1981 George Derrick Memorial Trial

The 1981 George Derrick Memorial Trial was held on 8th and 9th August. 

VTS Round 6 – 1981 CCRMIT  George Derrick Memorial Trial

At midnight on Friday 8 August 1981, Ross Runnalls  sent 42 crews off from Horsham to embark on the adventure through Victoria’s Wimmera and Mallee that was the 1981 George Derrick Memorial Trial.

The area had enjoyed 40mm of rain during the past week and that topped up a wet July.

The tone was set in the first competitive in the Wail Forest where the field was bogged and most crews scored minutes lost in numbers that most Australian batters would have been happy to achieve on Boxing Day.

Over the next 20 or so hours the crews experienced everything: desert country, forests, sand dunes, grasslands, lake beds (both dry and wet), superb landscapes and essential team work.

The event concluded at Murrayville. This was one division short of the plan, possibly by crew mutiny, after two divisions and 800km. The final planned division was to re-cross a very soggy Sunset Country from west to east, but that was not to be.

It was one of those events for which recollections improved over the years (not for all) and eventually achieved legendary status.

There were many stories to come out of the event, some published immediately, others later. Scroll down to read the first hand accounts.

Before doing that though, here is the Director’s own account.

The very bogged Galant of Martin/Martin/Byron alongside the stuck Civic of McKenzie/Birrell in the Timberoo Forest. Pic: Megan Martin
Davies, Williamson, Huntley 404 on Raak Plain in 1981.
The 404 of Davies Williamson Huntley taking a photo opportunity on Raak Plain.

Peter de Vaus displaying cross-crew cooperation by hosing down Richard Williamson. Pic: Richard Davies

The Peugeot 403 of Dave Cochrane and Nick Wright under tow and in need of a wash. Pic: Richard Davies

The Martin/Martin/Byron bogged again (still)! Pic: Megan Martin

More photos here including Richard Davies photo-essay account of the event from the perspective of Car 52.

In 2019 a social tour was conducted by the HRA that revisited most of the 1981 route. You can find a link to that event here.

Results and entry list


11Chris Wall Barry CollinsDatsunB
21Michael EllisJim MaudeDatsun 1600I
31Garry Harrowfield Geoff BoydDatsun 1600E
41David Jones Noel RichardsLancerG
51Bill Bennett Stuart ListerGalantD
61Gary Grealy Tony BestDatsun 1600J
71Ian Boyd Trevor BoydDatsun 1600K
81Chris Brown Simon BrownDatsun 180BC
91Phil Pittway Jim CaudleFord XY CiteL
101Mal Hall Kevin Attwood A LottFord EscortM
111Janiene Kilfoyle Warwick SmithLancerN
121Peter Ellis Ian EllisDatsun 1600H
162David McKenzie John BirrellHonda CivicH
172Peter de Vaus Graham WallisPeugeot 404F
182Bill Johnston Chris ManiatakisMazda Rx4D
202Denis Holley Gerard ByrneDatsun 1600J
212Graham Trounce Max SharrockDatsun 1600B
222John Coleman Mike PrendergastHonda CivicK
232David Officer Steve EllisGalantM
242Peter Gale Ron HarperDatsun 1600N
252Tom Seymour David HodgeCortinaE
272Steve Ashton Ro NixonDatsun 1600C
282Michael Welsh Chris RandellDatsun 1600G
303Robert Knight Phil WylieDatsun 1600D
313Richard Roche Kevin LoveLancerG
323Peter Dutton Ronn JayCitroenK
333Stanley Newman Rick Clough Robin ByrneDatsun 1600L
343Barry Farnell Phil GallagherLancerI
353Ivan Mock Sel. EllisMazda Rx2L
363Rodney Martin Megan Martin Geoff ByronGalantI
373Barry Williams James McCabeDatsun 1600J
383Adrian Kruger Bob GardenDatsunB
393John Love Max NathanDatsun 2602E
403Peter Hurrey Keith NewbyCelicaA
413Rob Hodgson Pete MignotSubaruH
423Wes Nalder William DavisCelicaA
433Dave Cochrane Nick WrightPeugeot 403F
524Richard Davies Richard Williamson Mark HuntleyPeugeot 404F
534Ian Long Laurie Jeremiah Peter McEwenDatsun 1600C
544Max Seebohm Robert Carrison Andrew PetersenDatsun 1600M
554I Attiwill K Scott A SaundersDatsun 1600N
574Roger Young Ewen McLartyCelicaA


PlaceDriverNavigatorCarPointsGrade 2Clubman
1Michael EllisJim MaudeDatsun 1600183
2Bill BennettStuart ListerGalant237
3David JonesNoel RichardsLancer260
4Gary GrealyTony BestDatsun 1600265
5David OfficerSteve EllisGalant2941
6Peter HurreyKeith NewbyCelica30421
7Barry FarnellPhil GallagherLancer30532
8Janiene KilfoyleWarwick SmithLancer683
9Rodney MartinMegan Martin / Geoff ByronGalant71743
10Bill JohnstonChris ManiatakisMazda RX47585
11Ian BoydTrevor BoydDatsun 1600779
12Graham TrounceMax SharrockDatsun 16007926
13Wes NalderWilliam DavisCelica8844
14David McKenzieJohn BirrellHonda Civic9377
15Peter DuttonRonn JayCitroen10275
16Phil PittwayJim CaudleFord1195
17Ivan MockSel EllisMazda RX212836

Detailed results

Director’s results covering letter



1. Mick Ellis / Jim Maude    Datsun 1600
2. Bill Bennet / Stuart Lister    Galant
3. Gary Grealy / TonyBest    Datsun 1600


1. David Officer /Steve Ellis    Galant
2. Bill Johnston / Chris Maniatakis    Mazda Rx4
3. Graham Trounce / Max Sharrock    Datsun 1600


1. Peter Hurrey / Keith Newby    Celica
2. Barry Farnell / Phil Gallagher    Lancer
3. Rodney Martin / Megan Martin / Geoff Byron    Galant

TEAMS AWARD : (Courtesy John Cawley and Co.) was won by the all Bendigo team of:

Mick Ellis/Jim Maude    Datsun 1600
Barry Farnell/Phil Gallagher    Lancer
Rodney Martin/Megan Martin/Geoff Byron    Galant


(i) Three person crew (Courtesy Datspares)
Rodney Martin / Megan Martin / Geoff Byron    Galant

(ii) Road Radial Tyres (Courtesy B F Goodrich Pty Ltd), bravely won by
Bill Johnston / Chris Maniatakis    Mazda Rx4

(iii) Under 1600 cc (Courtesy Mini Wreckers)
Barry Farnell / Phil Gallagher    Lancer

(iv) Lady Crew Member (Courtesy Autosport Boxhill)
Janiene Kilfoyle    Galant

(v) Standard Car (Courtesy Kudos Industrial Supplies)
Rodney Martin / Megan Martin/Geoff Byron    Galant


Peter Dutton/Ronn Jay, presumably for finishing in the diminutive front wheel drive Citroen, and to Barry Williams/Barry McCabe, who finally made it out of the desert the next morning on a tow rope behind Geoff Portman.


1981 GDMT Sections Summary


Div 1 Route Instructions

Div 2 Route Instructions

Wet weather route instructions. Whilst these wet weather instructions were issued, not all were enacted. Further, wet weather instructions were issued at the start of the first competitive in Wail, although no record remains of them.


Google Maps plot

Note: 2-09 Wymlet, 2-10 Trinita and  2-15 Boinka were three great sections that did not run in 1981 due to the wet. They were however part of the 2019 HRA Tour of the 1981 Derrick. You can see the  full set of Tour maps here.


Other event documents