1979 Sunrise Rally

The Sunrise Rally was held on 9 June. Jeff Beaumont tells the story:

Victorian Clubman Series Round 4 – 1979 PIARC Sunrise Rally

Chris Randall / Ray Scott won the PIARC Sunrise Rally and hit the front in the battle for this year’s Clubman Championship.

Trevor Woods directed an excellent event on behalf of the PIARC. Attracting 29 starters, the rally started at Yinnar and ran through the Strzelecki State Forest area.

Unable to get his car running at the start, Laurie Mitchell lost considerable time replacing his fuel pump and finally got going at the rear of the field.

The transport from the start took crews down to the competitive start at junction of Morwell River and Prosper Valley Road. Chris Randall was quickest on the 39 km stage, down just one point and stamping his authority on the event, with a lead he didn’t lose. A bunch of competitive crews were just a minute behind.

A feature of this event was prizemoney being offered on every competitive stage. It certainly made the pace very intense at the front, with the route heading down the Grand Ridge Road, then through Gemmill Hill and Binns Hill Junctions.

Bruce Keys / Dick Denvil were disappointed to lose their rear brakes, seriously slowing their progress.

Kyran Meldrum / Tony Porritt had water pump problems in their Datsun 1600 and Dennis Billings / Steve Ellis flipped their car on the same stage.

A navigation challenge faced the crews on the run towards Jeeralang North, where an unmapped road incorrectly attracted a bunch of crews. Greg Lee with wife Marlene navigating got it correct, to score the best time, with Brian Melbourne / Peter Cullis just a minute behind.

A welcome break followed at Yinnar, with a shuffled running order, with the final placegetters heading the field.

After their earlier problems, Laurie Mitchell / Ian Sichlau finally ended their run when they stopped to check a noise from their engine, A soft road edge gave way and they seriously bogged their 240Z Cortina.

A 16 km run up Morwell River Road saw Randall quickest again. Then it was Brian Melbourne’s turn with quickest run on the next competitive.

Final stages ran down Morwell River Road and Dingo Creek Road to control at Proctors. After the final transport, the last competitive ended at Budgaree East.

Randall and Scott in action on the Derrick


1Chris RandallRay ScottDatsun 160033
2Greg LeeMarlene LeeDatsun 160036
3Brian MelbournePeter CullisFord Escort40
4John AdamsAlex McCoshLancer42
5Ross PowerPaul HoffrichterDatsun 160043
6John BennettJerry JustusDatsun 160045