The Begonia Stages, conducted by the Ballarat Light Car Club, was held on 1 March. Heads of the organising team were Geoff Boyd, Ross Runnalls and Ian McKenzie.
BLCC Begonia Stages to flying Bell
The event lead the trend towards events being timed to the second and continued catering to competitors in 1980 with prizemoney for both outright placings and individual special stage wins.
In a commanding performance, Hugh Bell and Damian O’Reilly won the event by a margin of over 6 minutes. They also won all but four of the event’s 38 stages.
As if to reinforce the margin of Bell’s victory, second to seventh place were separated by little more than two minutes. Bell’s only serious challenger was Geoff Portman who won three stages but struck problems mid-event, eventually finishing ninth.