AMPOL 1964 Around Australia Trial

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AMPOL 1964 Around Australia Trial

Zeta Completes The 1964 Amppol Trial
A Zeta completed the 1964 Ampol Trial, but they didn't
mention that it came last ...

Class Winners:

  • Class A: Heffernan, Fiat 770 (224 points)
  • Class B: Bentley, Volkswagen 1200 (171 points)
  • Class C: Firth, Cortina GT (21 points)
  • Class D: Burns, Fiat 2300 (258 points)

Team Prize: Volkswagen 1500S, driven by Stewart / Ferguson / Christie (£100 each)
Woman's Prize: Adams driving a Volkswagen 1200 (483 points, £200)
Novice Award: B. Arentz driving a Cortina GT (51 points, £100)

It would be un-true to claim that car rallying was was dormant between 1958 and 1964, particularly given that the many car clubs around the country were regularly holding their own events or championships.

But the allure of the "Larger Than Life" Around Australia trials initiated by the original Redex event back in 1953 was seemingly lost. Australians had a wealth of motor sport to follow, from the Australian Grand Prix, to overseas events such as the Formula One World Championship, Monte Carlo Rally, Le Mans to name just a few.

The in-fighting between 1956 and 1958 had not helped things much, and the two major sponsors, once at loggerheads, now simply found better ways with which to invest their sponsorship dollar.

Ampol instead invested heavily in motor racing, while Mobil chose to sponsor the Mobilgas Economy Run. Even so, CAMS had some 125 rallies listed in their official event calendar, the most important of which became the BP Alpine, an event that traversed much of the high country in Victoria and southern New South Wales.

By 1963 Ampol had again shown some interest in sponsoring a longer-distance event, particularly given the seeming groundswell of interest being shown by motoring enthusiasts around the country. Ampol had restricted most of its operation to the eastern seaboard, and declared that any such long distance event would need to be restricted to those states in which it operated.

The organisers agreed, and the stage was set for another punishing long distance "not-quite" around Australia trial.

Please Note: You can sort this listing by simply clicking on the column heading
VEHICLE DRIVER(S)
1
Ford Cortina GT Harry Firth / Graham Hoinville
21
2
Volkswagen 1500S Barry Ferguson / Tony Denham
25
2
Holden 179M G. Gerard
25
4
Volkswagen 1500S Doug Stewart / Barry Lloyd
28
5
Holden 179M Lionel Williams / Steve Halloran / Terry Gould
31
6
Ford Falcon Quill
43
7
Ford Cortina GT Arentz
51
8
Holden 179M Bruce Collier
55
9
Ford Falcon Tony Thiel / Garry Chapman
57
10
Holden 179M Malcolm McPherson
71
11
Holden 179M Fiebig
88
12
Holden 179M Ron Marshall
95
12
Volvo Hartigan
95
14
Volkswagen 1500S Christie
106
15
- -
-
16
Ford Falcon 170ci Ken Harper / Frank Kilfoyle / Bob Forsyth
109
17
Holden 179M Pat Cullen / Mark Markwell
122
18
Peugeot 404 Ron Green / David Johnson
123
19
Holden 179M Bell
134
20
Volvo Ward
143
21
Valiant Selke
162
22
Holden 179M Johnson
163
23
VW 1200 Bentley
171
24
Peugeot 404 Crabbe
177
25
VW 1200 Don Garard / Jim Roberts
178
26
Fiat 770 Heffernan
224
27
Super Anglia Boyle
254
28
Ford Zephyr Priddle
245
29
Toyota Crown Geoff Russell
247
30
Ford Anglia Hughes
254
31
Fiat 2300 Bill Burns
258
32
Valiant Jack "CrackerJack" Murray Jnr.
262
33
Cortina GT Crown
264
34
VW 1200 Leahey
274
35
Cortina GT Hodgson
276
36
Peugeot 404 Bob Holden / Monty Love
290
37
VW 1200 Jack Witter
296
38
Valiant Hammond
314
39
Skoda Octavia Ron Bird / Jim Horman
327
40
Peugeot 404 Jack "Gelegnite" Murray Snr. / Roy Denny
333
41
VW 1200 Moore
347
41
Holden 179M Doser
347
43
Ford '58 Vigar
363
44
Morris 1200 Hilton
371
45
Holden 179M Gudgeon
377
46
Morris 1100 Ken Tubman / Alan Greenway
385
47
VW 1200 Callery
393
48
VW1200 George Reynolds
298
49
Hillman Super Minx Grosser
416
50
Hillman Super Minx Dalton
417
51
Ford Falcon F. Murray
426
52
Valiant Duck Anderson
440
53
Morris Cooper Byrne
446
54
Hillman Imp Nalder
451
55
Ford Falcon Haycock
455
56
VW 1200 Bond
460
57
Toyota Crown D. Hughes
462
58
VW 1200 Freedman
474
59
Standard Vanguard Tweedle
477
60
Ford Anglia Price
480
61
VW 1200 Adams
483
62
Porsche Phillips
484
63
Holden 179M Watson
504
64
VW 1200 Yvonne McKeahnie / Gayl Sach
512
65
Valiant Newmarch
540
66
Toyota Crown Hosoya
542
67
Holden 179M Evan Thomas
549
68
Holden 149 Huezenroder
552
69
Humber Vogue Truscott
584
70
VW 1200 Hood
589
71
Cortina GT McLaughlin
592
72
Ford Falcon 144ci George Hughes / Peter Coffey / Doug Rutherford
619
73
Datsun Gamble
649
74
Skoda Octavia Syd Fisher / Bill Coe
682
75
Cortina GT Turnley
702
76
Toyota Crown Lott
709
77
Holden EK Dean
729
78
VW 1200 Treloar
797
79
VW 1200 Ruddy
814
80
Cortina GT Lunn
842
81
Valiant Stewart
851
82
Morris 850 Fuller
865
83
Peugeot 401 Ruwolt
884
84
Morris 850 Badger
896
85
Holden FC Darke
951
86
VW 1200 Ogie
930
87
Holden Shooks
1076
88
Skoda Octavia Gerry Merrett / Peter Buckley
1084
89
Datsun Wilkinson
1112
90
Ford Falcon M. Arentz
1159
91
Holden FB Harrod
1185
92
Rolls-Royce Mrs Blanche Brown
1333
93
Dodge Phoenix Walker
1367
94
Datsun McAuley
1594
95
VW 1200 Siblev
1692
96
Chevrolet '38 Baker
1841
97
Holden Lane
2693
98
Vauxhall '38 MacDonald
2821
99
VW 1200 Cornell
3296
100
Renault Dauphine West
3950
101
Lightburn Zeta Eric Polgreen
6185
STARTERS AND FINISHERS
CAR
STARTED
FINISHED
Holden
31
19
Volkswagen
29
21
Ford
23
18
BMC
10
5
Valiant
8
6
Hillman
6
4
Peugeot
6
5
Toyota
4
4
Renault
4
1
Volvo
4
3
Datsun
3
3
Skoda
3
2
Zeta
3
1
Fiat
2
2
Porsche
2
1
Chevrolet
1
1
Dodge
1
1
Humber
1
1
Jaguar
1
0
Mercedes-Benz
1
0
Studebaker
1
0
Rolls-Royce
1
1
Standard Vanguard
1
1
Vauxhall
1
1

The organisers soon realised there was a new found interest in long distance rallying when no less than 5 works teams entered the event - and that's not counting Harold Lightburn's entry of 3 Zeta's! From Ford Australia came 3 entries, Harry Firth and Graham Hoinville teaming up in a Cortina GT; George Hughes , Peter Coffey and Doug Rutherford in a Ford Falcon 144ci; and Ken Harper, Frank Kilfoyle and Bob Forsyth in a Ford Falcon 170ci.

Continental and General Distributors entered three Peugeot 404 entries, the first car being driven by Jack "Gelignite" Murray and Roy Denny; the next by Bob Holden and Monty Love; and another by Ron Green and David Johnson.

Lanock Motors, then Volkswagen distributors, entered a Volkswagen 1200 driven by Yvonne McKeahnie and Gayl Sach; a VW 1500 driven by Doug Stewart and Barry Lloyd; and another VW 1500 driven by Barry Ferguson and Tony Denham.

Czechoslovakian Motokov (Prague) entries driving Skoda Octavia's included the teams of Gerry Merrett and Peter Buckley, Syd Fisher and Bill Coe, and Ron Bird teaming up with Jim Horman.

Toyota entered 4 Crown's, all of which would finish, being driven by Shihomi Hosoya and Masaharu Terau, Kevin Lott and Michael Flanagan, Doug Hughes and Ross Farmer and Geoff Russell with Ron Burns.

Many thought BMC would also enter a works team, to be headed by Evan Green, and there was speculation that the General would enter their new S4 EH Holden - but instead they kept that for later in the year, for the running of the 1964 Armstrong 500. As it was however, the only S4 to be entered in the race was by privateer Harry Budd.

The drivers departed from the starting point at Bondi Beach at two-minute intervals on June the 14th, each crew being given an instruction book covering the first 12 days, the final 2 "secret" days only being revealed when the drivers reached Goulburn.

The start was anything but smooth sailing, with flooded roads forcing the route to be changed to use the Great Western Highway to Lithgow. Given the conditions and traffic, the required 60 km/h average speed was near impossible to achieve, and 68 cars were late. Barry Ferguson was one such car, he losing 5 points, and in effect losing the trial.

The first special stage, between Orange and Mullion Creek, was closely monitored by the motorcycle constabularly. Having to strictly observe the posted speed limits meant the drivers were left to put pedal to the metal for the small gravel road section, and only eight teams were able to clean-sheet.

Next came a gruelling section between Dubbo and Pandora's Pass, which made the early stuff look tame. Rough gravel roads and poor route instructions had most crews at wits end, and only three emerged with their "clean-sheet" intact. The rally continued through Nundle, Scone, Newcastle and on to Tuncurry. This section should have been a little easier than what had already been encountered, however 36 teams lost 250 points when, in following the route maps that had been provided to them, they missed a required checkpoint at Booral - the maps had incorrectly shown Booral as being on the Pacific Highway, however the time of the Ampol Trial the highway had been routed through Karuah.

There was a tricky six mile bush track section held at Tuncurry, to be completed at 45mph in the dark. The locals thought it impossible, but Ron Marshall was to prove them wrong, finishing a minute early! The field then went to Port Macquarie, and via Lismore to Coffs Harbour, then over the mountains to Armidale. The most treacherous section on this stage was a six mile track from Coramba to Nana Glen, again it needing to be completed in 45 mph. A Mini Cooper was the only car to clean sheet this section, however unfortunately it would later roll and be forced to retire from the trial.

Next came the long 1065 mile stretch from Lismore to Marlborough, which provided overnight stops at Brisbane and Rockhampton. The Lightburn Zeta's were down to just the one vehicle, although many thought it incredible that even one could get this far. Then came the notorious section so feared by those that had completed in the original Recex trials. Unbelievably, the crews were expected to maintain a 59 mph speed on a rough stony track that included dried up creeks, fallen trees and cattle grids.

Commentators later looking back on this section believed it impossible to clean sheet, and thought the organisers had designed it o clearly identify a "winner" - for it was this section that, better than any other, would test the mettle of the drivers. And it was Harry Firth that emerged the victor, he managing to finish an amazing 8 minutes early.

In somewhat of an anti-climax, the teams then travelled through central Queensland, northwest NSW and into SA. Although the roads offered very limited bitumen sections, the gravel sections were not the "horror stretch" many envisaged. In fact, teams were making such good time that it allowed most to take time out to effect repairs. But damage and mechanical failure from much battered cars in the previous sections were beginning to catch up with some of the teams, and 11 cars would be forced to retire at Bourke.

The route then criss-crossed through western Victoria, then on to the East Gippsland town of Bairnsdale and on to Albury. There was a little confusion as to which would be the best route to take, either the old Omeo highway or alternatively, the new highway route with a turn-off at Tonigo. The factory teams chose the latter, and had ground crew staff direct their teams to ensure no mistakes were made. The privateers, with no such assistance, ended up on the old Omeo highway, and as such inevitably lost points.

At Goulburn the teams were given their instructions for the final two days. The first special stage was a section just north of Adaminaby that was treacherous and daunting, the teams having to negotiate large boulders, trees, dried creek beds and the like. Unbelievably Firth managed to clean-sheet - but that was only the first of 4 extremely difficult stages.

The second special stage would see everyone lose points, and the Mini Cooper mentioned earlier take it's roll and retire. The third stage between Bibbenluke and Candelo was no picnic, however the final stage was a shocker, 33 miles up the Araluen Valley from Moruya to Araluen at a required 47 mph. Again everyone lost ponts, it was more a case of trying to minimise the loss. Firth lost 7 points on this stage, and while others loss a few less, they were unable to bridge the gap, and Firth emerged a clear winner.

The teams then completed the run into Sydney and on to Bondi beach. When the dust had settled, it was obvious that Ford were now serious race contenders, having wrested the honours from the likes of Volkswagen and Peugeot. The day's of the Beetle being competitive in competition were now well over, the best it able to achieve being 23rd position.

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