Australian Rally History

by Tom Snooks
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Dulux Rallies 1971 & 1972 – A History

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The Event Concept

The Dulux Rally was the only event of its type in the world. The idea came from the Tour de France Automobile which had been running for decades (mainly on sealed roads, including the rally sections), but the combination of genuine dirt rallying between the speed events made the ‘Dulux’ unique.

It was a new innovation to Australian motor sport, and was conducted between Sydney to Brisbane to Melbourne (1971, covering some 6500 kilometres) and Brisbane to Sydney to Melbourne (1972 covering some 4000 kilometres). It combined a tour of hillclimbs and racing circuits, with road rallying between them.

The event could have been somewhat controversial – if the rally sections were too rough, and these were mainly sections run over a full night, the cars would have needed greater modifications which could be considered to be likely to be unsuitable for the speed events. If there was too little rallying, the rally regulars (who would form the bulk of the competitors) would not be interested.

The concept meant that the event received wide publicity, the most for a rally event since the Round Australia Trials in the fifties (except for the 1968 London to Sydney Marathon).

At the time of the Dulux Rallies there were no open road speed limits, permissions to conduct the event were minimal, the roads were not officially ‘closed’ as there was very little traffic on them, particularly at night; crews were conditioned to long rallies, as even state championship events ran over a weekend, not just a few hours in one day; there were plenty of dirt roads to select for a competitive course and rallying was heading into its ‘Golden Era’ (the mid to late Seventies).

Cars were pretty much production models, with modifications allowed to stand up to the rigours of rallying and long distances. Fuel bills those days were considered to be ‘petty cash’, paid out of change in the pocket so to speak!

The rallies were fully route-charted but there was plenty of activity for navigators to do with map work to keep them confident they were on the right track, for route-charted events were quite new at that time.

Read the full introduction below – use mouse, scroll bar or page controls to move through the document.
Intro is in 7 sections over 4 pages.

The Dulux Rallies 1971 & 1972 - A history