was banned in NSW in ’69, so there was no state championship. Just as VW decided to get out of rallying, call from Harry Firth offered Barry a drive in a HT 253 Monaro for the Southern Cross in October that year, re-igniting his Holden relationship.
He took fourth in that Cross and ironically was pipped for the final podium spot by Colin Bond in a Mitsubishi Colt, who just a week earlier had won the Hardie Ferodo 500 in the HDT 350 Holden Monaro.
“There was already talk of a switch to the sixcylinder Torana in 1970 while also running GTS 350 Monaros in the Ampol Round Australia in July, so it was a timely call.”
Season 1970 proved interesting with the ill-handling Torana GTR causing the unflappable Ferguson more than a few scares thanks to its unpredictable behaviour.
“The big problem was its lack of suspension travel and it took a lot of work to sort out the beast, but they did in the end.” said Barry.
“You’d enter a corner and it might understeer or oversteer and sometimes do a little of both. It was diabolical, but it was our job to sort the car out and make it competitive for a tilt at the Australian championship.”
Firth put Bond in the 350 Monaro for ARC rallies while Barry used the new Torana GTR in NSW and Bond’s Bathurst co-driver Tony Roberts in Victoria.
Barry was happy with a state campaign for various reasons. “I was still working for Arnott’s, I had a young family and commitments and this was still just a hobby for me, I was happy for it to stay that way.
Although in development phase and still about as stable and predictable as a shopping trolley, Barry took the new GTR to three wins clinching his fifth NSW title and his first in a Holden.
“The team sorted the Torana suspension, lengthening arms and using shims to pack the bushes to give the car some predictable manners, although intrinsically it was always a compromise.”
He topped the year by winning his second Southern Cross, driving the 186ci LC XU-1.
With the Torana sorted, Ferguson won his sixth NSW title in 1971 in the then new LJ XU-1 bringing his time with Firth’s HDT to a close. In ’72 he’d join Doug Stewart’s Mitsubishi team snaring his seventh and eighth NSW titles.
Top: On the 1970 Ampol Trial. Below left: With Dave Johnston. Bottom right: On the ’72 Southern Cross Rally.