The Penfold Motors Trial held on 6 April. Jeff Beaumont tells the story:
VRC Round 2 – 1974 RCCV Penfold Motors Trial
The second round of the 1974 Victorian Championship saw a convincing one-two result for the two 2 litre Cortinas of Harrowfield / Boyd and Davis / Haas. However it was bad night all round for the three fancied Datsun 180B crews of Watson / Beaumont, Fury / Suffern, and Armitage / Kilfoyle, all experiencing a multitude of issues, with none finishing in the points.
The rally was directed by Mike Fitzgerald, and 36 starters made the four hour journey from Penfold Motors in Melbourne to the start proper at Bairnsdale. The first competitive near Sarsfield saw Watson, Fury and Harrowfield quickest. But bad news was the retirement of the XU-1 of Bob Bird when he slipped off the road and down a four foot embankment, damaging his rear axle.
The following section included a rough crossing of the Tambo River, where Harrowfield and Boyd stamped their mark on the rally, and were the only clean sheeters. But the stage saw misfortune strike the Datsun camp when Watson slipped off on a muddy right hander. The next car was Armitage and Kilfoyle who did likewise, but were able to get themselves out fairly quickly. Then Fury arrived, slamming into the back of Watson’s stricken 180B, damaging Fury’s front end, lights and electrics, and causing his retirement.
The run to service near Nowa Nowa caught out several navigators, including Beaumont and Kilfoyle, with a series of unmapped tracks. The following loop saw Harrowfield, Davis and Watson being the only crews clean.
The final section of this division was expensive for most, trying to find an obscure gate onto an unmapped track to control. Navigators Geoff Boyd and Bernie Peasley both quickly found the correct route, and were the only ones to clean the section.
At the break, Davis / Haas led from Harrowfield / Boyd, both comfortably ahead of John Munro / Wal Harris, Graham Horsfield / Bruce Norton in their V6 Capri, and Tony Roberts / Jim McAuliffe in the Saab 99.
The second division commenced in drizzling rain, which persisted right up to the finish. A 30 minute slippery loop over Mt Sugarloaf cost Davis / Hass 15 minutes due to a wrong turn, cementing Harrowfield and Boyd’s lead, which they held to the finish. They consolidated their lead through the final stages around Stockdale, pressing home their advantage.
The victory, their second in a row, confirmed that they didn’t need a home town advantage, and that they were now favourites for this year’s championship.