The Otway Trial was held on April 7.
1979 VRC Round 2 – WDCC Otway Trial
Watson surprises in Otway!
Bob Watson, with Ian Pearson navigating won the Otway Trial , being the second round of this year’s Victorian Championship.
Directed by Jim Maude, this fully route charted event would be the first VRC event since the 1974 RACV 500 to be timed to the second.
The Otways was pretty rough in places, which suited Watson’s Peugeot 504. But the car also showed a great turn of speed, with its turbocharged engine.
From the start in Waurn Ponds, the field transported to Benwerrin for the first competitive just north of Lorne.
The Fitchers and the Browns were immediately quick, whilst John Armitage and Phil Rainer were forced to change a flat tyre. Greg Lee / Shane Blandford ran off into a stump and retired.
The rally continued down the Pipeline Road, then across the ridge of the Otway Ranges, and down into Wye River on the Great Ocean Road.
After a refuel at Lorne, crews climbed up past Erskine Falls, and on to service at Mt Sabine.
A loop around Aire Valley saw Swan quickest from Watson and Fitcher. Watson was quickest down Jackson’s Track, from Uttleymoore and Warwick Smith.
Ian Swan was in fine form, with Derek Rawson navigating. They would continue their battle with Chris and Simon Brown to near the end, until they got heavily bogged whilst trying to pass a badly parked tractor on a greasy farm track.
The Browns then retired after clipping a bank in the very tight Turtons Track, leaving Bob Watson and Ian Pearson leading from Jim Uttleymoore and Tony Bond, which was how they finished, with Smith / Paterson in third place.
Ian Swan, for his excellent but unlucky performance, earned the Director’s Award.