2024 Tour of 1987 High Country Trial

The Tour of the 1987 High Country Trial, organised by the Historic Rally Association, was held between 3 and 5 May.

The 1987 HCT was the third in Ross Runnalls’ suite of endurance adventures that visit areas rarely used by car rallies. Again participants in the tour enjoyed the magnificent country utilising beautiful Autumn daylight.

The Rallypedia entry for the 1987 High Country Trial George Derrick Memorial Trial can be found here.

Again, 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.

Google Maps Plot

Day 1 – Wangaratta to Omeo

In 1987 the event started at 11pm on the Friday night, allowing crews to knock off work and easily make the drive to the North East. The tour commenced at a far more respectable 9am. Our Day 1 followed the 1987 route closely, with a couple of allowances for short lengths of tracks that either no longer exist or are in very poor condition.

The Day 1 highlight arguably was the tour of the third 1987 competitive, the run from Cobungra just past Mt Hotham on the high plains. Snow gums and button grass plains along the Victoria River Track turning into Dinner Plain Track were the order of the day.

The official event dinner was enjoyed at the iconic Golden Age Hotel in Omeo.

Day 1 involved the same sections as the 1987 Division 1.

Day 2 – Omeo to Corrying

This day incorporated the all daylight 1987 Division 2 as well as the first few Division 3 sections.

There were numerous highlights. First up was the exploration of the old alignment of the Great Alpine highway which in ’87 involved 11.55km weaving in and out of the gullies and spurs of the hills above the current highway. Prior to 1987 the section was last used in the 1975 Alpine.

The next section was the very photogenic run along Windy Ridge into Jacobs Meadow Road. Then we had the equally spectacular country leading up to Benambra. Not to forget the 120km across the ranges to the day end at Corryong.

Day 3 – Corrying to Tarrawingee

By including the earlier Div 3 sections into the otherwise relatively short Div 2, Day 3 involved a shorter route allowing those who needed to travel plenty of time to head homeward.

Highlights were undoubtedly the 47km super smooth run south from Koetong to Cravensville.

The final 40km section though Stanley finishing at Flagstaff was unrelenting with tight, easy to overshoot turns, even for a non-competitive tour.

Gate into Jacobs Meadow Road (Geoff Byron)
Gate into Jacobs Meadow Road (Geoff Byron)
Day 1 Above Bright (Gerry Bashford)
Day 1 Above Bright (Gerry Bashford)
Hinno Bingo (Graham Wallis)
Hinno Bingo (Graham Wallis)
Omeo Dinner (Gerry Bashford)
Omeo Dinner (Gerry Bashford)

Entry list

Car No.CrewVehicle
00Geoff Byron & Peter McEwanToyota Prado
0Ross & Chris Runnalls Mitsubishi Pajero
SweepTom & Fran KaitlerLand Rover
1Rick & Pauline HartmannMitsubishi Pajero
2Chris& Anne-Marie PowerHyundai Santa Fe
3Graham & Liz Wallis Peugeot 505
4David & Kate Officer Isuzu MUX
5David McKenzie, John Birrell & David GibbsPorsche Macan
6Ian & Val Swan Mitsubishi Pajero
7Peter Ellis & Peter FultonIsuzu MUX
8Paul Eccles & Robin Smalley Ford Everest
10Graham Thompson & Winton BrocklebankHolden Jackaroo
11Alan Chambers & Chris MitchellMercedes
12Steuart Snooks & Ian EllisSubaru Forester
13Angelo Curic & Gerry BashfordToyota Prado
14Richard Mason & Robert WilsonMitsubishi Outlander
15Keith Winter & Peter MaurerNissan X-Trail
16Alan Upton & Mark LaidlayMitsubishi Pajero
17Barry Johnston & Graeme VauxMitsubishi Pajero
18Gary Gibbons & Steve TrewinFord Ranger
19Drew Valentine & Paul HedeRenault Koleos
The following tourists were also competitors in the original HCT in 1987:
Dick Mason and Rob Wilson, the only still intact crew); Dinta and Kate Officer; this time without navigator David McKenzie who joined the Tour in his own car, Peter Fulton and Geoff Byron. Tom Kaitler, Ross and Chris Runnalls were officials on both events.


Photo Gallery

Other event documents