The Mountain Rally was held on 2 April. Jeff Beaumont tells the story:
VRC Round 1 – 1977 Kew Chrysler Mountain Rally
The Victorian Rally Championship for 1977 opened with the Mountain Rally, directed by Monty Suffern on behalf of the Swinburne Car Club and with 300 kilometres of competitive stages held north of Maffra. The rally attracted a full field, possibly helped by the generous prizemoney on offer.
The first competitive in daylight was a 7 km dash, with Davis / Long and Bell / Brown being fastest. Rex Muldoon’s big V8 Falcon was overheating, whilst the Fitcher’s rally car contacted another vehicle, causing their retirement.
One Maffra Hillclimb run was conducted in daylight, followed by a meal break. Quickest were the Phil’s, Bernadou / Rainer, then the Lees in the Colt and then the Tassells in their Lotus Cortina.
A second run up the Hill was then run in the dark, with the rally cars actually being faster in the dark than their previous daylight run! Gil Davis was quickest, from Bell / Brown and Bruce Wilson / Peter Haas ( 120Y ).
Navigators then got busy on the route charts, as the route climbed into the ranges on a massive 93 km stage to a service at Licola.
The route then swung back towards Maffra, with Davis / Long leading from Dyball / Kelly and Toner / Mitchell. Peter Corkran / Ross Runnalls were having a first run in their impressive new Lancer but brake issues spoilt their debut run.
The final three stages of 57 km, 45 km and 43 km ran to the finish at Walhalla via the high plains then Heyfield and Seaton. Placings were well settled at that stage, with Dyball / Kelly in front of a group of crews separated by just a couple of points.