Re-live the action from 1979

Year in review


With about 100 rallies  conducted, 1979 was a busy year providing the opportunity for thousands of competitors to enjoy driving and navigating through Victoria’s forests and back roads. Six series were conducted, two “open” and four “closed” to members of particular groups of clubs.

The Victorian Rally Championship was a closely fought battle over seven events with Warwick Smith and Paul Paterson emerging victorious for a second year in succession in their Mitsubishi Lancer. The Grade 2 driver’s awards went to Mick Ellis, but the navigator’s award went to Jan Fitcher (not in the same car).

In a similarly hard fought series, Chris Randall and Ray Scott won the Victorian Clubman Series.

Two events that were previously part of the Victorian Rally Championship ran as non-championship “open” events. The Begonia Rally ran as a daylight special stage event, attracting a strong field. The long standing Experts Trial, directed by Stuart Lister, was able to return to a more traditional demanding navigational style.

The Alpine International Rally drew a strong field despite not being part of the ARC. It was won for the fourth time by Greg Carr and Fred Gocentas in their Ford Escort RS1800.

1979 also saw the Repco Reliability Trial start at the Melbourne Showgrounds on Sunday 5 August and finish back there on Sunday August 19th after a full “lap” around Australia. The seeding stage was held north of Melbourne at Tooborac and the first night’s competition in western Victoria while the final day of competition was held in the Victorian Alps.

The year ended with the first rerun of an Old BP Rally, directed by Peter Haas and won by Geoff Portman and Ross Runnalls in their Datsun Stanza.

Australian Rally Championship

Victoria hosted the first round of the 1979 Australian Rally Championship with the Akademos, based in Sale and using the extensive network of East Gippsland forest roads. The Akademos was held on 17 March and directed by George Davidson.

The Datsun Stanzas of Fury/Suffern and Dunkerton/Beaumont placed first and second. Click here to read Jeff Beaumont’s story of how the event unfolded. Dunkerton and Beaumont went on to win the 1979 Australian Rally Championship. It was Dunkerton’s fourth national title and Beaumont’s third.

Geoff Portman sideways and spetacular in the Begonia rally. (Photo: Bruce Keys)

State Series

Victorian Rally Championship

The VRC this year comprised 7 events as follows: Chadstone Chrysler Safari, Otway Trial, Mountain Rally, North Eastern Rally, George Derrick Memorial Trial, Amateur 100, Blue Ribbon Rally.

Outright Champions: Warwick Smith / Paul Paterson, Lancer

Grade 2 Driver Award: Mick Ellis, Datsun 1600
Grade 2 Navigator Award: Jan Fitcher (with Alex Fitcher, Datsun 1600)

For more details, including event results and points tables, go to the 1979 VRC page.

Victorian Clubman Series

The 1979 VCS events were the Summer Safari. Camcrusher, Midwestern, Sunrise, North Central and Zodiac.

Winners: Chris Randall / Ray Scott, Datsun 1600

For more details, including event results and points tables, go to the 1979 VCS page.

Combine 6 Rally Series

This closed series was predominantly for marque clubs – Datsun, Renault, Peugeot, Ford, Torana plus the VADC. It comprised 7 events.

  1. Woody’s Ramble
  2. Nissan Nightmoves
  3. Tee Cee Vee Buccaneer
  4. William Harvey Memorial
  5. Renault Australia Trial
  6. Datsun Debauch
  7. Spring 200 Trial

TAUCC Series

This series of closed events were for the various technical college and university car clubs.  The series was again won by CCRMIT by a single point from SCOTCC. Individual driver honours went to Steve Bartel and navigator honours to Kate Hobson (not in the same crew). There were 9 events calendared in the 1979 series, with one event cancelled due to wet weather.

  1. Summer Trial
  2. Swinburne 200
  3. Introductory Trial
  4. Autumn Midnight
  5. Bog-a-Duck Trial
  6. Lumberjacks Lament
  7. 9th Western Districts Trial
  8. Redline 200 (cancelled due to weather)
  9. Disrally

Western Region Rally Series

This series of closed events was for clubs in Geelong, Ballarat and Melton.

  1. Cooper Memorial
  2. Melton 200
  3. Rallye Renault I
  4. Winter Trial
  5. Bellarine Trial
  6. Rallye Renault II

ANZ Bank Rally Series

Another closed series of events involving a number of clubs, including the ANZ Bank Car Club, the Victorian Motorists Auto Club and the Honda Car Club.

  1. All Action No Traction
  2. Invitation Rally
  3. Honda Scamper
  4. Bank Torque Special
  5. Honda Graduation
  6. Try Your Style
  7. Kitchen Table Rally

 The Rally Calendar for this year

27 JanJohn Blair MemorialCERBClosed
27 JanRallysprintRCCGClosed
3 FebSummer TrialMUCCTAUCC-1
3 FebTee Cee VeeTCVOpen
10 FebChrysler SafariCOCCVVRC-1
17 FebShamateur ILCCAClosed
17 FebSummer SafariPCCVVCS-1
17 FebEmbee Midnight TrialPIARCClosed
17 FebSwinburne 200SCOTCCTAUCC-2
24 FebCooper MemorialWDCCWEST-1
3 MarBegonia RallyBLCCOpen
10 MarWombats JauntBCCAClosed
10 MarChallenge of ClubsDCCAClosed
10 MarMarch Novice TrialLCCBENClosed
10 MarIntroductory TrialMSCCTAUCC-3
10 MarMagic Carpet RallyRCCVOpen
10 MarWoody’s RambleVADCCOMB6-1
17 MarDustraiserM850GClosed
17 MarAkademosMUCCARC-1
24 MarAmateur TrialCCRMITClosed
24 MarMelton 200MMSCWEST-2
31 MarCamcrusherFFCCVCS-2
31 MarRoundabout TrialM850Closed
31 MarBrass Monkey TrialRCCDClosed
7 AprNissan NightmovesDCCACOMB6-2
7 AprNutcracker TrialTOCVClosed
7 AprOtway TrialWDCCVRC-2
21 AprGoldfields RallyRCCVOpen
21 AprTee Cee Vee BuccaneerTCVCOMB6-3
21 AprAll Action, No TractionVMACANZ-1
28 AprShamateur IILCCAClosed
28 AprMountain RallySCOTCCVRC-3
28 AprPresidents TrialSEACClosed
5 MayAutumn MidnightCCRMITTAUCC-4
5 MayWilliam Harvey MemorialPCCVCOMB6-4
12 MayCountry Roads RallyCRBCCClosed
12 MayMidwestern RallyLCCAVCS-3
19 MayInvitation RallyFDCCANZ-2
19 MaySundownerHDCCClosed
19 MaySeond AttemptPACClosed
26 MayNorth Eastern RallyNECCVRC-4
2 JunBog-a-Duck TrialMUCCTAUCC-5
9 JunVictoria Cross RallyCACAClosed
9 JunChallenge of Clubs TrialFFCCClosed
9 JunSunrise RallyPIARCVCS-4
16 JunSpencer Motors TrialFCCVClosed
23 JunGeorge Derrick Memorial TrialCCRMITVRC-5
23 JunWinter TrialNECCClosed
30 JunGippslander TrialGCCClosed
30 JunHonda ScamperHCCVANZ-3
7 JulAnglia MemorialFFCCClosed
7 JulLumberjacks LamentLHCSTAUCC-6
14 JulExperts TrialLCCAOpen
14 JulBorder TrialSEACClosed
21 JulDatsun Debauch (postponed)DCCAClosed
21 JulValkyrianVWCVClosed
28 JulNorth Central RallyCCCVCS-5
28 JulForest ClassicNECCClosed
5 19 AugRepco Reliability TrialASPInternational
11 AugShamateur IIILCCAClosed
11 AugNGK Karinna PathfinderPIARCClosed
11 AugRallye Renault IRCCGWEST-3
25 AugRookies RamblePCCVOpen Novice
1 SepAmateur 100VADCVRC-6
8 SepHighland FlingFCCVClosed
8 SepWinter TrialBLCCWEST-4
8 SepIntervarsityMSCCClosed
8 SepRenault AustraliaRCCVCOMB6-5
15 SepBank Torque SpecialANZBCCANZ-4
15 SepCanon Zodiac RallyCRBCCVCS-6
15 SepSpring TrialNECCClosed
15 Sep9th Western Districts TrialSCOTCCTAUCC-7
22 SepForester RallyCERBOpen
22 SepDatsun DebauchFFCCCOMB6-6
22 SepPines TrialSEACClosed
29 SepRedline 200 (cancelled)CCRMITTAUCC-8
29 SepSpring TrialLLCBENClosed
29 SepRollaway TrialM850Closed
6 OctBlue Ribbon RallyLCCAVRC-7
6 OctTwilight TrialCRBCCClosed
6 OctMini Invitation TrialM850GWEST-5
13 OctHonda GraduationHCCVANZ-5
20 OctMini MeanderMCCVClosed
20 OctNovice TrialRCCVClosed
20 OctBellarine TrialWDCCWEST-6
27 OctAdam ‘N Eve TrialCRBCCClosed
27 OctNovice TrialBLCCClosed
3 NovHighlander TrialCCCClosed
3 NovRally of the Rising SunDCCAOpen
3 NovSpring 200FFCCCOMB6-7
3 NovTry Your StyleTOCVANZ-6
9-10 NovAlpine International RallyLCCAInternational
17 NovInvitation TrialCOCCVClosed
17 NovRallye Renault IIRCCGWEST-7
17 NovKitchen Table RallyVMACANZ-7
24 NovPresidents TrialCCRMITOpen
1 DecYe Olde BP RallyeLCCAClosed
1 DecRally Des DamesRCCVClosed
8 DecDisrallyMSCCTAUCC-9
8 DecSummer TrialVADCClosed
15 DecKanardlyTCVClosed