The Akademos was held on 29 May 1976. Jeff Beaumont tells the story:
VRC Round 3 – 1976 MUCC Akademos
This Gippsland Rally was certainly one of attrition, with just 16 of the original 37 starters making it to then finish at Bairnsdale.
From the start at Sale, the rally proceeded north to the forests of Wuk Wuk. The run up to Fawkner Spur saw the start of many excursions that became a feature of the event. Waterhouse and Dixon were setting the pace, with Bob Bird closely behind.
Following a splash through the deep Deptford Ford (Victoria’s version of the Bellingen Crossing) crews ran up to the heights of Mt Sugarloaf. The final section of this first Division, from Walsh’s Cutting to Mt Little Dick saw the retirement of Garry Spence / Noel Kelly, losing the exhaust off their Galant. Waterhouse then put up fastest time on the slippery Mt Bald Head Road.
Scores at half way break at Bairnsdale showed Bob Waterhouse / Paul Patterson way out in front, from John Dixon / Ian Richards and Bob Bird / Warwick Smith.
ARC navigator Jeff Beaumont was having a quick and steady run driving Ian Wilson’s impressive 1800 engined Colt Fastback.
However retirements were coming thick and fast. Portman / Runnalls retired after hitting a bank and didn’t start the second Division, which ran down into the sandy Colquhoun Forest.
The Brad Boyden Datsun of Chris Power / Bruce Ford was fastest from Roger Bonhomme / Geoff Boyd who had lightly swiped a tree.
Waterhouse was continuing his pace and opening up a further lead, until he deranged the front of his Datsun on a stump. A broken tie rod was replaced quickly but he dropped to second, behind the fast finishing John Dixon and Ian Richards in the big-engined Datsun Sunny.
Gil Davis / David Long, Doug Irish/ Ian Ellis and John Coleman / Bernie Peasley had all retired due to excursions, whilst Chris and Simon Brown had rolled their Datsun 180B and Bonhomme was well off the road.
Yes, certainly a rally of attrition, but John Dixon and Ian Richards outlasted and out-performed the field for an excellent victory.