The Mountain Rally was held on April 28.
VRC Round 3 – 1979 SCOTCC Mountain Rally
Victorian Championship tightens
The Swinburne Car Club’s Mountain Rally, directed by Tony Walsham, consisted of long sections over 300 competitive kilometres, mostly utilising main roads in the mountain areas around Walhalla, Matlock and Marysville.
The championship continued to be wide open, with another different winner in this third round of the Championship. Hugh Bell and Damien O’Reilly won the rally in their very quick ex-Muldoon Datsun 1600, by just a single point from the current Champions Warwick Smith / Paul Paterson.
After a transport to Marysville, the first competitive started at Stockman’s Reward, with a 22 kilometre run down Frenchman’s Spur Road towards the central service point at St Clair.
The event’s longest section of 85 kilometres followed, utilising Thompson Valley Road and Marshall Spur Road. Bell, Smith and Bird led, whilst the Fitchers spent time down a wrong road and Peter Evans rolled his Datsun 1600. Swan lost his Clutch, and Jean Jones had carbie problems. At the refuel at Walhalla, Smith, Bell, Power and Brown were leading.
A sixty kilometre section back to central control and service area used Jordon Divide Road, and allowed Hugh Bell to open up his lead with a very quick run.
The Browns retired with a couple of punctures, then had an off whilst trying to make up lost time.
The next section utilised much of an earlier run to Aberfeldy, then peeled off to Matlock then Woods Point. Bob Watson’s turbo Peugeot 504 was having a troubled run, with a leaking head gasket, but struggled on to finish seventh.
On the last stage, Hugh Bell dropped an extra couple of points in dense fog with no high beam, but hung on strongly to take victory by a single point.