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.

Major Events

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. 

Kevin Lott and Frank Kilfoyle in the 1961 BP Rally

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.

Closed Events

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 FebSummer TrialVSCCOpen
18 FebGroll TrialVWCCOpen
5 MarCords Rings TrialAMSCOpen
12 MarBegonia RallyLCCA (Ballarat)Open
26 MarLadies TrialLCCARestricted
8 AprEaster RallyLCCBENOpen
16 AprCommencement Rally/ Farago TrialMUCCClub
23 AprBlue Ribbon TrialVSCCOpen
4-7 MayBP RallyLCCAVTC-1
13 MayPresidents TrialMUCCClub
27 MayAutumn Midnight TrialCCRMITClosed
3 JunAll Night TrailHDCCVTC-2
25 JunAkademosMUCCOpen
2 JulGeorge Derrick Memorial TrialCCRMITOpen
8 JulExperts TrialLCCAVTC-3
9 JulMarriott Motors TrialSMCVOpen
22 JulOtway TrialWDCCVTC-4
30 JulWinter TrialVADCOpen
5 AugPolice Club TrialPMSCClub
12 AugCec. Warren TrialAMSCVTC-5
13 AugPark Orchards TrialA7CRestricted
9 SepNight RallyWDCCOpen
16 SepShell Two Day TrialVADCVTC-6
15 OctAdam and Eve TrialVSCCRestricted
25 NovCooper Memorial TrialWDCCOpen
2 DecAlpine TrialLCCAVTC-7
2 DecRecovery TrialMUCCClub