Car News’ editor Max Stahl championed the cause of Rallycross at Catalina Park in 1970 and suggested to his old mate Barry Ferguson that a Beetle might be perfect for the job with the traction available and the larger, big grunt engines that could now be built.
Stahl introduced Barry to Bruce Geddes, a VW tuning expert from Sydney’s Southern suburbs, and in that meeting an alliance was forged that would see Barry reignite his winning ways in a VW.
“These cars were very different to the virtually standard cars we used to run in the NSW rally champs. The engines started at 1750cc with massive twin-Weber carbies moving up to two-litre and eventually 2.2-litre,” said Barry.
“It was great fun and we finished up with more division one wins at Catalina than anyone else with those hot VWs. They had the right blend of power and traction which was the biggest problem on a rallycross track,” he added.
So successful was the onslaught that the VW virtually became a category killer in rallycross. Rallycross eventually died, for a variety of reasons; partly because of the VW dominance, but also because of new demands from television, Katoomba’s atrocious weather and the changing motorsport landscape. But before this came to pass, Barry Ferguson had once again proved his driving credentials.
Inset: Early in the rallycross era, ’71. Above: By ’73 Ferguson had the Beetle set up for maximum traction.