The Two Day Trial was held on 18 August. Jeff Beaumont tells the story:
VRC Round 5 – 1973 VADC Two Day Trial
Conditions for this mid winter event were very wet and slippery, so bad in fact that the original route through the Otways had to be abandoned. Despite the handicap, the revised event based around Ballarat was well organized and quite competitive, a credit to the organizing crew of Allan Hall, David Cartan and Frank Kilfoyle.
The event started from Geelong and headed quickly northwards with most competition in the Scarsdale and Mount Cole forests.
Jon Leighton’s Mini Cooper blew a head gasket at the start and instantly retired. Bob Bird’s XU-1 had entered but didn’t start due to failing to renew the vehicle’s registration!
Peter Janson and Don Ellis had entered a new Honda 1300 coupe, in a rehearsal run for the upcoming Southern Cross Rally. Although quite quick in Janson’s hands, they bogged the new car quite badly and fell out of contention.
Early pacesetters were the usual Grade 1 crews : Watson, Fury, Philip, with Barrie Edmonds (Datsun) and David Jones in the Hunter going well. Harrowfield / Hodge scored a rare WD, whilst Matt Philip with Roger Bonhomme put their XU-1 onto its side in the Scarsedale Forest, blocking the road. The following crews assisted in getting the lightly damaged Torana back on its wheels. After losing just five minutes, the XU-1 set off with the intention of getting back into the chase for victory.
Bob Watson was doing a fine job in the big Kingswood, despite the muddy conditions.
The final section of the first Division was certainly dramatic. After a fine run, Colin Wood and Tom Snooks broke a tie rod after hitting a deep wash away near Warrak in their Datsun 1600 and retired. Mal McPherson retired the Renault R12 just a few more hundred metres down the road with an engine issue.
The second division was equally dramatic, with the HDT Kingswood crew dropping a bunch of time, getting stuck on a wrong road near Great Western. Gil Davis and Peter Hass copped a WD after a drop-off route chart. The scary and boggy Hell Hole Track in Mt Cole was the next challenge, followed by long stretches of water-filled tracks towards Beaufort.
Matt Philip / Roger Bonhomme had been making a huge and impressive comeback after their earlier incident. However the final section through the Scarsdale Plantation included an elusive checkpoint which they missed, hence scoring a severe penalty.
Certainly a very tough and drama filled event, but who had won?
Amazingly, the big HDT Kingswood ended up with the victory, from the unlucky Mollison XU-1. When the subsequent North Eastern Rally was cancelled, Watson and Beaumont had an unassailable lead in the 73 VRC.