1972 George Derick Memorial Trial

The George Derrick Memorial Trial was held on 26 August. Jeff Beaumont tells the story:

VRC Round 5 & VCS Round 4  –  1972 CCRMIT  George Derrick Memorial Trial


At the finish of the event, a top navigator described this rally as “420 miles of navigational impossibilities“.

Barrie Edmonds/Rex Muldoon did a great job and won the rally from fellow grade 2 crew Bob Bird/Warwick Smith.

A top class field of 46 cars started the event at the RMIT with an easy transport to the competitive start near Tooborac.

The first competitive was run out the back of the Puckapunyal military area. A maze of ill defined tracks caught out many of the top crews including Len Shaw/Tony Wunderlich, Mal McPherson /Jeff Beaumont and John Munro/Andy Chapman. Some ended up straying into the range area and became lost for several hours.

The rally then swung west, passing through the Wellsford Forest before a division break in Bendigo. At the division end  Bob Watson/Geoff Thomas were leading, followed by Fury/Suffern, Janson/Osborne and Edmonds /Muldoon.

The event headed west through Kingower and Whela with mostly straightforward navigation. At St Arnaud the positions changed considerably due to the challenging navigation with crews getting lost in mazes of poorly mapped tracks that abound in this area. A few crews were starting to cut and run in order to stay within late running time.

At this stage Edmonds and Muldoon had hit the front which they retained to the finish line.

The final sections ran down through the Paddy Ranges near Maryborough and then through the Creswick forest and on to the finish in the middle of the Trentham Forest.

Janson/Osborne overcame problems including an off road excursion and a flat tyre to eventually finish in 4th position.

Auto Action Report

Edmonds/Muldoon tamed the Derrick from a lowly starting position of Car 23 (Photo: Chris Brown)

Results and entry list

Entry List

1Barrie Edmonds Rex MuldoonDatsun 16001111
2Bob Bird Warwick SmithCortina Mk I1572
3Matt Philip Chris JessupTorana XU-1203
4Peter JansonMike OsborneTorana XU01206
5Mal McPhersonJeff BeaumontRenault243
6John Munro Andy ChapmanDatsun 1600284
7John ColemanMike MitchellTorana296
8Graham HorsfieldBruce NortonCorolla3203
9Bob WatsonGeoff ThomasPeugeot328
10=David ChettleLaurie ComerfordRenault3294=
10=Pierre DalleBrian AmeyPeugeot3294=
12George FuryMonty SuffernCortina GT3386

Full Results


Route instructions

Plot of route

As the quote above, this event was “420 miles of navigational impossibilities”. It looks so straightforward on the map, but there were many sections where the instructions required you to traverse difficult and poorly mapped mazes of tracks where navigators could easily become confused and lost. This was even so on the very first section, which was only cleaned by Watson and Thomas, while eight crews never even found the control, including the experienced navigator Andy Chapman (with John Munro) and another five scored WDs, including Jeff Beaumont (navigating for Mal McPherson). A difficult to find entry into the division’s final control near Bendigo saw many WDs, including eventual second placegetters, Bob Bird and Warwick Smith.

The second division was not much happier for many crews, especially in the StArnaud forest where most non classified navigators became lost and dropped several controls. The first section after the Maryborough refuel also created some havoc with numerous crews lost after a drop-off route chart in the Paddy Ranges.

Other event documents


Ian Richards recalls this event with not so fond memories:

This was just the second VRC event that I had attempted. I was well out of my depth!

It started badly for us, as well as a number of other competitors and will be remembered as “the night they left the gate open to the Puckapunyal Range Area.” The first section started east of Tooborac and headed up the boundary of the Range Area before heading north-west. A particular turn was hard to find and many, including me, stumbled through into the Range Area and took a wrong turn heading more northwards. It didn’t look right and in the end I realised we were lost. Trouble was that we couldn’t find our way back again. The maize of roads in the Range Area was impossible to decipher, especially considering we weren’t even on the right map! It took several hours of scrambling around before we managed to find our way out via the main Puckapunyal township. Fortunately we had not hit any unexploded shells! In retrospect it was a stupid mistake. We must have gone through an unmarked gate and proper reading of the compass should have alerted me to the error. I did not react quickly enough and by the time I did, we were so far into a maze that it was impossible to retrace our steps. But we weren’t alone as we found quite a few other competitors milling about as well.

Having not even reached Control One, we cut and run across to the Axedale area to Control Six. Just one section remained in the first Division before the refuel in Bendigo and it was through the dreaded Wellsford Forest. I tried really hard, but sure enough, just near the end of the section  I became totally confused and we spent another hour trying to locate the end control, including thoroughly exploring the fence around the ammunition dump. We did eventually find the control, but suffice to say we were running stone motherless last in the event.

Things didn’t improve much on the second Division. Sections ran across through Kingower and Wehla to St Arnaud and while we didn’t become totally lost, we were losing plenty of time. On the first section after StArnaud we got lost within a few kilometres of the start and never really recovered. We “cut and ran” from there down to Maryborough. It was just about dawn by then – these events were real long. Once again, we headed off on a section through the Paddy Ranges and got instantly lost again, so cut and ran across towards the Daylesford area and completed the remaining sections to the finish, which was way over near Gisborne. We had only completed less than half the sections and I was once again in complete awe at the navigation abilities of the “big guys”.