The Penfolds Rally was held on 18 March. Jeff Beaumont tells the story:
VRC Round 1 – 1972 RCCV Penfold Motors Trial
Bruce Norton was director of the first round of the VRC round for 1972 and set a very demanding course with a remarkable number of wrong directions scored by the 44 car field. Ultimately only 24 cars finished the rally that started in Mt Disappointment, then ran to the north east.
Bob Watson was away trying his luck in the East African Safari, so his good mate Tony Roberts joined navigator Geoff Thomas in the stock standard Peugeot 504 entered by Renault Australia. They ultimately finished in a fine fourth place.
Torana XU-1s were well represented with a three car line up, being Mollison Motors entered ones for Matt Philip/Roger Bonhomme and Gil Davis/Peter Haas. The third XU-1 was crewed by Peter Janson and Mike Mitchell but they retired at the half way point with a slipping clutch.
John Dixon teamed up with Chris Jessup in the very quick 1800 Escort for a strong victory. They were the only crew to collect every control and check point from the right direction.
The first Division headed to Euroa where Matt Philip’s XU-1 had suffered a leaking gearbox and a broken gearstick, which were promptly repaired.
At the break Bird/Smith were leading from Lawson/Walsham in the Mazda R100, Dixon/Jessup and George Fury/Colin Turnbull in the Cortina.
The second Division started with a tricky section near Boho, followed by some great roads in Warrenbayne Plantation. The rally headed back through Bonnie Doon and Alexandra, then down into the Murrindindi Forest.
The final six sections were run through the dust of Mt Disappointment, then on to finish at Kinglake.