Australian Rally History

by Tom Snooks
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1969 Australian Rally Championship

The 1968 Championship winning Ford Cortina Lotus with Harry Firth and Graham Hoinville
1969 Australian Rally Champions – Frank Kilfoyle/Doug Rutherford in the Ford Cortina Lotus


After the success of the inaugural Australian Rally Championship in 1968, which brought together at differing times the best of competitors from most of the states (Western Australia and Tasmania excluded), there was a yearning for a continuation of the championship.

New South Wales had a clouded rally situation, with CAMS representatives working in the background to find answers to Police requirements that permissions to use roads be obtained from each Shire Council along the route of every rally. This situation was brought about by complaints from country-dwellers about the speeds and so-called reckless driving of those involved in rallies and could lead to areas being banned to rallying.

There was also talk about General Motors disbanding its highly successful rally team, and this ended up with the development of the very successful Holden Dealer Team under Harry Firth.

But there was good news as regards the availability of new cars for rallying, including the Southern Cross Rally.

Following the 1968 London to Sydney Marathon BMC had three slightly-used Austin 1800s completely equipped and ready for rallying, as well as a Cooper S or two; Ford had 1968 ARC winning Cortinas available, plus three as new Flacon GTs and General Motors had a few of its products in the hands of ‘private’ owners doing well in state events.

Volvo was out of luck in the Marathon with minor problems but still had event potential winning cars and the Japanese cars, through Mitsubishi and Daihatsu pushing for outright placings in state events, and the Southern Cross Rally. Renault was being recognised as having the fastest cars on the rally roads, particularly the 1255cc Gordini versions and Renault enthusiasts were looking to Renault Australia making a decision to seriously participate in Australian rallying.

Enthusiasm was starting to build up for the 1970 Ampol Bi-centenary Round Australia Trial, with many state competitors seriously thinking of participating and starting to develop new cars.

So, at the start of 1968 there was a more optimistic than pessimistic outlook to the coming year or so for rallying.

Vehicle Eligibility
Vehicle eligibility was based on CAMS Group C – Australian Touring Cars

Championship Point-scoring
1st = 9, 2nd = 6, 3rd = 4, 4th = 3, 5th = 2, 6th = 1



This document includes the summary, details of each of the six rounds of the 1968 ARC and is 7 pages in length. 

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