Australian Rally History

by Tom Snooks
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Red Centre to Gold Coast Trial logo

Leg 4 – Cairns to Townsville

Car going through deep outback "bulldust"

Matthew Bryson / John Bryson, 1977 Mitsubishi Lancer

This was a much more relaxing day over 510km, with totally different sections (four) totalling 77km – or 15% – and countryside to previous days with plenty of banana trees and sugar cane plantations instead of cattle and dry, sparse countryside with the event using roads in the forests.

It was an almost 200km run south from Cairns through Tully to reach ‘Cardwell Forest’, the first of three great sections provided by Queensland Forestry. This road was of very fine grained granite surface in a Pine Forest and had, graded since the road book was set, had many fast straights and also many causeways that required respect, as entry to some was very rough.

Then a 85km drive to ‘Lannercost 1’, near Ingham, and this was very smooth and fast with concrete culverts and parts of the course overgrown with grass making the road slippery. A just over 1km drive to ‘Lannercost 2’ which was more undulating then ‘1’ and opened out to a very fast smooth road to the finish. A 34km run then to the last section of the day, ‘Michael Creek’, which was quite different to the previous section, being a fast shire road over decomposed granite surface with good crests and some tricky fast off-camber corners which needed to be taken with care. Towards the end the section it descended to a creek crossing and the climbed up to the finish control.

Then 128km into Townsville, a slow journey to speed restrictions on the tight road, for another early arrival. First vehicle departed Cairns at 0800 and was into Townsville at 1530. Competitive sections of 18, 19, 20 and 19km. 57 cars started and 56 finished.

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