2023 Tour of the 1984 George Derrick Memorial Trial

The Tour of the 1984 Derrick, organised by the HRA, was held on 17, 18 and 19 March. It was run as a non-competitive social tour.

The 1984 event continued Ross Runnalls’ theme of presenting long distance endurance events that visit areas rarely used by car rallies. Inevitably the country was stunning and the roads great to drive.

In 1984 much of that magnificent country was visited at night and even on the daytime stages, pausing to take in the views was contrary to the competition.

The Rallypedia entry for the 1984 George Derrick Memorial Trial can be found here.

This tour started at respectable times each day and traveled at speeds that allowed enjoyment of the roads whilst pausing to take in views and points of interest. The other important element was to get to the overnight stops to allow socialising and an all-important event dinner.

Google Maps Plot of Route

Day 1 – Traralgon to  Newmerella

A lovely autumn morning greeted our tourists in Traralgon for a respectable 9am in contrast to the 11pm start of 1984.

Our Day 1 was able to include all of the ’84 Division 1 sections, albeit some needed to be modified a little due to the elimination of some roads and bridges not replaced after fire or floods over the previous 39 years.

The first sections initially skirted the edge of the Loy Yang power station before moving onto 80 kms of pine plantation sandy tracks heading toward Sale.

Some touring sections lead to two sections in the hills north of Nowa Nowa, which feature in the Alpine in recent years.

Day 2 – Newmerella  to Bombala

Division 2 of the 1984 event was an all daylight blast on some very nice roads heading further east that back in the day did not see rally competition, although again the Alpine had ventured there in recent years. Unfortunately there were three 1984 sections we could not run at due to inaccessibility.

The 38km Mount Cann section from near Bemm River NE to the Princes Highway was a highlight.

The loss of 1984 sections meant a short day with few accommodation options so two Div 3 sections were added in, the second at Nalbaugh in NSW,  to allow a night in Bombala.

The  event dinner was had at the Imperial Hotel Bombala. See photo gallery below.

Day 3 – Bombala to Marlo

The 80km run through the Bondi Forest pine complex was long and hard in 1984. It had rained and staying on the road was one challenge and the tight plantation roads added to that. Jumping forward to 2023 there have been many alterations to the tracks, largely due to modern harvesting practices.  The main roads are wide and fast, with most of the small tracks either gone or not maintained.  So the tourists were treated to a generous sample of Bondi and many lamented the loss of access to pine plantations in Victoria.

We then transported through Delegate before crossing the border back into Victoria.

Then followed the 28 km of magnificent roads of Cottonwood Ridge, with a 750m transport leading into the marathon 78 km iconic Errinundra Plateau section. We paused mid-section for Ross to host a walk along the Errinundra Old Growth Forest Walk

A short (at only 17km) pleasant section outside Orbost completed the Tour, with some returning home and others to Marlo to celebrate the achievements.

Participant list

David & Kate OfficerPajero
David McKenzie, John Birrell & David GibbsMacan
James Riddell & David SheridanRanger
Kim Harper & Steuart Snooks D-Max
Bruce Wilson & Peter FraserTriton
Matt Philip & Gerry BashfordNissan Skyline
Alan Hall & Ross KellyLand Cruiser
Rick & Pauline HartmannPajero
Chris Lee & Tim KennonHolden
Peter Maurer & Keith WinterX-Trail
Mark & Melissa LaidlayPajero Sport
Ronald Heaver & Robin SmalleyHiLux
John Rawson & Simon BrownStanza
Alan Chambers & Mike NeilMercedes 300SE
Ross & Chris RunnallPajero
Graham Wallis & Liz WallisPeugeot 505
Robert Wilson & Steven Kaitler – officialsColorado
Tom & Fran Kaitler – offcialsLand Rover
Geoff Byron – officialsPrado


Photo Galleries

Other event documents