The Derrick postponed from its August date and was held on 10 November. Jeff Beaumont tells the story:
VRC Round 6 – 1973 CCRMIT George Derrick Memorial Trial
The final VRC event for 1973 was run in mid November. This 400 km rally started and finished in Maryborough and ran through the traditional Derrick goldfields and forest country around St Arnaud and Dunolly. The event was directed by the two Maxes, Whamond and Herron, with assistance from Noel Richards who take over the Derrick directorship for the next three years.
Grade 2 and 3 crews dominated this event, finishing in the first three places.
The top Grade 1 crew, Watson / Beaumont finally finished in fourth place, but they had already secure the 1973 state title after the cancellation of the North Eastern Rally.
George Fury and Monty Suffern were now driving a Datsun Rally Team 180B SSS, having been promoted after their sterling efforts in the old 2 litre Mark I Cortina which had served them so well and demonstrated their speed and talents.
The original “Derrick” had been postponed due to heavy rain and now this hastily rescheduled event would feature plenty of thick and hazardous dust. The dust actually claimed a number of cars striking trees and stumps.
Peter Janson / Tony Wunderlich were flying at the head of the field, in their Honda1300 Coupe, until engine bearing failure caused their retirement.
Matt Philip / Roger Bonhomme in the Mollisons XU-1 retired with electrical problems.
The second dicision started at Newbridge, and travelled through Painswick and Havelock then on to the finish at Maryborough.
The first three eventual place getters, together with Watson and Fury, all battled strongly for the lead. John Armitage / Frank Kilfoyle were also putting up a strong showing in the Autosport 180B SSS.
But drama occurred when Bob Bird punctured five miles from control. Driving on in spirited fashion, he was the only driver to clean the Painswick stage. Amazing!
Bill Strownix lost the lead by running off the road, handing the lead to David Bond who immediately punctured. This handed the lead to Garry Harrowfield and Hodgie who held on to victory.