Get­ting cross

Australian Muscle Car - - Muscle man -


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.

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