The Derrick was held on 6 March 1976. Jeff Beaumont tells the story:
VRC Round 1 – 1976 CCRMIT George Derrick Memorial Trial
Rally Directors, brothers Noel and Ian Richards set a huge 1,500 km, 2 day event starting and finishing in Hamilton in Western Victoria and running as far west as Millicent just over the South Australian border near Mt Gambier.
The event was a joint Victorian and South Australian Championship round and had attracted a huge field of over 60 crews from both sides of the Border and included three entries from Tasmania.
1974 Victorian Champion Garry Harrowfield had entered a Renault R12 Gordini (the ex Watson / McPherson East African Safari car – now repaired) and had a relatively trouble free run to second place.
Early daylight stages through the forests between Myamyn and Lyons were fully route charted and saw Bob Waterhouse pulling out an early handy lead.
Cars left Winnap in darkness, with fast and accurate navigation required in the run towards Portland. Then a number of short sections through the border forests before the long run back to Hamilton to end the first Division.
Waterhouse / Patterson continued to lead, with strong performances coming from Helmut Goetz / Frank Kilfoyle (Gemini) and Doug Irish / Ian Ellis (XU-1). However Gil Davis had hit a kangaroo, hard enough to cause his retirement.
The second day’s competition initially ran around Heywood, with low points losses. Six gates in a 10 kilometre section through the dusty Rennick forests gave the navigators a work out, then crossing the border to Tarpeena with a service at Wandila.
Retirements came from John Dixon / Jeff Marsh (alternator failed), Goetz / Kilfoyle with a damaged Prop Shaft and Irish / Ellis with a rocker post dislodgement in their XU-1.
Cars refueled at Millicent, then onto some quick and sandy stages before crossing the border back into Victoria. A few more route charts, then three more competitives for a final sting in the tail and back to the finish at Hamilton, where Waterhouse claimed a very strong victory.