1978 WDCC Otway Trial

The Otway Trial  was held on 25 February. Jeff Beaumont tells the story:

VRC Round 1 ’ 78 WDCC Otway Trial

The first round of the 1978 Victorian Rally Championship was The Otway Trial, directed by Barry Burt on behalf of the Western Districts Car Club. The rally totalled 250 kilometres of a variety of roads and conditions through the Otway Ranges, with tight scores showing the limitations of minute timing with such close competition.

From the start at Waurn Ponds Hotel, the field headed for the first competitive just north of Anglesea, where most of the top crews cleaned the 40 km stage. However it saw the retirement of Alf Pearce with a blown diff and Gil Davis in his “new“ HR Holden with overheating issues.

A quick rundown Seaview Road to the service point was followed by 20 km then 28 km competitives along Garvey’s Track and the rough Thompson’s Track. Losses were minimal and at the Mt Sabine division break the leaders were Jim Uttleymoore / Tony Bond from Warwick Smith / Paul Patterson and the Richards.

Next was a brief run down Turtons Track, 10 km of superb, twisty gravel. Uttleymoore lost the chance of victory when his navigator misplaced their road card!

Next was 24 km of fantastic tight, smooth roads through the Aire Valley Plantation, then a confusing turn right instruction caused problems for many crews. A 20 km loop in Webster Hill Planation saw Armitage setting the pace out front in the dusty conditions.

A rough and sandy section up Pipeline Road and down Gold Hole Road led to a service and refuel break. Most of the field cleaned the next section but fog then became a problem into the finish at Mount Sabine.

John Armitage / Phil Rainer had won the second division and the final scores saw them equal winners with Warwick Smith / Paul Paterson, a good start to the season.

John Armitage in action on the Begonia


PlaceDriverNavigatorCarPointsGrade 2
1=John ArmitagePhil RainerDatsun 180B14
1=Warwick SmithPaul PatersonLancer14
3=Rex MuldoonRoss RunnallsDatsun 160015
3=Ian RichardsNoel RichardsDatsun 1600151
5Pierre DalleIan BaldockDatsun 180B16
6Phil NicholsonKen PriceDatsun 1600182
7Alex FitcherJan FitcherDatsun 1600193
8=Ian SmithJim MaudeDatsun 1600204=
8=Colin SichlauDavid McKenzieFiat204=
8=Peter EvansChris ManiatakisDatsun 1600204=

Detailed results