This tour is an opportunity to revisit the iconic event that was the 1981 George Derrick Memorial Trial.

Elsewhere on this website you will read eye-witness accounts that testify to the adventure, challenges, scenery and surprises that this Ross Runnalls event achieved.

For my part I competed in the 1981 George Derrick Memorial Trial as part of a 3 person crew with Rod and Megan Martin in their GA Galant. It was my second only rally. From that weekend on, I was hooked. If this was rallying, I was fully committed.

On the weekend of 26 & 27 October 2019 crews will be presented with a tour of most of the 1981 event, with a few now inaccessible and now rough tracks removed. Fortunately there aren’t too many kilometres of those.

The bonus is the 96km of roads that were cancelled in 1981 due to wet weather that are rippers and will be incorporated this year. These are made up of two sections of fast flowing, smooth roads that save a long bitumen transport and a third on twisty fun to drive tracks across the open Boinka Plain.

The entire route has had the ’81 route charts updated and as well maps at overview and detail produced. Some of this country is quite remote and we do not want anybody straying from the intended route so have gone overkill on the navigational aids.

Any vehicle is eligible to enter the event. There will be some sand. In places it will be quite deep so high ground clearance 4WDs are ideal.
Lower clearance SUVs and 2WDs will need as a minimum to lower tyre pressures in places (and sensibly carry a 12V tyre inflation pump). In a couple of places involving deeper sand, alternative routes will be organised to give crews the choice of driving around to rejoin the route a few kilometres further on.

Rod and Megan Martin have been called upon to take their XU1 rally car out to test some of the worst sand and this is helping us finalise where we need 2WD drive-arounds.

Given the remoteness of some of the tracks we will also need crews to travel in groups and look out for each other to ensure nobody gets left behind.

Saturday 26 October will commence in Horsham at the 1981 start location and travel northward to the infamous Wail Nursery section; onto Outlet Creek; the bottom of the Wyperfeld National Park; Dattuck and Bronzewing. The day will consist of 340km and finish in Ouyen.

Ouyen has three motels as well as the Victoria Hotel which will host dinner in their private dining room. The Victoria is a grand old hotel that has up to 50 rooms in the upstairs accommodation area.

Sunday morning will start with a revisit of the Ouyen Tip section, then Timberoo (the sight of a number of 1981 boggings including the aforementioned Galant) and onward through Wyperfeld, to Rocket Lake and Sunset Country. Toward the end of the day we will enjoy a nice drive through the unique Boinka Lakes section that was cancelled in 1981. The day will consist of 460km of mostly quite fast roads and conclude at Murrayville.

The Murrayville Hotel will host a Sunday evening dinner. The Hotel offers some 26 beds upstairs and in motel rooms at the rear. Murrayville also has the Jacobs Well backpackers accommodation facility and a few cabins at the caravan park.

We are collecting archival information on the 1981 event to include on this website. If you have any old photos please let us have copies to include with the stories contributed by 1981 competitors and officials.

The Victorian deserts are remarkable and much underrated. The scenery is outstanding the roads are great. Over the 800km only 5 cautions have had to be been route charted. It will also offer the opportunity to test the memories and recollections of those involved in 1981.

Geoff Byron
0488 448 322

PS. We need to thank the Car Club of RMIT for allowing us to use the George Derrick name and Ross Runnalls for his great assistance in getting the 2019 route is in the bag.

The 1981 George Derrick Memorial Trial – then and now…