The Kleber Alpine Rally was held on November 29-30.
ARC Round 7 – 1975 LCCA Kleber Alpine Rally
An enormously popular event, the annual Kleber Alpine 1000 Rally attracted a total of 83 starters, with Victorian crews making up 58 of the total.
Directed by Frank Kilfoyle, the road event was predominantly put together by Geoff Schmidt. The event totalled 1,080 kilometres over three very rugged divisions in the typical north east of the State.
Whilst being run as an ARC event, a number of competitors ran in the Open class and thus were not eligible for points.
Breaking the tradition , the Alpine Rally started in Albury in 36 degree heat and the first daylight Division ran down to Bright via the dusty forests north of Beechworth and the Stanley and Ovens plantations. While non-one showed a clear advantage, a couple of crews were in trouble.
Ross Dunkerton and John Large had won this year’s ARC by the previous round and as a reward they were now having their first run in the factory 240Z, the LHD car that Watson drove in the recent Southern Cross Rally. However on the second stage they came undone when the car clipped a huge rock which sheared off the back wheel, causing them to barrel roll with the car stopped upside down in the middle of the road. Bond/Richards were next on the scene and assisted to right the car, but it wasn’t going any further.
One section was out of character, being very wet and boggy, and it ruined the chances of a few of the fancied front runners. Bob Watson / Jeff Beaumont encountered problems with their RS Escort, firstly getting bogged, then having carburettor problems, forcing their retirement.
And a broken fuel pump caused the retirement of Dean Rainsford’s Porsche.
The huge night Division ran down through Trappers Gap to Mitta Mitta, a loop to the north-east through Callaghans Creek, down the full length of the Omeo Highway to Omeo, then a huge loop to the south over Mount Nunniong, Mount Elizabeth, Angora Range and Mount Delusion and finally back to Bright over Mount Hotham.
Greg Carr had taken a commanding lead and would go on to win the event in their Gerry Ball entered 180B by a 20 minute margin, one of the biggest winning margins in a major Australian Rally. But the battle continued in the Merriang and Bright Plantation on Sunday, with Stewart McLeod (260Z) and Dave Morrow (180B) fighting hard. By the finish, McLeod took a narrow victory over Morrow and a clear win in the ARC class.
Young Victorian crew David Bond and Ian Richards put up an outstanding performance near the top of the field and finally finished in an excellent second place in the ARC class and 5th outright.