Australian Rally History

by Tom Snooks
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1970 Australian Rally Championship

1970 ARC Champions – Bob Watson and Jim McAuliffe - Renault 8 Gordini 1296cc
1970 ARC Champions – Bob Watson and Jim McAuliffe - Renault 8 Gordini 1296cc


During 1969 CAMS did a massive amount of work at the administrative level with the Police and Shire Councils to make sure that events will be held, although there was a massive reduction in the number of events to be conducted, but the new procedures would ensure that future events were going to be worth conducting. A vast majority of the Shires agreed to the CAMS Joint Agreement proposal, with a lot of thought going into it to which areas can be used (and not used) for rallying and how often. A few events were schedule for 1970 but it seemed that it would be 1971 before there would be a plentiful number of events to choose from.

The long-established Snowy Rally, as a round of the Australian Rally Championship, would be conducted.

After two successive Australian Rally Championship wins Ford Australia withdrew from competition as from 1970 leaving the way clear for Harry Firth’s team of Toranas driven by Colin Bond, Barry Ferguson and Tony Roberts to dominate the Australian rally scene, although with Renault coming into the sport there was potentially a shakeup coming. New South Wales Bruce Collier took in the task of preparing three cars for the Renault Team, with the quick 1296cc Renault Gordinis for Bob Watson, Mal McPherson and Collier himself. However, in the Ampol Trial mid-year they would be driving Renault 16TS cars.

With its success in the previous year’s Southern Cross Rally, with Andrew Cowan winning that event in an Austin 1800, Leyland Australia was looking to continue an involvement in the sport, Japanese cars did quite well in the smaller class categories in 1969 and with drivers like Doug Stewart, Doug Chivas and Barry Lloyd the Mitsubishi Team could start to look formidable from 1970.

As 1970 unfolded a number of Mazda dealers were seriously looking at entering a three car team in the Ampol Trial and considering using the early National Events to sort out their cars for the big event.

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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