1979 Begonia Rally

The 1979 Begonia Rally was held on March 3 and 4

1979 BLCC Begonia Rally

In 1979 the Begonia Rally adopted the format pioneered by the Summer Stages in 1978, but ran as an open “non championship” event. A strong field was attracted by the promise of 289 km of daylight special stages, time to the second.
The event was superbly organised by Ross Runnalls, Geoff Boyd and Ian McKenzie for the Ballarat Light Car Club.
Jeff Beaumont takes up the story….

The popular two-day Begonia Rally was a fully daylight non-championship event, and attracted a high quality field of Victorian crews.

The  42 stage rally was convincingly won by Geoff Portman, with Canberra’s Wayne Gregson In the navigator’s seat. The battle for second place was fiercely fought, with Chris Power / Bernard Lackerink finally triumphant.

The first special stage was held in Victoria Park in front of about one thousand spectators, being mostly bitumen with a bit of loose gravel thrown in as well. Hugh Bell took fastest, with Portman and John Armitage just a few seconds behind.

Crews then headed to Creswick Forest for a series of sections, followed by more special stages in Cobblers Gully. Portman / Gregson continued their strong charge to be head of the field. Hugh Bell came to grief when a tie rod broke and he rolled heavily off the road.

Garry Harrowfield / Noel Richards had been going well, until they broke an accelerator cable, followed by a puncture, dropping them to tenth place.

Portman and Armitage won two stages each to finish Saturday’s running. Chris Power, Warwick Smith and Bob Watson ( Peugeot 504 Turbo ) were next at the main service break.

Sunday’s running took crews south to Durham Lead and Shepherds Flat. Harrowfield was determined to make up time after the previous days problems and was setting some impressive times against Portman and Armitage. He finally fought back to fourth.

Stages around Smythesdale then Happy Valley followed but John Armitage  ended his fine run by hitting a large tree quite heavily and retired.

The final run was a short stage through Sago Hill Quarry in front of a mob of spectators, with local hero Garry Harrowfield being quickest.

Geoff Portman on the Begonia [Photo; Bruce Keys]
2nd placed Chris Power & Fred Lakerink (photo: Bruce Keys)
Third placed Warwick Smith and Paul Paterson
4th placed Gary Harrowfield & Noel Richards (Photo: Bruce Keys)
3rd O-R Warwick Smith & Paul Patterson
Smith and Patterson having a go!

Results and entry list

PlaceDriverNavigatorCarTime Penalty
1Geoff PortmanWayne GregsonDatsun 160039:51
2Chris PowerFred LakerinkDatsun 160045:41
3Warwick SmithPaul PatersonMitsubishi Lancer46:20
4Garry HarrowfieldNoel RichardsDatsun 160047:08
5Bob WatsonIan PearsonPeugeot 504 Turbo48:16
6Greg SinclairStuart ListerDatsun 160049:33
7David AdamsIan MorrisonMitsubishi Lancer52.33
8R. McKenzieK. BaxterDatsun 160053:23
9Peter CorkranJim MaudeMitsubishi Lancer53:35
10Roger McKinnonW. BeaumontToyota Corolla55:19

Detailed results


Saturday’s stages were predominantly run in the forests around Creswick.

Sunday’s stages started south of Bunninyong and in the Garibaldi Plantation, including the yump where many crews got a lot of air time! The competition then moved the the Scarsdale Plantation. Crews returned to Garabaldi later in the day before finishing at the spectator friendly Sago Hill Quarry.

Route Instructions Day 1

Route Instructions Day 2

Plot of Stages

Other Event Documents

Photo Gallery

Media Coverage