The Brass Monkey Trial was held on 24 April. Jeff Beaumont tells the story:
VRC Round 2 – 1976 RCCV Brass Mokey Trial
Director Stuart Lister provided a very challenging event which required continuous concentration and spot-on driving in the dry and dusty conditions around Daylesford and Heathcote.
There were a few crew changes from the previous event “The Derrick“. Peter Haas had joined David Jones in the Chadstone Chrysler Galant. Matt Philip and Mike Mitchell fronted with a Colt Fastback for a nostalgic run.
The first Division circumnavigated Daylesford and lack of wind, tall forests and dry powdery roads made conditions very difficult. The section through Muckleford Forest was to be costly for many crews, with eight vias in 27 kilometres putting heaps of pressure on the navigators.
Sinclair/Brasier inverted their Escort RS2000 on a tightening downhill right hander, just after the start of Section 2.
At this point Harrowfield /Boyd led from Waterhouse / Paterson and Irish / Ellis in the XU-1. Bob Bird was making up time from a poor starting position, with some stunning times.
Previous round winner Bob Waterhouse then ran off the road and retired. Then it was off to Bendigo and the Axedale Forest for more dust and tight navigation.
Dixon / Richards, running first car, hit a tree across the road but it is unclear whether they were allowed time or the section was deleted, but they went on to finish third.
The second Division north of Costerfield took crews around Redcastle and off to Whroo, with less navigation and more driver’s stages.
Four competitives remained as a bedraggled field left Whroo and on to the finish at Majors Line .
In section 25, Mat Philip’s Colt lost a wheel, whilst Coleman / Peasley overshot a turn and spent considerable time back tracking in their dust.
The top crews had put up excellent, combined performances, with young guns Portman / Runnalls demonstrating their future potential, in fourth place.