The George Derrick was held in August. Jeff Beaumont tells the story:
VRC Round 5 – 1974 CCRMIT George Derrick Memorial Trial
Garry Harrowfield and Geoff Boyd scored another impressive victory in the fifth round of the 1974 VRC series, run around the Grampians and St Arnaud forests in Western Victoria. Second were Bruce Wilson / Mike Prendergast in a Datsun 1600, an excellent effort after a very steady run.
It was a night of adventure for the third placegetters Bob Bird and Warwick Smith, who had crashed into a ford, then later holed their radiator. A series of quickest times in the final stages saw then climb back onto the podium.
Directed by Noel and Ian Richards, the Derrick was a traditional navigation event over 420 kilometres, split into 23 competitive sections.
The action began just out of Ararat, with the Division break at Stawell. The initial blast ran through Dunneworthy Common and on towards Great Western and Moyston, which saw Harrowfield / Boyd setting the pace from Ross Turner and Ian Pearson in the Galant, and Experts winners John Coleman and Bernie Peasley. Bill Stownix / David Hodge ( XU-1 ) took a wrong road, and were forced to retire, bogged!
Several quick stages towards Mafeking were cleaned by the top group. The Champagne Section up Silverband Road was 8 kilometres of wet, twisty bitumen, with Ted Anderson quickest just 8 seconds down in the little Datsun, followed impressively by John Coleman’s Torana.
The remaining sections towards Dadswell Bridge were quick but wet, and at the halfway break at Stawell, Harrowfield / Boyd had established the lead from Gil Davis / Peter Haas and Bob Bird / Warwick Smith.
Division two commenced with a horror stretch to Darlington Mine (now the Deep Lead Conservation Reserve). Boggy conditions halted the progress of many cars, including Coleman / Peasley who were stuck firm, and retired. Slippery conditions continued around Kingston Mine, where Anderson / Wunderlich found a passage from the wrong direction.
Past the Kanya Pub and over Mount Bolangum, Bird / Smith were flying with quick times, until they understeered off the road and holed their radiator, which they repaired quickly. Their trouble continued with a WD entry to one of the final controls, but their quick times kept them on the leader board, although down a couple of places.
The final five stages looped around St Arnaud Rifle Range. Graham Horsfield and Bruce Norton were kept busy without a clutch, but struggled on gamely to finally finish in a great fourth place.