2019 Tour of the 1981 George Derrick Memorial Trial
At midnight on Friday 8 August 1981, Ross Runnalls on behalf of the CCRMIT 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 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 was called off at Murrayville, possibly by crew mutiny, after two divisions and 800km. It was one of those events that became even more enjoyable over the years and eventually achieved legendary status.
In 2019, the HRA with Ross’ cooperation and participation and with the agreement of the CCRMIT, took on the task of creating a tour to revisit that legend. The route for the 2019 tour followed as closely as was possible the original, as it ran.
The Rallypedia entry for the 1981 George Derrick Memorial Trial may be found here.
Rod Martin’s XU-1 surveying the limits of 2WDs in the infamous Wail State Forest July 2019.
When the George Derrick Memorial Trial ran in 1981, this bridge was adjacent to the start of the second competitive and actually in service. The “new” bridge was commissioned in 1982.
Socialising again, this time at the end of Division 2 in the Mallee Fowl Hotel, Murrayville.
As part of his report on the 1981 George Derrick Memorial Trial (see entry for the 1981 event), Stuart Lister spoke with fondness of the star picket he and Bill Bennett carried to use as an anchor for winching out of sand. The star picket saw action in the Dattuck dunes where Bennett/Lister were bogged more than once. Our 2019 Tour pop-up cafe man Craig Rooke set up camp under a tree and what should he discover: The Star Picket. Mr Lister later denied that this was the 1981 star picket.
The Entry List:
|1||Rick Hartmann||Pauline Duke||Mitsubishi||Pajero|
|2||Bob Watson||Jenny Watson||Holden||Adventra|
|3||Tom Kaitler||Fran Kaitler||Great Wall||X240|
|4||Doug Norman||Tim Shepherd||Mitsubishi||Pajero|
|5||Kate Officer||Ro Nixon||Mitsubishi||Pajero|
|6||Tony Ahearne||Laurie Garth||Peugeot||505 Gti|
|7||Brian Canny||Matt Hosking||Land Rover||Disco 4|
|8||Dave Smith||Steve Farrar||Subaru||Outback|
|9||Bruce Wilson||Peter Fraser||Mitsubishi||Triton|
|10||Paul Eccles||Robin Smalley||Ford||Everest|
|11||David McKenzie||John Birrell||David Gibbs||Porsche||Macan|
|12||Alan Hall||Laurie Pelech||Ross Kelly||Toyota||Landcruiser|
|13||Ross Runnalls||Chris Runnalls||Subaru||Forester|
|14||Kim Harper||Steuart Snooks||Isuzu||Ute|
|15||Barry Farrnell||Phill Gallagher||Jeep||Cherokee|
|16||Greg Park||Brian Ward||Richard Davies||Isuzu||D-Max|
|17||Angelo Curic||Gerry Bashford||Toyota||Prado|
|18||Alan Upton||Mark Laidlay||Mitsubishi||Pajero|
|Sweep||Geoff Portman||Lisa Portman|
|Pop-up Cafe||Craig Rooke|