The Summer Safari was held on January 22.
VCS Round 1 – 1977 PCCV Summer Safari
Jeff Beaumont tells the story…
The first round of the Clubman Championship series started from Melbourne’s Exhibition Buildings and was flagged away by circuit star Peter Brock.
At the start, director Rob Dyer advised competitors that “consistency will count” and it certainly proved to be very correct!
Crews transported up the Northern Highway to the start proper near Bendigo. Each competitive was named after a Bendigo pub.
From early in the event, dust became a pretty serious problem, particularly with the absence of any wind.
The two Datsuns of Ian and Trevor Boyd and Dick Denvil / Damien O’Reilly opened up a small lead over the chasing field during the first competitives. However, Section 10 suddenly changed the pattern, with several pages of instructions including 5 vias in the 27 kilometres.
More hard work for the navigators continued up to the break at Bendigo, where the Boyds were leading on 31 points lost, from Stearne / Lister and Baxter / Gallagher on 34 points.
Division 2 sent crews into the forest areas south west of Bendigo. As advised, consistency was needed but Section 18 caught navigators napping with some big losses.
At this stage Denis Baker / Wal Rickard, in their ex-rallycross XU-1, had put their nose in front, closely chased by the Boyds. These two crews finished in that order, with just 4 points separating them at the finish. It would be Baker / Rickard’s first championship rally win!
The girls, Jean Jones and Joan Bennett were putting in a good combined effort in their Galant and challenged for a top placing all night, finally finishing in a solid sixth place.
Lindsay Dale and John Wilkinson had flown through the second division, after a bad score early in the event and finished on the podium.