1979 Repco Reliability Trial - Division S (Adelaide to Perth)

Cars departed Adelaide pre-dawn on Tuesday morning for the long run to Perth via Broken Hill, Coober Pedy and the horrifying rocks of the Nullarbor Plain. The only official break was in Broken Hill for an hour but the leading crews got an unplanned rest just before the Nullarbor at Immarna when the fuel tanker was late arriving. The first car would not reach Perth until late Thursday afternoon.

The route comprised only 1 special stage of 25.9 km, 13 trial stages totalling 2,818.2 km and 13 transport stages totalling 1,145.5 km for a total division distance of 4,689.6 km of which 61% was competitive. This was the highest competitive proportion in any division.

This division, and the run across the Nullarbor in particular, was decisive in the final results of the event. Numerous cars had multiple punctures on the razor sharp flint stones that cover the Nullarbor. For some who refused to back off, such as Portman, it meant running out of spares and either driving on the rim or desperately scrounging a spare from another competitor. Portman lost over 2 hours on the Nullarbor and dropped to eighth. For many others it meant backing off to a snails pace to avoid further punctures with time losses also running into hours. At the front, the 10 minute lead into Perth held by Bond over the leading two Commodores was deceptive as his car was already in trouble, as were the other factory Cortinas that were in fourth (Carr) and fifth (Fury).

Adelaide to Broken Hill

The run to Broken Hill was a largely enjoyable and trouble free day’s trialling for the leading cars, none of which had any serious problems, bar Fury whose Cortina needed extra service time before leaving Adelaide. The three stages through the southern Flinders Ranges and the plains to the east were quite demanding with lots of rocky creek crossings and generally fairly rough conditions. Numerous gates on all the stages kept the co-drivers busy.

S1 – Burra Transport

185.2 km in 2h 40m, First Car ETA 7:40 am Tuesday

It was an early start for many crews as cars were allowed out of impound one hour before their nominated departure time and they could simply depart on the transport stage up to Burra or take their cars to wherever they had planned to carry out servicing. Therefore the first car left impound at 4.00 am, but the last would not be out until after 9 am. The route deviated from the main highway in order to pass through Kapunda.
The first chink in the Cortina’s armour was appearing with Fury needing longer time in Adelaide for service. They lost 21 minutes up to Burra and dropped 10 places on the road, probably going out on the first trial stage behind Herrmann. For most cars, the ample 2 hours and 40 minutes allowed in addition to the one hour of service time meant that they could relax and chat at the start of the first stage of the day. The ABC film crew landed their plane on the road, apparently just as Portman was starting the next stage and the Stanza passed neatly under the wing.

Of the 162 cars classified as reaching Adelaide:

  • 73 cars were recorded as being on time at Burra.
  • 48 cars were either late or early at Burra. In addition to Fury, others of note were Jackson (33 minutes), Roberts (17 minutes), Glennie (9 minutes) and Lockhart (1 hour 49 minutes).
  • 26 cars did not appear in the official results because they retired somewhere enroute to Perth and because they did not hand in their Road Cards, scores were never recorded for them. These included Perkins, Sutton and Hodgson, all reasonably well placed at Adelaide.
  • 10 did not even make it Burra, presumably having to work on their cars in order to skip to Broken Hill, Marree, Coober Pedy or Nullarbor. These included Meehan/Gifford/Gardiner (Monaro GTS) which skipped to Nullarbor a day and half later, and Hall/Smith/Lott (Escort) who drove directly to Perth.
  • 5 actually retired in Adelaide and did not start Division S (Mulligan may have tried to rejoin at Marree or Coober Pedy but apparently went no further).

S2 – South Flinders Ranges Trial Stage

181.2 km in 2h00m, First Car ETA 9:40 am Tuesday (map)

This was a magnificent stage with a wide variety of terrain and roads. A lot was in rugged ranges dipping in and out of creeks, then out onto plains with fast roads and some tight station tracks through scrub country. Some roads in the early part of the stage have been used more recently by the Rally of the Heartland. A number of homesteads were passed including Ketchowla and Braemar with the section ending at Manunda south of Yunta. Many gates had to be opened and closed (32 in the instructions but a few were open). About 14 km into the stage was a creek crossing which was somewhat deep (see the photograph ) which caught out a few cars that did not have proper water proofing on the engine electrics. Apparently Sutton was caught out and Mehta held up by him for a minute or so. Roughly in the middle of the section was a neutralised section due to some sheep lambing in the paddock. This was achieved with two passage controls with cars timed in and out to the second, with exactly 5 minutes allowed to traverse the dead section. At 150 km there was a “Turn left” instruction that appeared not to be there (it apparently was just a left bend in the road with a vague track straight ahead). Some crews milled around but most just continued to the next instruction which came up OK. Tuckey’s book suggests that Mehta lost about 7 minutes here.

Times varied considerably and revealed that some crews were prepared to push very hard in the rough conditions whereas others were perhaps looking after their cars much more. Dust was a problem in some places but there were opportunities to pass in the slower rocky tracks or at gates. Brock passed Portman very early in the stage when he perhaps punctured (suggestions that Brock passed Portman at a gate seem unfounded as the photo clearly shows that Brock passed Portman within the first 14 km), then pulled away slightly beating him by 3 minutes and taking the overall lead. Carr pushed even harder, keen to make up for his problems at Murray Bridge the previous day, passing Rowney, Johnson, Mehta and probably Perkins on his way to setting the fastest time. It was not only the fastest but was 4 minutes quicker than anyone else. Johnson and Rowney also set fast times, passing Mehta who did some exploring at the dubious “turn left” instruction. Dunkerton followed Doug Stewart for a while, unable to pass, but eventually Stewart stopped, probably with a puncture, letting the Volvo through. Nalder let Cowan through and they were both baulked by Jensen but both eventually passed the Volvo. Warmbold also passed Jensen and caught Nalder near the end, but did not pass the Celica. A little further down the field, Fury managed to pass at least three cars (McCubbin, Hurrey and Loader), Herrmann passed a couple of cars as did Davis.

The route instructions did mention the kangaroo hazard which turned out to be very real. Behret hit a kangaroo in the second works Audi and effectively retired. A somewhat similar fate befell the Citroen of George Harris which apparently rolled after its encounted with a roo. The Madgwick F100 also hit a roo and retired but it’s not clear whether it was on this stage.
Further down the field the times started to stretch for many of the inexperienced crews, but a total of 107 cars are shown as completing the stage. Problems struck the Commodores of Lockhart (losing almost an hour) and Goldsborough (losing over 2 hours), both skipping from Yunta to Broken Hill. Bryson and Cable-Cumming lost almost an hour and half and then cut to Broken Hill for their wedding! The Foden/Baker/Young P76 struck problems and took a 4 hour maximum penalty and also subsequently skipped to Broken Hill. The Ohta Toyota lost more than 2 hours and cut and ran to Nullarbor the next evening.

Fastest times:

  • Carr 1
  • Fury, Ferguson 5
  • Bond, Brock, Dunkerton, Johnson 6
  • Cowan, Rowney 8
  • Herrmann, Portman, Jackson 9
  • Mason 10
  • Warmbold 11
  • Roberts, probably Sutton 12
  • Mehta, Hilton 13
  • Davis, Loader, McCubbin 14
  • Nalder 15
  • Barth, Giddings 16
  • Watson, Stewart 17
  • Miettunen, Ellis, Glennie 18
  • Corr, Colless, Hurrey, Enter 19
  • Faulkner, Quill 20
  • Mizel, Jensen 21
  • Lahiff 22
  • Beveridgem Pittaway 23
  • Lance 25
  • Murray (Gelignite Jack), Clarke 26
  • Tholstrup, Moloney 27

Times were not recorded for Sutton, Perkins and Hodgson.

Brock in front of Portman early in the South Flinders Ranges Stage, Photo: Ray Berghouse, Chevron Publishing
Cowan passing the Nalder Celica, Photo: Ian Richards

S3 – Yunta Transport Stage

43.3 km in 1h00, First Car ETA 10:40 am Tuesday

This transport stage up to Yunta allowed adequate time for refuelling before heading out on the next trial stage which started almost next to the servo. Either minor problems or a failure to watch the clock lead to some losses in the leading pack: Carr (2 minutes), Dunkerton and Rowney (1 minute each). Problems struck the Birrell Renault (57 minutes) and the Penny Torana (48 minutes). Quite a few crews were booking in early at Yunta to preserve valuable late running time. Quite a few cars picked up the control at Yunta despite travelling up the highway from Adelaide or Burra, while some of these also went directly to the Mingary control, missing the two intervening trial stages and dropping the Curnamona control.
Greg Carr at the Yunta refuel, photo: Ian Richards

S4 – Curnamona Trial Stage

200.0 km in 2h10m, First Car ETA 2:25 pm Tuesday (map)

This was another magnificent stage, 200 km of typically rough Flinders Ranges roads and some faster station tracks on the plains to the east. It started with 85 km of almost flat chat running along the main gravel Yunta to Curnamona Road and its offshoot to Barrata to a passage control where crews crossed the main Carrieton to Curnamona Road. Several crews got disoriented on a tricky sequence of instructions just after Barrata. After that it was rough going with numerous nasty creek crossings and many gates up to Biblianda and north-west to Willipa. A striking feature of the stage was the superb Sturt Desert Peas in full bloom. Towards the end the roads were faster and dustier, but with a reasonable breeze blowing it was possible to get past if the wind was blowing across the track. The control at the Curnamona Homestead was buzzing with activity as a number of aircraft had landed at the adjacent airstrip, including the ABC Film Crew.

Curnamona more recently, hasn't changed much, photo: Ian Richards

Again, there were a lot of gates to open and close (30 on this stage). A few of the gates were very close together such as the two at 95 km which were 90 metres apart and another two at 99 km that were 150 metres apart. Some navigators would ride on the back between the gates to save time but in one case the second gate was open so they had to stop and jump back in. However it seems that Dunkerton wasn’t so kind to Peter McKay who had to cling to the back of the car for several kilometres until the next (closed) gate!

The wide spread of times once again revealed who was prepared to punish their cars the most. At the front, Portman must have conned the start control for a bigger dust gap but even then he caught but could not pass Brock, nonetheless taking 4 minutes off him and moving back into the overall lead. Bond also beat Brock by 3, passing Ferguson who was slow, perhaps delayed by a puncture. Carr was flying and had moved up to fifth on the road behind Bond, but dropped a minute more than Bond after perhaps having to pass Sutton. Mehta (with Aaltonen driving) apparently passed Sutton at a gate by refusing to stop at the gate before they had closed it! Fury also continued to climb through the field, passing Hilton, Barth and Warmbold, while Herrmann was doing likewise, passing several cars and perhaps even getting in front of his team mate, Barth, who was having fuel pump problems with the Porsche 924. Warmbold cracked a brake line but soldiered on to Broken Hill making reasonable times.
Further down the field, times stretched out to an hour or more late, even without crews encountering any significant problems other than deteriorating roads that would have been more and more rutted and corrugated. The tailenders would have also run into darkness. The Nielson HQ Holden dropped the 4 hour maximum when navigator Russel Tyrie had to be rushed to Broken Hill hospital with appendicitis. Jock Wilson’s Mercedes dropped the stage altogether. About 85 cars completed the stage. The results show a cleansheet for the all girl Fiat, but they must have perhaps short cut from Barrata to Curnamona.


  • Portman 4
  • Bond 5
  • Carr 6
  • Brock 8
  • Ferguson 11
  • Johnson 12
  • Fury 13
  • Cowan, Rowney 17
  • Dunkerton 18
  • Herrmann, Colless 19
  • Mehta 20
  • Stewart, Davis 21
  • Warmbold, Nalder, Miettunen 22
  • Jackson, Mason 23
  • Mizel 24
  • Loader, Glennie, Giddings 25
  • Barth, Hilton, Roberts 26
  • Ellis 28
  • Jensen 30
  • Watson 31
  • Taylor, Finlay, McCubbin 32
  • Faulkner 33
  • Beveridge 34
  • Tholstrup, Enter 35

S5 – Mingary Trial Stage

144.3 km in 1h35m, First Car ETA 12:50 pm Tuesday (map)

There was no respite at Curnamona with crews immediately setting off on another trial stage. This one ran down to the Barrier Highway at Mingary and was faster and easier, utilising pretty much the same route used by the 1968 London to Sydney Marathon. Despite the numerous gates (29), pretty much all the leading crews cleaned the stage. Supposedly Carr nudged a gate post but with minimal damage. Cowan passed Stewart and Fury may have passed Mason but everyone was early and resumed positions. Those to lose time were those with slow top speeds such as Watson (2 minutes), or those who had problems such as Barth (12 minutes), Gelignite Jack Murray (9 minutes) and Lund who almost ran out of petrol (18 minutes). Of the 83 cars that completed the stage, 30 clean sheeted. Problems struck the Glover Volkswagen dropping almost an hour and subsequently cutting to Kingoonya the next afternoon.

Matt Philip working the gate near the end of the Mingary Stage, Photo: Ray Berghouse, Chevron Publishing

S6 – Broken Hill Stage

72.3 km in 1h35m, First Car ETA 4:00 pm Tuesday, depart 6:00 pm

The easy run up the highway to Broken Hill gave an opportunity for some of the later crews to book in early to regain precious late running time. What was intended to be a two hour break at the showgrounds was cut back for all but the earliest crews so that the field would be compressed somewhat and leave on schedule at 6 pm. Many crews would catch a shower and a bite to eat as this was the last decent break before Perth, 48 hours later. The last cars would not have arrived until almost midnight and would probably have been sent out with almost no break.
The day’s rallying had seen a tussle between the works Commodores, Cortinas and the private Stanza of Portman, but the differences were still only a few minutes here and there. The results show a total of 51 cars having visited all controls to Broken Hill. Of the many cars not shown in the results, Perkins was actually 6th (and is shown below because his time loss was recorded in An old dog for a hard road), Sutton was still in the top ten, and Hodgson would have still been about 18th. The positions at Broken Hill were as follows:

  1. Portman/Thompson/Hammond (Stanza)15.53
  2. Bond/Riley/Dawson-Damer (Cortina) 17.23
  3. Brock/Philip/Richards (Commodore) 17:45
  4. Ferguson/Bell/Boddy (Commodore) 21.18
  5. Carr/Morrow/Gocentas (Cortina) 26.44
  6. Perkins/Perkins (VW Beetle) 31.45 (not shown in official results)
  7. Johnson/Vaderbyl (Volvo 242) 32.00
  8. Sutton/Williams/Brock (Datsun 1600) score not known
  9. Mehta/Aaltonen/Lake (Commodore) 41.12
  10. Rowney/Wilson/Tyson (Datsun 180B) 43.39
  11. Dunkerton/McKay/Jones (Volvo 244) 46.47
  12. Cowan/Reddiex/Beaumont (Citron CX) 53.03
  13. Stewart/Parry (Commodore) 56.28
  14. Nalder/Richards/Boyd (Celica) 1.02.38
  15. Fury/Bonhomme/Suffern (Cortina) 1.03.15
  16. Warmbold/Willemsen/Schleuter (Audi 100SE) 1.07.15
  17. Mason/Hicks/Horley (Commodore) 1.09.13
  18. Hodgson/Houghton/Mutchell (Falcon) score not known
  19. Jensen/Johnson/Wellington (Volvo 242) 1.14.56
  20. Barth/Kushmaul (Porsche 924) 1.31.10
  21. Herrmann/Rainsford (Porsche 911) 1.40.13
  22. Hilton/Bourke/Pattenden (Celica) 1.41.07
  23. Loader/Hill/Neale (Lancer) 1.42.38
  24. Davis/Eather/Toner (Datsun 180B) 1.56.54
  25. McCubbin/Kelly/Guyatt (Monaro GTS) 2.12.45
  26. Hurrey/Geddes (Celica) 2.15.46
  27. Watson/Harrowfield (Peugeot 505 Diesel) 2.18.49
  28. Moloney/Vitnel/Daley (Leyland P76) 2:30.00
  29. Quill/Quill/Ellis (Commodore) 2.37.37
  30. Jackson/West/Jackson (Commodore) 2.39.06
  31. Glennie/Shaw/Amos (Stanza) 2.42.45
  32. Colless/Johnston/McCoy (Datsun 1600) 2.47.46
  33. Faulkner/de Vaus/Bateson (Peugeot 504) 2.52.45
  34. Roberts/Waterson/Carrol (Commodore) 3.56.33
  35. Mizel/Hall/Fricker/Mortimer (Chevy Blazer) 3.18.58
  36. Miettunen/Morgan/Suominen (Volvo 244) 3.19.42
  37. Enter/Enter (Galant) 3.41.07
  38. Taylor/Hunt (Rover 3500) 3.55.54
  39. Lloyd/Crockenberg/Dick (Colt) 3.56.51
  40. Murray (‘Gelignite’ Jack)/D’Albora/Murray (Commodore) 4.01.12
  41. Lahiff/Beath/Clarke (HR Holden) 4.02.29
  42. Lund/Elliott (Mazda RX7) 4.03.06
  43. Clarke/Davis/Burge (Datsun 180B) 4.05.34
  44. Sheridan/Reid (Datsun 1600) 4.08.02
  45. Potter/Bain (Mazda RX3) 4.38.38
  46. Lance/Craft/Robinson (Commodore) 4.41.34
  47. Tattingham/Geue/Kemp (EH Holden) 5.03.09
  48. Koseki/Takaoka (Subaru Leone) 5.09.04
  49. Pittaway/Boston (XY Ford Ute) 5.14.42
  50. Corr/McKimmie/Johansson (Saab) 5.48.09
  51. Finlay/Sullivan/McLeod (Commodore) 6.18.15
  52. Penny/Kennard/Brown (LH Torana) 6.34.00
  53. Caddey/Mulach/Hanrahan (Fairmont) 9.53.17
  54. Birrell/Smith/Nixon (Renault 16TS) 10.45.43

Many cars suffered suspension damage on the punishing roads of the southern Flinders Ranges. Retirements at or before Broken Hill with suspension breakages included the Moore P76, the Jack ‘Milko’ Murray Peugeot, the Hunt Datsun 180B, the Larkin EH Holden and the Coleman Honda Civic. The Barkell Escort apparently also retired in Broken Hill with unspecified problems. As the main field headed into the night numerous other competitors were scattered across South Australia as they made repairs and decided whether to head for Marree, Kingoonya or Nullarbor in order to rejoin the event over the next 36 hours.

Broken Hill to Coober Pedy

The night of trialling back across the Flinders Ranges and then north-west to the opal mining town of Coober Pedy was deceptively challenging despite that fact that most of the leadings crews lost little or no time. A number of the leaders had “scares” and one top runner, seventh placed Larry Perkins in the VW Beetle, would crash and retire. There was also the midnight challenge of an erroneous distance on the Marree transport that caught out some of the leading crews.

S7 – Silver City Transport

34.8 km in 35m First Car ETA 6:35 pm Tuesday

The sun was setting on Tuesday evening as the first crews headed out of Broken Hill at 6.00 pm. The road order into and out of Broken Hill was something like this: Brock, Portman, Bond, Ferguson, Carr, Johnson, Perkins (?), Mehta, Sutton (?), Rowney, Dunkerton, Stewart, Cowan, Nalder, Mason, Fury, Warmbold, Jensen, Hodgson, Herrmann, Barth, Hilton, Loader. The run up the Silver City Highway to Stephens Creek was uneventful for all of the leaders. Further down the field various cars were requiring major repairs in Broken Hill and would lose time on the ensuing transport as a result. Gelignite Jack Murray lost 40 minutes, the Colless Datsun 1600 and Taylor’s Rover both lost over an hour while the Mitchell Cortina lost over 2 hours. Beyond those losses, crews were out of late running time which was 3 hours to Broken Hill and a total of 5 hours to Kingoonya, so many were cutting and running to Kingoonya or to Nullarbor the next afternoon or evening.

S8 – Frome Downs Trial Stage

263.1 km in 3h10m First Car ETA 9:45 pm Tuesday (map)

The run back across the SA border to Frome Downs had a mixture of terrain and road conditions but was always going to be cleanable by many competitors. It started with 54 km of reasonable gravel up to Corona, although some of the creek crossings were a bit severe at high speed. Some reasonable dirt roads then took crews past Kantappa Homestead then to Mulga Valley where there was a new track around the homestead together with a passage control. The Brock Commodore ignored the makeshift arrows and followed the original route instructions, missing the passage, but were not penalised, not only because the officials had seen them, but because the detour was not really enforceable anyway. The route continued on sandy station tracks west across the border then down to Mulyungarie station after which it was a reasonably fast run across the undulating sand based road to Frome Downs Homestead. About half way to Frome Downs competitors made their first crossing of the Dog Fence, with the gate definitely to be shut at all times (the other three crossings were just west of Marree, just east of Coober Pedy and near Wynbring on the approach to the Nullarbor).

Many cars were quite early, including almost all of the leading pack. Dunkerton had a problem, reportedly two broken shockers and a loose alternator, and lost 11 minutes and quite a few places on the road. Jensen lost 8, McCubbin 29, Moloney 7 and Mizel a massive 40 minutes. Gelignite Jack dropped 16, perhaps hindered by the dust of slower cars further down the running order, as well as deteriorating road conditions. The Goldsborough Commodore struck problems dropping 45 minutes. The Mitchell Cortina continued to have problems dropping over 2 hours and would have been perilously close to their late time limit.
About 90 cars completed the stage and about 40 cars cleaned as follows: Portman, Brock, Bond, Ferguson, Carr, Johnson, Mehta, Perkins, Rowney, Cowan, Stewart, Nalder, Fury, Warmbold, Mason, Barth, Herrmann, Hilton, Loader, Davis, Hurrey, Watson, Quill, Jackson, Colless, Faulkner, Roberts, Mietuunen, Enter, Taylor, Lund, Lance, Pittaway, Finlay, Kuss, Beveridge, Ellis. Probably also Sutton and Hodgson.

S9 – Blinman Trial Stage

116.1 km in 1h10m First Car ETA 10:55 pm Tuesday (map)

The first 85 km of this stage was on fast reasonable quality tracks across the undulating plains to Wirrealpa Homestead on the edge of the Flinders Ranges. Fairly high speeds were only interrupted by a few gates and some dicey crests. Then it entered the twisty “main” road to just south of Blinman. This is a fabulous piece of road that would not be out of place in a WRC event.

The fast speeds achievable on the first two thirds of the stage favoured those cars with high top speeds and the leaders were all clean. Perkins got it all wrong towards the end and rolled the VW out of the event, leaving the car perched on its roof in the middle of the road! Several crews, including Stewart, wrong slotted at a dubious “straight on” instruction ,while Rowney stopped for a problem dropping 24 minutes and several places outright and on the road. Fury was perhaps slowed by dust behind Mason and/or Nalder. Hilton hit a tree (there weren’t many) and dropped 14 minutes.

Again, about 90 cars completed the stage, but the times once again stretched out for the less experienced competitors despite the road conditions being pretty good and there being no exceptional hazards other than the dubious instruction. Both Tholstrup and Colless dropped more than one and a half hours, obviously striking problems. Cleworth had more gearbox problems in the Mini losing almost 2 hours. Colless would skip from Blinman to Nullarbor the next night whereas Cleworth eventually just headed for Perth. A few later crews would run out of late time and cut and run to Kingoonya or Nullarbor, either directly from Frome Downs or from the stage end at Blinman.

Fastest times:

  • Bond, Brock, Carr, Ferguson, Portman clean
  • Herrmann 1
  • Cowan, Dunkerton, Fury 2
  • Mehta, Johnson 4
  • Nalder (Richards) 5
  • Warmbold, Mason 6
  • Barth, Jackson 8
  • Stewart, Miettunen 9
  • Faulkner, Finlay, McCubbin, Ellis, Moloney 10
  • Hurrey, Glennie, Watson 11
  • Quill, Giddings 12
  • Davis 13
  • Loader, Hilton, Lund, Roberts, Mizel 14
  • Jensen 15
  • Clarke 16
  • Murray (Gelignite Jack), Farmer, Clyborne 17
  • Birrell, Duyvestyn 18
  • Taylor, Beveridge, Lloyd, Bell, Carter, Penny, Travis 19
  • O’Donnell 20

S10 – Marree Transport

197 km (actually 215 km) in 2h 15m First Car ETA 1:10 am Wednesday

The 2 hours and 15 minutes allowed for the listed 197 km looked reasonably tight because the first 30 km traversed the twisty Parachilna Gorge while the majority of the second part was on the somewhat rough main dirt road from Leigh Creek to Marree. Crews also needed to refuel before booking into control. The route chart ended at Parachilna, presumably because the organisers had re-routed the event and had not actually traversed the road up to Marree (they had originally intended the route to go via Camerons Corner, Innamincka and Birdsville, using the Birdsville track to Marree, but the area was far too wet to contemplate that route). However the stated distance was 18 km short so that the actual required average speed was 96 km/h.

Many crews would have had their backup driver at the wheel and the main driver and navigator taking some well earned kip. But whoever was awake needed to twig to the fact that the distance was short, perhaps by observing the very clear signposts that said how far it was to Marree. Those who did not twig were surprised when they reached the specified distance but Marree was nowhere in sight! Some stopped, as if in disbelief.

The Brock car was the first to succumb to the trap, with Richards perhaps asleep and they ended up dropping 9 minutes and were presumably passed by Portman and Ferguson who both cleaned, Bond who dropped one minute and perhaps also Carr, who also only dropped one. Perhaps the time lost fired up Brock as he almost lost the event on the next trial stage. Behind them Johnson and Mehta both cleaned and would have been next on the road. In the next group the Nalder Celica, with Richards the only one awake (and driving) picked the error and made it on time, passing Cowan who lost 7 minutes, and slotting in behind the Mehta Commodore on the road. Behind them, Stewart and Herrmann were the only others in the lead group to clean with Fury (probably with Bonhomme driving) dropping 1 minute, Dunkerton (with Mackay driving?) 17 minutes, Warmbold 2 minutes, Mason 24 minutes, Jensen 18, Barth 6, Loader 20, Davis 17, Hurrey 12, Watson 17, Moloney 12, Quill 18, Jackson 14 and Mizel 9. What was meant to be a transport section had scrambled the road order and the outright placings!

For some, the opportunity to meet their service crews at Parachilna was a blessing and any extra time lost on the way up to Marree was incidental. Hilton needed repairs to the Celica after his encounter with the tree and lost 45 minutes on the stage. Goldsborough lost 43 minutes and then decided to cut to Nullarbor. As many as twenty crews turned left at Parachilna and cut to either Kingoonya or Nullarbor, which was a shame, because the section to Coober Pedy turned out to not be too bad. Faulkner lost 53 minutes and McCubbin an hour and a half. Carter lost a lot of time fixing the Falcon’s clutch and then had to ‘race’ to Perth where they were excluded as being out of late time. They continued from Perth under protest.

S11 – Boggy Detour Trial Stage

422.8 km in 5h 20m First Car ETA 6:30 am Wednesday (map)

The 5 hours and 20 minutes allowed for the run across to Coober Pedy was a ridiculously slow 80 km/h and one can only wonder what the organisers were thinking. Admittedly this was a replacement stage, the original route having been intended to traverse some very challenging terrain directly across to the Stuart Highway near Mount Eba. Perhaps when they surveyed it the conditions had been much worse. The first 250 kilometres up the Oodnadatta Track to William Creek was mostly super-fast and in reasonable condition despite a few dips and yumps, including five crossings of the now defunct Ghan railway line. It utilised a long (approx. 50 km) diversion to the south, presumably to avoid floodwaters at the south end of Lake Eyre, and another shorter diversion from the main track around Warriner Creek. 

The Oodnadatta Track has not changed much, photo: Ian Richards

The 173 km run across the bottom of Lake Cadibarrawirracanna to Coober Pedy was a different matter and was covered in many places with sheets of water from unseasonal rains, requiring crews to take to numerous slow, twisty and sandy diversion tracks. The track in between was, however, fast, sandy and undulating so crews often arrived at these murky water hazards at high speed in the darkness, only really lit by the full moon.

It was on this stage that Brock had a big moment, putting the Commodore on its nose for a distance but miraculously not barrel rolling (see Richards’ account of the incident here, or your can read Tuckey’s perhaps exaggerated account in An old dog for a hard road). Wayne Bell also burried the 17 Commodore in one of the lakes on the Coober Pedy road but radioed one of the other team cars to pull them out. Brock would have been behind them after their Marree lateness (although Tuckey suggests they were in front and were instructed by Shepheard to go back). Despite the dramas, everyone was early, but were pleased to see the sun rising as they finally headed into Coober Pedy for some fuel.

As an indication of how early crews were, some actually booked in early to gain late time, such as Tholstrup who was 55 minutes early and Giddings 1 hour and 16 minutes early. Only a handful of cars were late, but Rowney must have had a continuing drama as he lost 2 minutes. About 70 cars completed the stage.

The results show 47 cars (plus Sutton and Hodgson) had visited all controls to Coober Pedy and as dawn arrived on Wednesday morning the first 15 placings were as follows:

  1. Portman/Thompson/Hammond (Stanza) 15.53
  2. Bond/Riley/Dawson-Damer (Cortina) 18.23
  3. Ferguson/Bell/Boddy (Commodore) 21.18
  4. Brock/Philip/Richards (Commodore) 26.45
  5. Carr/Morrow/Gocentas (Cortina) 27.44
  6. Johnson/Vaderbyl (Volvo 242) 36.00
  7. Sutton/Williams/Brock (Datsun 1600) score not known
  8. Mehta/Aaltonen/Lake (Commodore) 45.12
  9. Cowan/Reddiex/Beaumont (Citron CX) 1.02.03
  10. Stewart/Parry (Commodore) 1.05.28
  11. Fury/Bonhomme/Suffern (Cortina) 1.06.15
  12. Nalder/Richards/Boyd (Celica) 1.07.38
  13. Rowney/Wilson/Tyson (Datsun 180B) 1.11.39
  14. Warmbold/Willemsen/Schleuter (Audi 100SE) 1.15.15
  15. Dunkerton/McKay/Jones (Volvo 244) 1.16.47

Coober Pedy to Immarna

The day’s run down to the edge of the Nullarbor was fairly low key although the trial stage from Tarcoola to Immarna was not without its challenges, with the sand dunes once again presenting problems for Cowan and many of the later runners. The overall positions did not change a great deal except for the Mehta Commodore which was delayed by a loose strut. A number of unsuspecting crews had short cut from Broken Hill to Kingoonya only to encounter another challenging stage that left them in a location where they really had no choice but to continue onto the Nullarbor in darkness.

S12 – Stuart Transport

280 km in 3h 10mm First Car ETA 9:40 am Wednesday

After refuelling in Coober Pedy, the run down the “old” Stuart Highway to Kingoonya was straightforward enough, albeit rather rough and corrugated. No route chart was either provided nor necessary, just a rough map. The stage seemed to be a late addition to the route after the deletion of the more challenging trial stage that was to pass through Billa Kalina and Mount Eba.

Pretty much everyone was on time, although the Lance Commodore and Moloney P76 lost 17 and 18 minutes respectively, and the Lahiff Holden HR 4 minutes, presumably with problems that needed to be attended to back in Coober Pedy or along the way.

Kingoonya saw the first serous instances of cars cutting and running and being allowed to run ahead of cars that had completed the whole route. Those who had cut-and-run to Kingoonya from Broken Hill included Suth, Glover, Spanbroek, Stanley, Boaden, Hayden, Jones and the Fullagher family. Nicholson and Hargrave had skipped from Blinman to Kingoony, Wallis from Marree, and Barnes rejoined essentially from Adelaide. Little did they all know that the two stages to Nullarbor would prove to be among the toughest in the whole event!

The Nalder Celica at the Coober Pedy refuel, photo: Ian Richards
The Barth/Kushmaul checks into Kingoonya behind the cutting-and-running Suth/Gros/Suth VW Beetle The Loader/Hill/Neale Lancer is leaving the control in the background, photo: Ray Berghouse, Chevron Publishing

S13 – Tarcoola Transport

87.3 km in 1h 15m First Car ETA 10:55 am Wednesday

This transport officially included 20 minutes for refuelling and service. The officials at Kingoonya allowed cars to leave the control after arriving early so that most crews would have got at least half an hour’s service break for refuelling and servicing around the corner in the township. It was a fine sunny day and Greg Carr must have been relieved as the diff was failing on the Cortina (or perhaps the rear axle housing was cracked?) and required replacing but with no time lost. Dunkerton also needed work with a loose alternator and, of course, changes of shock absorbers. Ferguson’s Commodore needed a replacement strut with the Commodores all revealing minor problems with loosening strut retaining rings.

Wes Nalder doing a routine change of rear shockers on the Celica, photo: Hal Moloney

Those requiring extra service time in Kingoonya lost time on this transport. These included the Lance Commodore (43 minutes late), the Moloney P76 (1 hour 41 minutes late) and the Lahiff Holden HR (11 minutes) who had all lost time on the previous transport. Also requiring extra service time was the Mizel Chevvy (59 minutes late), the Ellis Datsun 1600 (27 minutes), Miettunen’s Volvo (31 minutes), the Giddings 200B (32 minutes), the all-girl O’Shanesy Fiat (38 minutes), the Minett Datsun 1600 (48 minutes), the Kuss Escort (49 minutes). The Penny Torana took the opportunity to book in 10 minutes early to gain some late time. A number of crews that went to the Tarcoola control decided to backtrack to Kingoonya and take the “easy” route around to Nullarbor, dropping the control at Immarna. These included Lance, Minett and O’Shanesy who all actually then followed the bitumen all the way to Perth, although O’Shanesy picked up a few controls along the way without actually completing any competitive stages.

The continuing transport stage took crews west on fairly good gravel roads past the small town of Tarcoola to the start of the day’s only trial stage. The route followed the railway, crossing it six times and finished close to where the new Ghan line diverges from the Transcontinental Railway.

S14 – Railway Run Trial Stage

239.5 km in 2h 25m First Car ETA 1:20 pm Wednesday (map)

This stage mostly along the north side the transcontinental railway to Immarna looked tight with a 90 km/h average. A reasonable gravel and dirt track allowed quite high speeds despite a few dips and washaways which caught out a few, including Shekar Mehta who stopped early in the stage to investigate a rattle and subsequently stopping for more than 20 minutes to tighten a loose strut. At 96 km the route bypassed the settlement of Wynbring by taking to a vestigial track and soon after the main track became more twisty and sandy. From about 140 km through to Barton Siding at 189 km was quite sandy with a number of dunes that required a fair bit of speed to get up them and it was in here that Cowan again lost some time. At Barton there is a siding perpendicular to the main line and the road turns right, heading north for about 500 metres before doing a hairpin left around the end of the siding to return to the main line. Soon after the track crosses back to the south side of the line where it stays until Immarna. The last part of the stage was reasonable albeit with more dips and washaways where Cowan, as if he didn’t have enough challenges, punctured.

Only the six leaders cleaned and after that the times started to climb steadily. Cowan passed Nalder then became stuck for a while and held up Nalder but then punctured and let the Celica back through. Stewart and Fury were both flying and passed Nalder, Cowan and the stopped Mehta. The Loader/Hill Lancer had a collision with a local in a National Railways Landcruiser but somehow survived with considerable damage, including a broken windscreen and side window. After perhaps twenty cars the sand became very rutted and more and more cars were getting stuck on the sand dunes. There were no 4WDs posted at these dunes so crews had to help each other or winch. About 32 cars completed the stage with a loss under an hour, a further 22 with losses between 1 and 2 hours and another 13 with losses over 2 hours. The Herrmann 911 must have been very stuck as they lost over 2 hours with Rainsford quoted as saying that the Porsche just couldn’t cope with the sand. Although the early cars arrived at Immarna mid afternoon, some of these later cars would have been in the sand in darkness.

Fastest times:

  • Bond, Brock, Carr, Ferguson, Portman, Johnson clean
  • Stewart, Rowney 7
  • Fury 11
  • Cowan, Jackson and Nalder (Richards) 18
  • Mizel 22
  • Barth 23
  • Davis 25
  • Mehta, Loader 28
  • Roberts 31
  • Mason 32
  • Dunkerton 34
  • Giddings 36
  • Clarke 37
  • Warmbold, Beveridge 38
  • Hilton, Lockhart 43
  • Faulkner 47
  • Finlay, Lund, Quill 48
  • Jensen 53
  • McCubbin 59
  • Murray (Gelignite Jack), Glennie 1.01
  • Watson 1.03
  • Hurrey, Sheridan 1,04
  • Taylor 1.05
  • Moloney 1.07

At Immarna there was meant to be a fuel tanker so that cars could make it to the Nullarbor Roadhouse, a further 260 km and a total of 567 km from the Kingoonya refuel. Unfortunately the tanker had not arrived and locals were selling small quantities of fuel at inflated prices. The officials decided to hold the field, the first car having arrived pretty much on schedule around 1.30 pm, but by 4 pm they decided they could wait no longer and gave crews the option of going or waiting for the tanker. Pretty much no-one waited but the leading crews had at least had a couple of hours of unscheduled rest! It also compressed the field again. The running order out of Immarma was probably Portman, Ferguson, Bond, Brock, Carr, Johnson, Sutton (?), Fury, Nalder, Cowan, Mehta, Hodgson (?), then probably the Commodores of Jackson and Mason, the Davis 180B, Warmbold’s Audi, Dunkerton’s Volvo and the Loader/Hill Lancer.

Everything stopped at Immarna for a few hours, photo: Ian Richards

It is interesting to look at the outright positions at Immarna because things changed so dramatically on the next stage to Nullarbor. The results showed 46 cars having visited all controls at this stage but Hodgson and Sutton were still in the top 20 also. Obviously the first six places hadn’t changed since Marree as none of them had lost any time, but Stewart, Fury and Rowney had gained places on the run to Immarna. Lance had dropped from the list.

  1. Portman/Thompson/Hammond (Stanza) 15.53
  2. Bond/Riley/Dawson-Damer (Cortina) 18.23
  3. Ferguson/Bell/Boddy (Commodore) 21.18
  4. Brock/Philip/Richards (Commodore) 26.45
  5. Carr/Morrow/Gocentas (Cortina) 27.44
  6. Johnson/Vaderbyl (Volvo 242) 36.00
  7. Stewart/Parry (Commodore) 1.12.28
  8. Sutton/Williams/Brock (Datsun 1600) score not known
  9. Mehta/Aaltonen/Lake (Commodore) 1.13.12
  10. Fury/Bonhomme/Suffern (Cortina) 1.17.15
  11. Rowney/Wilson/Tyson (Datsun 180B)1.18.39
  12. Cowan/Reddiex/Beaumont (Citroen CX) 1.20.03
  13. Nalder/Richards/Boyd (Celica) 1.25.38
  14. Dunkerton/McKay/Jones (Volvo 244) 1.50.47
  15. Warmbold/Willemsen/Schleuter (Audi 100SE) 1.53.15
  16. Barth/Kushmaul(Porsche 924) 2.08.10
  17. Mason/Hicks/Horley (Commodore) 2.11.13
  18. Hodgson/Houghton/Mitchell (Falcon) score not known
  19. Loader/Hill/Neale (Lancer) 2.44.38
  20. Jensen/Johnson/Wellington (Volvo 242) 2.48.46
  21. Davis/Eather/Toner (Datsun 180B) 2.52.54
  22. Jackson/West/Jackson (Commodore) 3.19.06
  23. Hilton/Bourke/Pattenden (Celica) 3.23.07
  24. Hurrey/Geddes (Celica) 3.42.46
  25. Watson/Harrowfield (Peugeot 505 Diesel) 3.49.49
  26. Quill/Quill/Ellis (Commodore) 3.55.37
  27. Herrmann/Rainsford (Porsche 911) 4.08.13
  28. Roberts/Waterson/Carrol (Commodore 4.13.33
  29. Faulkner/de Vaus/Bateson (Peugeot 504) 4.42.35
  30. Clarke/Davis/Burge (Datsun 180B)5.19.34
  31. Glennie/Shaw/Amos (Stanza) 5.34.45
  32. McCubbin/Kelly/Guyatt (Monaro GTS) 5.38.45
  33. Mizel/Hall/Fricker/Mortimer (Chevy Blazer) 5.42.58
  34. Lund/Elliott (Mazda RX7) 5.46.06
  35. Enter/Enter (Galant) 5.55.07
  36. Moloney/Vitnel/Daley (Leyland P76) 6.05.00
  37. Sheridan/Reid (Datsun 1600) 6.26.02
  38. Miettunen/Morgan/Suominen (Volvo 244) 6.27.42
  39. Lloyd/Crockenberg/Dick (Colt)6.30.51
  40. Murray (‘Gelignite’ Jack)/D’Albora/Murray (Commodore) 6.45.12
  41. Taylor/Hunt (Rover 3500) 7.09.54
  42. Finlay/Sullivan/McLeod (Commodore) 7.16.15
  43. Koseki/Takaoka (Subaru Leone) 7.28.04
  44. Pittaway/Boston (XY Ford Ute) 8.12.42
  45. Lahiff/Beath/Clarke (HR Holden) 9.10.29
  46. Penny/Kennard/Brown (LH Torana) 10.22.00
  47. Corr/McKimmie/Johansson (Saab) 11.05.09
  48. Birrell/Smith/Nixon (Renault 16TS) 14.09.43

Immarna to Coolgardie

The night of trialling across the Nullarbor would see the demise of several competitors with many others losing large amounts of time. Many competitors would cut and run, deciding to stick to the bitumen highway rather than risking the rocks of the Nullarbor tracks. No one cleaned all these stages, but Bond faired the best overall, whereas Portman lost 1 hour 40 minutes into the Nullarbor Roadhouse after scrounging a spare tyre from Revs Rowney. Most punctured at least once, often two punctures simultaneously on one side on the same rock. By dawn the field was in disarray with big gaps and the Coolgardie servo doing a roaring trade in puncture repairs.

S15 – Maralinga Sump Crusher Trial Stage

259.9 km in 3h 00m First Car ETA  4.20 pm Wednesday, Delayed to 7.00 pm (map)

The trial stage to the Nullarbor Roadhouse looked easy on the map, especially considering the 35 km of straight bitumen that runs from the “secret” Maralinga nuclear test site to the railway at Watson. But the stage was anything but easy. The first 69 km through sandy scrub country from Immarna to Maralinga was fairly slow going with lots of jumps and harsh dips.

At Maralinga crews emerged onto the vast Nullarbor Plain and for the early crews that saw this in daylight, it was easy to understand why the Nullarbor is so named – no trees! With no trees or other features, the gently meandering tracks looked deceptively easy but the razor sharp rocks probably caused at least a hundred punctures that night. The route followed the service track beside the railway for 53 km to Fisher and then turned south for 100 km to the relative civilisation of the Nullarbor Roadhouse. The early crews were also driving directly into the setting sun as they headed alonside the railway to Fisher. Once darkness fell, the Nullarbor is an eerie place with the lights of numerous other competitors visible far into the distance.

Greg Carr at Maralinga, the airstrip visible in the background, photo: Ray Berghouse, Chevron Publishing

What up to that point had looked pretty much like a sprint suddenly turned into a game of survival. The order at the front was Portman then Ferguson, Bond and Brock, the latter having lost road position on the tricky Marree transport the previous night. Bond punctured first on the sandy root strewn track up to Maralinga, but they had a service crew that had flown into the old runway there and managed to quickly replace the tyre, probably before Brock came through. On the run down the tarmac to the railway at Watson, the Commodore’s superior top speed allowed Ferguson to overtake Portman’s Stanza. It was just getting dark as they headed south from the transcontinental railway towards the Nullarbor Roadhouse.

Shepheard in the HDT plane checked on the progress of the three Commodores with a no doubt superb view of the stage from above. Shepheard reported to Boddy over the radio that the 17 car was well ahead and there were no other cars in sight with most other cars striking some trouble back near the railway. (Soon after, Ferguson passed a local in a Holden ute and Boddy called Shepheard to report this, to which George replied “Ah, people trust Holden!”). Ferguson pressed on through the rock strewn Nullarbor to clean the stage, and was surely one of very few cars not to puncture. They never saw Portman again as they punctured multiple times, certainly letting Bond through into second place and, according to Brock, blocking the Commodore for 50 km driving on flat tyres. Brock may have punctured also but Bond almost certainly did not, and set the second quickest time. Amazingly, they didn’t puncture at all across the Nullarbor except for the Maralinga flat.

Others such as Carr, Johnson, Cowan and Fury may also have been held up or they may have simply had their own punctures. Mehta certainly had several punctures and lost a lot of time while Cowan had a fuel leak. Eventually Portman had to stop and he waited for someone to loan him another spare – Revs Rowney eventually did so. One story suggests that once he stopped that Thompson hitched a ride with Mehta to the end to get their service crew and come in against the rally traffic. In any case, Portman dropped 1 hour 40 minutes and dropped from 1st to 8th.
Sutton punctured several times and ran out of spares near Fisher. Nalder punctured twice and like so many others just slowed down in order to make it to Nullarbor without further punctures. Stewart punctured several times and was either effecting a roadside puncture repair or just inflating his tyres higher because he borrowed Nalder’s tyre pump. Dunkerton may have had punctures but certainly had continuing problems with a loose alternator. The Warmbold Audi had a holed fuel tank.

The outright positions had been thoroughly rearranged with Ferguson surging into the lead with Bond second, as they were also on the road. The other factory Commodores and Cortinas were still in the mix, as were Johnson and Cowan, but behind them the field was strewn out over many hours.

While the sandy road conditions to Maralinga probably deteriorated significantly for later cars, the remainder of the route did not. Yet some of the later times reflect incredible heartache as crews must have assisted each other to repair punctures, perhaps travelling to the end of the section to get spares and returning to stricken cars. The Ellis 120Y and Beveridge Volvo each lost almost three and half hours, whereas Quill, Miettunen, Lloyd, Taylor, Pittaway, Corr and Birrel would not make it out to the Nullarbor Roadhouse within their late time limit and would have to cut and run to Coolgardie or Perth, in some cases picking up a few controls along the way. Some did not emerge until the next day, having to wait for service crews to retrieve them with extra spares. It seems impossible that anyone could have retreated from Immarna but the results show Bray losing 4 hours 23 minutes and Glover with a loss of 5 hours 31 minutes, which both may have included a wrong direction at Nullarbor. In the end about 52 cars were credited with completing the stage within the late time limit.

Times (and these are hours and minutes!):

  • Ferguson clean
  • Bond 0.11
  • Fury 0.21
  • Johnson 0.22
  • Brock 0.25
  • Carr 0.28
  • Cowan 0.38
  • Mehta 0.41
  • Jackson 0.53
  • Mizel 0.55
  • Dunkerton 0.59
  • Herrmann 1.01
  • Watson 1.04
  • Rowney 1.07
  • Roberts 1.12
  • Davis 1.13
  • Loader/Hill 1.15
  • Barth 1.17
  • McCubbin, Mason 1.20
  • Findlay 1.21
  • Lund 1.26
  • Nalder 1.28
  • Hurrey 1.32
  • Murray (Gelignite Jack) 1.34
  • Hilton, Sheridan 1.36
  • Lockhart 1.38
  • Portman, Tholstrup 1.40
  • Stewart 1.42
  • Faulkner 1.43
  • Boaden 1.46
  • Enter, Jones 1.47
  • Koseki 1.49
  • Suth 1.56
  • Warmbold, Hayden 1.59
  • Moloney 2.01
  • Stanley 2.05
  • Clarke 2.07
  • Nicholson 2.13
  • Kuss 2.16
  • Jensen 2.21
  • Glennie, Penny 2.52
  • Wallis 2.55
  • Jones 3.06
  • Ellis 3.20
  • Beveridge 3.25

Hodgson and Sutton were both still running but each lost at least an hour on the stage.

From the Canberra Times

S16 – Nullarbor Transport

197.1 km in 2h 40m First Car ETA 7.00 pm Wednesday, Delayed to 9.40 pm (CST), 
Depart 8.10 pm (WST)

The Nullarbor Roadhouse is a lonely outpost on the Eyre Highway linking Western Australia to the east, but on that dark Wednesday evening in 1979, it was an incredibly welcome sight for the crews that emerged out of the rock strewn trial stage that ended almost adjacent to the roadhouse. Time was allowed for refuelling and service, mostly the replacement of punctured and destroyed tyres. But the night was still young and more torture was to come. But first was an easy drive along the highway to Eucla, just over the border into Western Australia. Here the rally changed from CST to WST, a 1.5 hour time difference which made the night seem even longer.

The historic Nullarbor Roadhouse, photo: Ian Richards

A number of crews would need extra service, mostly getting punctures repaired, and would lose time on the transport, including Warmbold and McCubbin (2 minutes each), Watson and Mizel (4 minutes each), Jensen (12 minutes), Faulkner (16 minutes), Sheridan (23 minutes), Enter (43 minutes) and Stewart (50 minutes). Hurrey ran out of late time in the Celica and had to skip to Coolgardie. The Gawler Celica reportedly retired at Eucla with a “lack of funds”.

Another complication at Eucla was the number of cars rejoining that had cut and run from Broken Hill the previous day, or in some cases from Blinman. The front group of cars were unaffected and the road order was Ferguson, Bond, Brock, Carr, Johnson, Fury, Cowan and Mehta. Then came a group of interlopers including Colless, Richardson, Potter, Tattingham, Goldsborough, Meehan and Travis. There was some dust hazard and some later front runners may have been affected, although the roads were not deteriorting (the cars were deteriorating quicker than the roads!). In the next group were (roughly in order) Dunkerton, Portman, Rowney, Jackson, Nalder, Mason, Davis, Warmbold, Loader, Watson and Lund, possibly with other interlopers intermixed.

S17 – Old Coach Road Trial Stage

127.1 km in 1h 17m First Car ETA 6.47 pm Wednesday
Delayed to 9.27 pm (map)

This trial stage to Mundrabilla looped northwards onto the Nullarbor plain and back through some scrub and station country before descending the escarpment just before the end. The road was extremely fast and actually pretty good with relatively few rocky sections and not such a great risk of punctures. Seven cars cleaned. About 65 cars completed the stage and while the times stretched out, most were under half an hour. Enter would strike trouble, dropping over an hour and then having to skip to Coolgardie. Faulkner, Finlay, Moloney and Lahiff would short cut to the end and take a 4 hour maximum penalty and then they all skipped from Cocklebiddy to Coolgardie also. Glennie must have exceeded late time and also skipped to Coolgardie.

Fastest times:

  • Cowan, Bond, Brock, Carr, Fury, Ferguson, Portman clean
  • Mehta, Dunkerton, Johnson, Rowney 1
  • Warmbold 5
  • Mason 8
  • Barth, Nalder, Colless 9
  • Herrmann, Hilton 10
  • Stewart, Lund 11
  • Ohta, Travis 12
  • Tattingham, O’Donnell 12
  • Mizel 14
  • Davis, Neilson 15
  • Potter 16
  • Loader, Boys, Richardson 17
  • Donoghue 18
  • Roberts, Myers 20
  • Jackson, Meehan 21
  • Watson, Ingerson, Garner, Sawyer 22
  • Wilson 23
  • Lockhart, Bolch 25
  • Goldsborough, Easton 26
  • Tholstrup 27
  • Koseki 28
  • Jensen, McCubbin 29
  • Penny 30
  • Murray (Gelignite Jack), Giddings, Sheridan 31
The descent off the Nullarbor escarpment is quite spectacular. Control S17 is at the end of the road visible at top-right, photo: Ian Richards

S18 – Cocklebiddy Transport

170.2 km in 1h 45m First Car ETA 8.32 pm Wednesday, Delayed to 11.12 pm

Another easy drive along the Eyre Highway took crews to the lonely Cocklebiddy Roadhouse for fuel. If they were lucky they might have been able to meet their service crew, but the fast pace and spread out nature of the rally was now seeing many service crews fall behind their cars! In fact the stage was reasonably tight so crews needing extra service time would probably lose time, as did Mason, Watson, Herrmann and Roberts (3 minutes each) and Loader (5 minutes).

The next section began over the road from the roadhouse and looked daunting. Not surprisingly, many crews decided that “discretion was the better part of valour” and chose to head straight for Coolgardie, necessarily missing the next two controls. With no easy escape route, once you committed it could be a case of running out of late time and maybe not even making it to Perth in time. Among those who cut to Coolgardie were some who had visited all controls up to this point, including Jensen, Faulkner, Clarke, Moloney, Sheridan, Murray, Finlay, Koseki, Lahiff and Penny. The Fritter 180B retired near Cocklebiddy with unspecified problems.

S19 – Rawlinna Rocks Trial Stage

349.9 km in 3h 30m First Car ETA 12.02 am Thursday, Delayed to 2.42 am (map)

The advice for this stage, “Sharp, tyre killing rocky outcrops for 190 kms”, made it sound even more fearsome than the Nullarbor stage with a high risk of punctures. Little wonder that so many crews decided to cut and run to Coolgardie. The conditions were made all the more challenging by sections covered with water, which were incredibly difficult to see at night and hitting them as relatively high speed could throw you off the track into the rocky surrounds. Many crews punctured and given their previous experience at Nullarbor and the fact that there was no service until at least Kalgoorlie, most opted for a safety first approach, travelling at a snail’s pace. After Rawlinna the route followed the south side of the railway, again along a poor quality service track, but at 190 km it emerged onto a better quality gravel road that was followed all the way to the end at Coonana where crews crossed back to the control on the north side of the railway.

When one considers the time losses of some crews that ran into an hour or more, it seems incredible that Carr cleaned and Bond dropped only 3. They either had bullet proof tyres or were extremely lucky. Nonetheless, the torture they were inflicting on their cars was soon to become evident. Others had countless punctures. Bell spun the 17 Commodore after a water splash and had two punctures. Dunkerton did the same, probably at the same spot. Fortunately there was nothing to hit except rocks. Cowan punctured two tyres in a similar place and Nalder also spun at the water splash and punctured, then had another puncture a bit further on. Mehta punctured two tyres at 68 km and another at 170 km, then had no spares until Kalgoorlie. Fatigue was also a huge issue, with some drivers having a sensation of constantly going up hill, others constantly downhill, but be assured, the Nullarbor is completely flat. Others were just in a daze and reported sensations of driving through a tunnel. The three man crews could change drivers but it was sheer hell for the two-man crews. The hours before dawn are always the most challenging when fatigue sets in.

The Hodgson Falcon reportedly started the stage and punctured both rears at about 32 km so they returned to Cocklebiddy for more tyres. On their second attempt they broke a rear spring centre bolt and again returned to Cocklebiddy for repairs. On the third attempt they had another puncture and rear end dramas at 54 km and this time returned to Cocklebiddy to retire! Colless also started the stage but punctured multiple times and had to retreat from 94 km into the stage back to Cocklebiddy, then cut to Perth. There may have been others who entered the stage and then retreated. In the end 37 cars, including Sutton, completed the stage.

All the times:

  • Carr cleaned
  • Bond 0.03
  • Cowan 0.13
  • Brock 0.14
  • Fury 0.16
  • Dunkerton 0.21
  • Portman 0.25
  • Ferguson 0.29
  • Johnson 0.38
  • Rowney 0.39
  • Lund 0.42
  • Barth 0.44
  • Watson 0.45
  • Mason 0.48
  • Mehta 0.51
  • Roberts 0.52
  • Sawyer 0.53
  • Herrmann 0.57
  • Warmbold and Loader/Hill 1.04
  • Giddings 1.05
  • Stewart 1.06
  • Davis and Potter 1.08
  • Mizel 1.24
  • McCubbin 1.25
  • Hilton 1.37
  • Jackson 1.50
  • Nalder 1.54
  • Travis and Donoghue 1.57
  • Tattingham 2.04
  • Feizaks 2.07
  • Boys 2.17
  • Moore 2.28
  • Goldsborough 2.36

S20 – Cundeelee Trial Stage

65.6 km in 43m First Car ETA 12.45 am Thursday
Delayed to 3.25 am (map)

As if to rub salt into the wound, from Coonana crews faced a further 65 km trial stage looping north through sandy scrub country and back to the railway at Karonie. It was in fact quite a nice stage, provided that you had some spare tyres left and felt that you could travel at competitive speeds. The first group of cars tackled this in the dark whereas the later cars were in daylight.

It seemed that the fast times of the two leading Cortinas had extracted a price and they both had front suspension dramas that seriously slowed them on this stage, with Carr dropping a massive 34 minutes after a bolt fell out and they had to stop and wire it together. The number 9 Cortina would also need extra service in Kalgoorlie costing further time loss on the next transport. Johnson was also very slow in the Volvo, reportedly because of fatigue. As the leading two-man crew, Johnson had been driving for almost 48 hours and was reportedly so fatigued that he had no idea where he was, simply driving in a tunnel. The run of the Sutton/Williams/Brock Datsun 1600 ended on this stage when they reportedly broke the engine after hitting a spoon drain too quickly (perhaps the one at 6.62 km that was clearly marked in the instructions, but tiredness may have seen the navigator fail to call it). The results show the O’Donnell Torana as visiting the control but without going to the start of the stage so they must have gone around through Kalgoorlie, which was quite an enterprising way to pick up one extra control, albeit from the wrong direction.

The same 36 cars completed the stage, except for Sutton. Times:

  • Dunkerton 6
  • Brock, Fury 7
  • Cowan, Mason, Donoghue 8
  • Davis, Roberts, Loader, Sawyer 9
  • Ferguson, Stewart, Rowney, Hilton, Lund, Goldsborough 10
  • Herrman, Nalder 11
  • Watson, McCubbin 12
  • Bond, Portman, Travis, Feizaks 13
  • Mizel 14
  • Mehta, Jackson, Boys 15
  • Barth 16
  • Warmbold 18
  • Giddings 19
  • Tattingham 20
  • Johnson 24
  • Moore 26
  • Carr 34
  • Potter 35

S21 – Kalgoorlie Transport

151.2 km in 2h 40m First Car ETA 3.25 am Thursday
Delayed to 6.05 am

It was still dark on Thursday morning as the leading cars headed for the mining town of Kalgoorlie along about 100 km of mostly gravel roads. For all but the leaders it was definitely daylight. The slow running for some crews made them close on fuel as it was 515 km from Cocklebiddy to Kalgoorlie. The Warmbold Audi ran out of fuel about 30 km short of Kalgoorlie but borrowed fuel from Nalder and made it to Kalgoorlie OK. The Watson/Harrowfield Peugeot was low at Karonie and asked the officials if they had some fuel. The official had put several litres of petrol into the diesel tank before they realised the error but fortunately they also had a jerry of diesel so they put that in to dilute the petrol and hoped for the best! It didn’t explode.

After the Kalgoorlie refuel crews travelled the 35 km down the highway to Coolgardie where most met their weary service crews who had travelled along the Eyre Highway from Nullarbor and Cocklebiddy. The start of the next stage was just out of Coolgardie and with the lead cars about half an hour behind the revised schedule, the sun would have just been rising on another beautiful mild day as they started the next trial stage at around 6.30 am.

Carr was 3 minutes late on the transport while Stewart was 33 minutes late, perhaps waiting for tyres to be repaired. Many others lost time while some booked in early to recoup precious late time since there was no extra late time all the way to Perth. Numerous cars that had cut and run from Nullarbor or Cocklebiddy rejoined at Coolgardie for the next trial stage and there was no attempt by the organisers to prevent them from being interspersed with the cars that had completed all stages. In fact those who had done the whole route were spread over about a four hour period, and the whole field perhaps over as many as 10 hours so that the the last competitor may not have transited Coolgardie until late in the afternoon.

By Coolgardie the number of cars that had visited all major controls had been reduced to 26 as listed below, with some previously in the top 20 (Sutton, Hodgson and Jensen) falling from the list. These results would barely change by Perth.

  1. Bond/Riley/Dawson-Damer (Cortina) 45.23
  2. Ferguson/Bell/Boddy (Commodore) 1.00.18
  3. Brock/Philip/Richards (Commodore) 1.12.45
  4. Carr/Morrow/Gocentas (Cortina) 1.34.44
  5. Johnson/Vanderbyl (Volvo 244) 2.01.00
  6. Fury/Bonhomme/Suffern (Cortina) 2.01.15
  7. Cowan/Reddiex/Beaumont (Citroen CX) 2.19.03
  8. Portman/Thompson/Hammond (Stanza) 2.33.53
  9. Mehta/Aaltonen/Lake (Commodore) 3.01.12
  10. Rowney/Wilson/Tyson (Datsun 180B) 3.15.39
  11. Dunkerton/McKay/Jones (Volvo 244) 3.17.47
  12. Mason/Hicks/Horley (Commodore) 4.38.13
  13. Nalder/Richards/Boyd (Celica) 5.07.38
  14. Warmbold/Willemsen/Schleuter (Audi 100SE) 5.20.15
  15. Loader/Hill/Neale (Lancer) 5.34.38
  16. Davis/Eather/Toner (Datsun 180B) 5.36.54
  17. Stewart/Parry (Commodore) 5.44.28
  18. Barth/Kushmaul (Porsche 924) 6.00.10
  19. Watson/Harrowfield (Peugeot 504 Diesel) 6.19.49
  20. Herrmann/Rainsford (Porsche 911) 6.31.13
  21. Jackson/West/Jackson (Commodore) 6.38.06
  22. Roberts/Waterson/Carrol (Commodore) 6.49.33
  23. Hilton/Bourke/Pattenden (Celica) 6.56.07
  24. Lund/Elliot (Mazda RX7) 8.45.06
  25. Mizel/Hall/Fricker/Mortimer (Chevy Blazer) 8.48.58
  26. McCubbin/Kelly/Guyatt (Monaro GTS) 9.41.45

Coolgardie to Perth

Thursday’s daylight run from Coolgardie into Perth was largely uneventful with two cleanable trial stages and the Narrogin Special Stage, which like all the special stages, was mostly to cater for spectators. However the Cortina’s were showing signs of trouble despite Bond holding the lead into Perth.

S22 – Mad Hatter’s Trial Stage

45.1 km in 45m First Car ETA 11:45 am Monday (map)

This trial stage from just outside Coolgardie to east of Lake King was quite varied but easily cleanable, mostly because the first half of the stage was on super fast mostly straight gravel roads through undulating scrub country. However dust was a major hazard especially with cutting-and-running cars being allowed in front of some of the cars who had done the entire route to that point. The second half became more interesting with narrower sandy tracks, a few tight sections that were quite rough with roots and ruts, finishing on a better quality road. It supposedly passed by “Hatter Hill”. Some of the last 95 km was used for the Marvel Loch to Lake King section of the 1968 London-to-Sydney Marathon, but in the intervening 11 years some of the road south from Forrestania had been substantially upgraded.

The track near Lake King in recent times has been affected by devastating bushfires, photo: Ian Richards

The stage was cleaned by 28 cars (Herrmann, Cowan, Mehta, Bond, Brock, Dunkerton, Barth, Carr, Mizel, Fury, Ferguson, Portman, Davis, Jensen, Murray, Johnson, Rowney, Loader, Miettunen, McCubbin, Beveridge, Foden, Roberts, Mason, Myers, Hurrey, Neilson and Donoghue). Some of those now in the “missed no controls” group dropped time including Watson 3, Jackson, Lund and Nalder 4 each, Warmbold 5, Hilton 9 and Stewart 26. This may have been due to dust, as was the case with Nalder who broke a tie rod in dust behind Jensen’s Volvo. A total of 55 cars completed the stage with Caudle dropping more than 3 hours.

S23 – Lake King Straightaway Transport

183 km in 2h 00m First Car ETA 9.51 am Thursday, Delayed to 11.31 am

This transport across good sealed roads to near Kukerin allowed time for refuelling at Newdegate. It was a fine sunny day and the road indeed had very few bends!

The transport was not that tight unless you dawdled in Newdegate which was easy given the temptation to buy icecreams. Nonetheless, Watson dropped a minute and the trial leader, Bond, dropped 4 minutes presumably needing to work on the front end of the ailing Cortina. Others to drop time were Mizel and Mason (4 minutes each) and Jackson (9 minutes) who seemed to be having problems with their Commodore that would slow them all the way into Perth. Further back Lockhart lost more than one and a half hours but persevered completing all the stages into Perth.

S24 – Wheatlands Trial Stage

106 km in 1h 19m First Car ETA 11.10 am Thursday, Delayed to 12.50 pm (map)

There was little point to this jaunt around the WA wheat fields north of Wagin. The roads were mostly straight and good quality. Pretty much everyone was early, although Moloney had problems with the P76 and was 17 minutes late after having skipped the previous trial stage.

S25 – Highbury Transport

15 km in 16m First Car ETA 11.26 am Thursday, Delayed to 1.06 pm

This was a short run up the Great Southern Highway almost into Narrogin and to the start of the Narrogin Special Stage. The first half of the special stage ran beside the highway so you could see other cars coming towards you!

S26 – Narrogin Special Stage

25.9 km in 15m First Car ETA 11.43 am Thursday, Delayed to 1.23 pm (Map)

This was quite an enjoyable stage, down one side of the railway line for 13 km and back up the other side. The railway access tracks were of a reasonable surface and meander through the scrub with a few sharp dips and yumps.

The two lead Cortinas were continuing to be slowed by front suspension problems with Bond slightly off the pace and Carr dropping over 10 minutes after a bolt had fallen out of the front suspension. Davis had a puncture on the 180B at the start line so had to change it “in the stage”. Jackson also had problems with the Commodore dropping 46 minutes. The Warmbold Audi apparently broke the suspension and dropped a maximum penalty but still limped into Perth without any controls missed.

About 70 cars completed the stage. Times perhaps reflected more who was foolish enough to press hard on a stage that meant so little:


  • Portman 1.26
  • Rowney 2.40
  • Dunkerton 2.54
  • Ferguson (Bell) 3.03
  • Brock 3.08
  • Mehta (Aaltonen) 3.11
  • Fury 3.20
  • Johnson 4.10
  • Bond 4.13
  • Cowan 4.15
  • Mason 4.26
  • Ohta 4.30
  • Nalder 4.46
  • Loader 4.59
  • Beveridge 5.41
  • Herrmann 5.42
  • Neilson 5.44
  • Davis 5.45
  • Myers 6.18
  • Lund 6.21
  • Barth 6.27
  • Jensen 6.42
  • Faulkner 6.50
  • Wilson 6.52
  • Glennie 6.53
  • Giddings 7.00
  • Potter 7.07
  • Easton, Murray 7.08
  • Roggenkamp 7.10
  • Roberts 7.16
  • Hurrey 7.18
  • McCubbin 7.20
  • O’Donnell 7.30
  • Watson 7.43
  • Meehan 7.55
  • Mizel 8.01
  • Bolch 8.25
  • Sawyer 8.44
  • Stewart 8.46
  • Turner 8.54
  • Miettunen 8.56
  • Herdy 9.00
  • Syanley 9.04
  • Stockley 9.10
  • Hilton 9.12
  • Moloney 9.30
  • Travis, Boys 9.40
  • Koseki 9.44
  • Clarke 10.07
  • Lockhart, Finlay 10.22
  • Carr 10.33
  • Lloyd 10.35
  • Penny 10.50
  • Birrell 10.54
  • Ingerson 11.12
  • Boaden 11.37
  • Tattingham, Caudle 11.57

S27 – Perth Transport

208.8 km in 3h 02m First Car ETA 2.45 am Thursday, Delayed to 4.25 pm

The run into Perth had adequate time allowed, unlike the end of the previous division into Adelaide. A few crews lost time on the way into Perth, presumably as a result of car problems, although fatigue was also a possible factor. Herrmann dropped 7 and the Jackson Commodore was obviously carrying a problem dropping 41 minutes. The impound was at the Gloucester Park trotting track where the first car arrived around 5 pm as daylight was starting to fade. The first car would be due out of impound on Friday morning at 3 am, so after dinner and cleaning up, even the leading crews only got about 6 hours sleep. Given the unscheduled “hold” at Immarna, it’s difficult to determine when the last car would have arrived on the edge of their late time, but it was likely well after midnight, and may have even been after the first car departed next morning! The back-markers probably only got a couple of hours break and perhaps no sleep at all.

Division Results

By Perth the number of cars that had completed the entire course dropped to 26.

Scores were as follows (division then total):

  1. Bond/Riley/Dawson-Damer (Cortina) 47.13/53.36
  2. Ferguson/Bell/Boddy (Commodore) 58.03/1.03.21
  3. Brock/Philip/Richards(Commodore) 1.12.08/1.15.53
  4. Carr/Morrow/Gocentas (Cortina) 1.27.33/1.45.17
  5. Fury/Bonhomme/Suffern (Cortina) 1.40.20/2.04.35
  6. Johnson/Vanderbyl (Volvo 242) 1.51.10/2.05.10
  7. Cowan/Reddiex/Beaumont (Citroen CX) 1.55.15/2.23.18
  8. Portman/Thompson/Hammond (Stanza) 2.32.26/2.35.19
  9. Mehta/Aaltonen/Lake (Commodore) 2.56.11/3.04.23
  10. Rowney/Wilson/Tyson (Datsun 180B) 3.00.40/3.18.39
  11. Dunkerton/McKay/Jones (Volvo 244) 2.58.54/3.20.41
  12. Mason/Hicks/Horley (Commodore) 4.10.26/4.46.39
  13. Nalder/Richards/Boyd (Celica) 4.50.46/5.16.24
  14. Loader/Hill/Neale (Lancer) 4.35.59/5.39.37
  15. Davis/Eather/Toner (Datsun 180B) 4.20.45/5.42.39
  16. Barth/Kushmaul (Porsche 924) 5.29.27/6.06.35 (Results erroneously show 5.49.27 for the division)
  17. Stewart/Parry (Commodore) 6.00.46/6.19.14
  18. Watson/Harrowfield (Peugeot 504 Diesel) 5.02.43/6.31.32 (Results erroneously show 5.38.43 for the division)
  19. Herrmann/Rainsford (Porsche 911) 5.31.42/6.43.55
  20. Roberts/Waterson/Carrol (Commodore) 4.55.16/6.56.24
  21. Hilton/Bourke/Pattenden (Celica) 6.12.12/7.14.19
  22. Jackson/West/Jackson (Commodore) 6.44.02/8.26.59
  23. Lund/Elliott (Mazda RX7) 6.44.21/8.55.17
  24. Mizel/Hall/Fricker/Mortimer (Chevy Blazer) 6.27.01/9.00.59
  25. McCubbin/Kelly/Guyatt (Monaro GTS) 8.37.20/9.49.05
  26. Warmbold/Willemsen/Schleuter (Audi 100SE) 9:24:00/9.58.15

Additionally Giddings/Jones/Seaman (Datsun 200B) had placed 25th on the division with a loss of 8.26.00 but had missed 6 controls on the first division. The significant errors in the arithmetic for Barth and Watson would ultimately persist into the final results and would adversely affect the final results.

The final 13 cars that completed the course were placed 3rd, 2nd, 9th, 11th, 4th, 13th, 14th, 19th, 16th, 15th, 18th, 24th, 22nd.

From the Canberra Times

130 cars were classified as reaching Perth within late time although Saville/Fyvie/Harris (Peugeot 504) were not shown in the official results but were mentioned in Tuckey’s book. The 104 cars that had missed controls to Perth are shown below. The times are not shown as it was always somewhat academic to compare the time losses of those who may have missed different stages!

  • Missed 2 controls:
    Clarke/Davis/Burge (Datsun 180B)
    Penny/Kennard/Brown (LH Torana)
    Jensen/Johnson/Wellington (Volvo 242)
    Faulkner/de Vaus/Bateson (Peugeot 504)
    Murray (‘Gelignite’ Jack)/D’Albora/Murray (Commodore)
  • Missed 3 controls:
    Beveridge/Heaney/Jarman (Volvo 244)
    Moloney/Vitnel/Daley (Leyland P76)
    Koseki/Takaoka (Subaru Leone)
    Finlay/Sullivan/McLeod (Commodore)
    Birrell/Smith/Nixon (Renault 16TS)
  • Missed 4 controls:
    Glennie/Shaw/Amos (Stanza)
    Lockhart/Dunstan/Finlayson (Commodore)
    Tattingham/Geue/Kemp (EH Holden)
  • Missed 5 controls:
    Sawyer/Halliday/Mortimer (XD Falcon)
    Potter/Bain (Mazda RX3)
    Hurrey/Geddes (Celica)
    Miettunen/Morgan/Suominen (Volvo 244)
  • Missed 6 controls:
    Giddings/Jones/Seaman (Datsun 200B)
  • Missed 7 controls:
    Wilson/Baker/Freeze (Mercedes 280S)
    Lloyd/Crockenberg/Dick (Colt)
    Goldsborough/Flanagan/Ground (Commodore)
  • Missed 8 controls:
    Lahiff/Beath/Clarke (HR Holden)
    Sheridan/Reid (Datsun 1600)
    Foden/Baker/Young (Leyland P76)
  • Missed 9 controls:
    Ingerson/Wilson/MacCulloch (Peugeot 404)
    Turner/Donohue/Sparrow (Leyland P76)
  • Missed 10 controls:
    O’Donnell/Geissler/Gibson (LX Torana)
    McDiarmid/Phegan/Travis (Datsun 180B SSS)
    Enter/Enter (Galant)
    Stanley (Trevor)/Harrison (Volvo 244)
    Caudle/Drew/Elsden (Datsun 1600)
  • Missed 11 Controls:
    Boys/Vonthien (Ford F100)
  • Missed 12 controls:
    Nicholson/Crawford (Lancer
    Pittaway/Boston (XY Ford Ute)
    Taylor/Hunt (Rover 3500)
    Quill/Quill/Ellis (Commodore)
    Walsh/Whitby/Wunderlich (Ford ‘Grey Ghost’)
    Corr/McKimmie/Johansson (Saab)
  • Missed 13 controls:
    Boaden/Pritchard/Atkin (Mazda RX4)
    Ellis/Wall (Datsun 120Y)
    Kuss/Wraight/Knight (Escort)
    Kipling/Potticary (Holden HJ Ute)
    Wallis/Cochrane/Davies (Peugeot 404)
    Colless/Johnston/McCoy (Datsun 1600)
    Lance/Craft/Robinson (Commodore)
    Feizaks/Molan (Citroen D)
  • Missed 14 controls:
    Tholstrup/Perry (Chevvy Pickup)
    Craig/Wansborough (Mini Cooper S)
    Heaton/Shepherd/Mann (HJ Holden Panel Van)
    Minett/Chapple/Watson (Datsun 1600)
  • Missed 15 controls:
    Herdy/O’Kane/Gramenz (Peugeot 504)
    Neilson/Stewart/Tyre (HQ Holden)
    Easton/Rayner/Bell (Datson 1600)
    Bray/McMahon/Smith (Valiant Charger 770)
    Jones/Jones/Webber (Riley)
  • Missed 16 controls:
    Hayden/Phillis/Hogan (Mazda RX2)
    Bell/Vaughan (Peugeot 203)
    Walker/McCann (Renault 12)
    Caddey/Mulach/Hanrahan (Fairmont)
    Richardson/Daniel/Fullerton (XD Falcon)
    Farmer/Farmer/Fraser (Leyland P76)
    Meehan/Gifford/Gardiner (Monaro GTS)
  • Missed 17 controls:
    Feizaks/Molan (Citroen D)
    Glover/Burke/Hather (VW)
  • Missed 18 controls:
    Kahler/Partridge/Simeon (Mazda RX4)
    Donoghue/Logan/Grace (Celica)
  • Missed 19 controls:
    O’Shanesy/Dean/O’Shanesy (Fiat 131)
    Moore/Sethna (VW Beetle)
  • Missed 20 controls:
    Darby/Clark/Stewart (HR Holden)
    Myers/Myers/Sinfield (Peugeot 504)
    Suth/Gros/Suth (VW)
  • Missed 21 controls:
    Ohta/Ohnuma/Kabayashi (Toyota TE61 Coupe)
  • Missed 22 controls:
    Cafe/Gurney/Dawson (Mazda RX4)
    Cleaves/Stone (Mini Moke)
    Spanbroek/Compton/Plywright (Datsun 240K)
  • Missed 23 controls:
    Ferrier/Smith (Honda Civic)
    Stockley/O’Neill (Porsche 911E)
    Gough/Hutton/Bishop (LJ Torana)
  • Missed 24 controls:
    Johnson/Marsh (Mazda R100)
    Clyborne/Hayes (Ford Pickup)
    Reinders/Lewis (FJ Holden)
  • Missed 25 controls:
    Saville/Fyvie/Harris (Peugeot 504)
    Hargrave/Hutton/Trinks (Torana)
    Bolch/Keane/Owen (Monaro HJ GTS)
    Garner/Madden/Corban (Torana)
    Fullagher/Fullagher/Fullagher/Fullagher (Monaro GTS)
    Roggenkamp/Adair/Eakin (Escort)
    Mitchell/Rowe/York (Cortina Mk2)
  • Missed 26 controls:
    Koch/Darling/Koch (Commodore)
    McArthur/McArthur/McArthur (XY Falcon)
  • Missed 27 controls:
    Bird/McKinnon (Corolla)
    Sparkes/Clayton (Ford Fairmont)
    Cuthell/Harris (XU1 Torana)
  • Missed 28 controls:
    Rayner/Campbell/Loader (HT Holden)
    Webster/Jolly/McIntyre (FJ Holden)
  • Missed 29 controls:
    Barnes/Smith (Hillman Hunter)
  • Missed 31 controls:
    Cleworth/Comley/Ballestrin (Mini GT)
  • Missed 33 controls:
    Lunney/Tyler/Tyler (Peugeot 504)
    Hall/Smith/Lott (Escort)
  • Missed 34 controls:
    Bryson/Cable-Cumming (Escort)
  • Missed 36 controls:
    Duyveston/Kirk/Comley (EH Holden)
  • Missed 38 controls:
    Haslam/Bing (Ford Sedan)
    McTigue/Sheridan/Wilson (HQ Holden Panel Van)
  • Missed 39 controls:
    Parsons/Parsons (Mazda 323)

There were 32 retirements between Adelaide and Perth, or at Perth, as shown below. Several of these were shown as reaching Perth (and are also shown above) but did not start Dvision W:

  • Behret/Schmidt/Schmidt (Audi 100SE) – hit kangaroo on South Flinders Range stage
  • Madgwick/Hanna (Ford F100) – hit roo, also in Flinders Ranges?
  • Harris/Ross/Boyd (Citroen CX) – hit roo and rolled, also in Flinders Ranges?
  • Moore/Delmont/McCarthur (Leyland P76) – broke suspension, possibly before Broken Hill
  • Murray (Jack ‘Milko’)/Myers (Peugeot 504) – broke suspension, possibly before Broken Hill
  • Hunt/Barnes/Hayes (Datsun 180B)- broke suspension, possibly before Broken Hill
  • Larkin/Conner/Larkin (EH Holden) – broke suspension, possibly before Broken Hill
  • Coleman/Boot (Honda Civic) – broke suspension, possibly before Broken Hill
  • Tucker/Maidment/Finch (LH Torana) – retired, possibly at or before Broken Hill, reason unknown
  • Mills/McDonald/McCulloch (EH Holden) – out of late time at Broken Hill
  • Barkell/Breese (Escort) – retired in Broken Hill
  • Taylor/McCulloch/Taylor(Peugeot 504) – out of late time still in SA
  • Perkins/Perkins (VW Beetle)- Rolled on Blinman stage
  • Carter/Stephens/Draper (XC Falcon) – exceeded late time limit around Marree but continued under protest
  • Bennett/Gleeson/Ogilvie (EH Holden) – faded after Kingoonya, reason unknown
  • Stevenson/Eassie/Lincoln (Austin 1800) – out of late time still in SA
  • White/Austin/Hogarth (Mazda Coupe) – out of late time still in SA
  • Leighton/Mason/Cohn (Datsun 1600) – blew engine, SA?
  • Phillips/Drew/Prentice (XD Falcon) – retired on/at Nullarbor, reason unknown
  • Cleaves/Stone (Mini Moke) – out of late time at Perth, supposedly retired at Nullarbor
  • Gawler/Gawler (Celica) – reportedly ran out of funds at Eucla
  • Kurnuszko/Lillie/Jones (Commodore) – blew clutch in WA
  • Fritter/Kelly/Fritter (Datson 1600) – Retired after Cocklebiddy
  • Hodgson/Houghton/Mitchell (Falcon) – broke rear end out of Cocklebiddy
  • Sutton/Williams/Brock (Datsun 1600) – broke engine before Kalgoorlie
  • Bolton/Ebzery (Dodge Kingsway) – broken timing chain, before Perth?
  • Kaitler/Kay/Harper (Datsun 1600) – broke piston, unclear where
  • Stanley (Eric)/Manning/Burr (VW) – retired on division, reason and location not known
  • Hedderwick/Forsyth (Renault 16TS) – retired on division, reason and location not known
  • Ohta/Ohnuma/Kabayashi (Toyota TE61 Coupe) – out of late time at Perth
  • Enter/Enter (Galant) – out of late time at Perth after encountering problems near Cocklebiddy
  • Barnes/Smith (Hillman Hunter) – out of late time at Perth