by MAX STAHL

AFTER two years of spectacular success in the UK, Rallycross came to Australia in 1969 on a challenging track within the racing circuit at Calder.

It wasn’t long before NSW took up the challenge, and in 1971 a purpose-built track was laid out by the Blue Mountains City Council within its Catalina Park racing circuit, Katoomba.

Overseen by a team of highly experienced motor sportsmen, the enterprise made its competition debut on November 28.

Headed by RCN magazine Editor Max Stahl, the managing company, Catalina Park Pty Ltd, included motoring writer Bill Tuckey and long-time Car Club administrator, Peter Wilson, later by the energetic entrepreneur, Gus Staunton.

The team had worked long and hard during the previous year and had found financial backing from Motorcraft, the Ford parts division, already the principal name behind Calder rallycross.

Indicating the high level of the venture, the opening ceremony was flagged away by World F1 Champion, Jack Brabham, the circuit having had the blessing of Marathon winner, Andrew Cowan.

The star-studded field was headed by Melbourne stars Peter Brock, Bob Watson, Gil Davis and Mike Browning, challenged by Sydney rally exponents Barry Ferguson, Evan Green, Bruce Collier and the spectacular Ed Mulligan.

Designed as a TV spectacular, the event had also secured support from ATN-7, who provided live telecasts from the outset, rating well for two hours on a Sunday afternoon.

The circuit was in an ideal location, being visible to both spectators and TV cameras from many points throughout its length.

The layout also provided perfect features for sponsorship backing – water splashes, jumps and high speed straights and bends on both dirt and bitumen.

Here’s a link to an article published in Racing Car News in October 1971 just after the opening.