The Begonia Rally was held on 11 March. Jeff Beaumont tells the story:
VRC Round 2 – 1978 BLCC Begonia Rally
The Begonia Rally was organised by the Light Car Club Ballarat Branch and directed by Ian McKenzie. The event ran north of Beaufort and into the Mt Cole area before heading across to Creswick for some final sections. The event attracted fifty two starters.
At the first service break, Jim Uttlemoore / Tony Bond had set a fast pace and had opened up a slight lead from Bell / Hollowood and Sichlau / McKenzie in the Fiat. Pierre Dale / Ian Baldock dropped a bunch of points with a throttle cable breakage, Rex Muldoon and Ross Runnalls had run out of fuel and the Richards brothers had to deal with an under bonnet fire.
Going into the second Division, Sichlau in the Fiat had taken a slender lead from a hoard of Lancers and Power’s Datsun. Hugh Bell was missing, having left the road and hit a tree, causing his retirement. Also missing was Mike Heny and Tony Walsham who had rolled their little Honda, with just minor damage. And Bob Bird had retired at the service break with no brakes.
Division two was 66 kilometers of fast competitives in the Mt Cole forests followed by some final sections in the Creswick forests.
The contest was intense, with the top dozen crews separated by just a handful of points. Ian Nowacki / Mike Rebbechi had hit the lead but their bonnet came loose and blew open, resulting in an “off“ with mechanical issues. Sichlau / McKenzie inherited the lead but were forced to retire the Fiat with overheating issues.
The final section north of Ballarat saw five crews clean, with Smith / Patterson clinging on to first place by just a single point from the Datsun of Chris Power and Mike Mitchell.