Re-live the action from 1961
Year in review
1961 was the first year in which a state championship was held. Known as the Victorian Trials Championship, the first winning driver was Geoff Russell in a VW 1200. Russell and navigator Wally Walsh won both the Experts Trial and the Alpine Trial. However, the first navigator title went to Martin Hartigan, principally navigating for Bob Foreman, together with whom he won the BP Rally.
Both the BP Rally and Alpine Trial were rounds of the VTC.
The BP Rally of South Eastern Australia was conducted from 4-7 May, starting in Bendigo and finishing at the St Kilda foreshore. The winners were Bob Foreman and his two navigators, Martin and Bill Hartigan in a VW. For more detail on the event, go to Ross Runnalls’ compilation of BP Rally history.
We are fortunate to have some audio records of the BP rallies from the late 50s and early 60s. Listen to interviews conducted at the event finish by Lox McGrath of radio 3AW by selecting the link on the right side of this page. Go to our Audio page for interviews from other years.
The 1961 Alpine Trial was won by Geoff Russell and Wally Walsh in a Peugeot 403.
Victorian Trials Championship
The inaugural VTC comprised seven events: the BP Rally, Hamilton All Night Trial, Experts, Otway, Cec Warren Memorial, Two Day and Alpine.
Champion driver: Geoff Russell, VW1200
Champion navigator: Martin Hartigan (with Bob Foreman)
For more details, including event results and points tables, go to the 1961 VTC page.
Other Open Events
A number of clubs ran open events that were not part of the newly established Victorian Trials Championship. These included the following:
In April the Victorian Sporting Car Club conducted their annual Blue Ribbon Trial.
June saw the second running of the Akademos, conducted by the Melbourne University Car Club.
The Car Club of RMIT ran their third George Derrick Memorial Trial at the start of July.
The Victorian Amateur Drivers Club ran their open Winter Trial at the end of July.
The Western District Car Club ran their Cooper Memorial Trial in November.
Many clubs ran closed trials but we have very few details. Here are some that we know of.
The Melbourne University Car Club ran three closed trials, beginning with the Commencement Rally incorporating the Farago Trial, then the Presidents Trial and finally the Recovery Trial at the end of the year.
The Car Club of RMIT certainly conducted their annual Autumn Midnight Trial, and may have also run a Novice Trial and the Presidents Trial, but we have no details of those two events.
The Police Motor Sports Club conducted their Police Club Trial in August.
The Rally Calendar for this year:
Certainly not complete!
|5 Feb||Summer Trial||VSCC||Open|
|18 Feb||Groll Trial||VWCC||Open|
|5 Mar||Cords Rings Trial||AMSC||Open|
|12 Mar||Begonia Rally||LCCA (Ballarat)||Open|
|26 Mar||Ladies Trial||LCCA||Restricted|
|8 Apr||Easter Rally||LCCBEN||Open|
|16 Apr||Commencement Rally/ Farago Trial||MUCC||Club|
|23 Apr||Blue Ribbon Trial||VSCC||Open|
|4-7 May||BP Rally||LCCA||VTC-1|
|13 May||Presidents Trial||MUCC||Club|
|27 May||Autumn Midnight Trial||CCRMIT||Closed|
|3 Jun||All Night Trail||HDCC||VTC-2|
|2 Jul||George Derrick Memorial Trial||CCRMIT||Open|
|8 Jul||Experts Trial||LCCA||VTC-3|
|9 Jul||Marriott Motors Trial||SMCV||Open|
|22 Jul||Otway Trial||WDCC||VTC-4|
|30 Jul||Winter Trial||VADC||Open|
|5 Aug||Police Club Trial||PMSC||Club|
|12 Aug||Cec. Warren Trial||AMSC||VTC-5|
|13 Aug||Park Orchards Trial||A7C||Restricted|
|9 Sep||Night Rally||WDCC||Open|
|16 Sep||Shell Two Day Trial||VADC||VTC-6|
|15 Oct||Adam and Eve Trial||VSCC||Restricted|
|25 Nov||Cooper Memorial Trial||WDCC||Open|
|2 Dec||Alpine Trial||LCCA||VTC-7|
|2 Dec||Recovery Trial||MUCC||Club|