the Derrick, Bob Bird and Warwick Smith clung onto their lead despite Fury and Suffern taking full points on the Cooper.

Davis and Haas on the 1972 Cooper Memorial
Jack Janssen rolled down a 500 foot drop destroying his Datsun 1600 (Photo: Paul Kaiser)

Results and entry list

1Gil DavisPeter HaasTorana XU-132
2Bob WatsonGeoff ThomasPeugeot 50437
3Len ShawJim McAuliffeTorana XU-139
4Matt PhilipRoger BonhommeTorana XU-142
5George FuryMonty SuffernCortina491
6Peter JansonMike OsborneTorana XU-150
7Barrie EdmondsRex MuldoonDatsun 180B56
8Garry HarrowfieldDavid HodgeCortina Mk I652
9Barry BlacksellD. AllisonTorana673
10T. McWilliamM. McRaeDatsun704
11Helmut GoetzTony WalshamDatsun 1600835
12=Bob WatrerhouseR. AllinsonPeugeot856=
12=Pierre DalleGraham WallisPeugeot856=

Full Results