The Blue Ribbon Rally was held on October 6.
VRC Round 7 – LCCA Blue Ribbon Rally
Weather spoils Blue Ribbon
The final round of the 1979 Victorian Rally Championship was shortened from 250 to just 70 competitive kilometres due to massive rain in the days before the event.
Directed by Colin Pomroy on behalf of the LCCA, the reshaped event was based around the Reef Hills area just out of Benalla, and featured many short, sharp fully route chartered stages.
There were a number of vehicle non-starters due to mishaps in the previous Endrust Rally in South Australia. Ian Swan had engine problems, whilst John Armitage had to enlist the use of Portman’s 1600 in this event.
The first stages saw Hugh Bell quickest from David Jones, then the Fitchers.
The new champion Warwick Smith had his oil filter come loose, dumping its oil on the already soaked road surface.
The next section saw cars bogged everywhere, with Alex Fitcher clipping a tree whilst trying to go around a stuck competitor. Hugh Bell lost his electrics and retired.
Half way was at Swanpool, where the field was held until the organisers re-routed the rain-soaked event back towards Benalla, via the Strathbogies. With a stirring drive, Chris Randall was quickest, from the Fitchers.
The final run was the longest stage of 22 kilometres, where Phil Rodgers was fastest from Jim Uttleymoore, David Jones and Chris Power. David Jones and Stuart Lister finally came out well deserved winners.