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Are you old enough to remember the 1968 London to Sydney Marathon, the original and greatest Marathon of them all?

It doesn’t matter whether you can or can’t remember this ground-breaking event because this year you’ll be hearing a lot more about it and, if you’re quick, experiencing something of what it was like all those years ago.

It’s now 40 years since this iconic event crossed Australia from East to West, from Fremantle to Sydney, in one flat-out, sub-60 hour non stop burst that gave crews no rest in this 16,000 kilometre test of man (and woman) and machine. From the start in London’s Hyde Park, 98 crews left to cross the world in their quest to be the first crew to arrive at Sydney’s Opera House.

Only 56 actually made it, in an event that was full of excitement and drama, heartache and broken dreams. Organised by the Daily Express and the Daily Telegraph media conglomerates, it offered 10,000 Pounds in prizemoney plus some handsome trophies, a carrot that encouraged the world’s best rally drivers to want to take part.

The 1968 London to Sydney Marathon was undoubtedly the most significant endurance event since the days of the Redex, Ampol and Mobilgas Round Australia trials, but added a new element of interest thanks to its cross country nature. All the major car manufacturers in the UK fielded teams of cars, as did manufacturers in Europe, so serious did they view the publicity value likely to be obtained from a win or a leading placing.

Many of us can remember the media frenzy that the event created in Australia as these “madmen in rally cars” tore hell-for-leather across the vast plains of Western Australia, South Australia and New South Wales before finally experiencing a sting in the tail in the Australian Alps. There are also many of us who can remember standing by the roadside as the Marathon cars roared past in a cloud of Aussie dust. So we can’t let this 40th anniversary pass without reliving some of the drama that many Australians were lucky enough to witness.

RallySport Promotions are planning a 3-day, 2-night 40th Anniversary tour of the final 850 kilometres of the ’68 Marathon, using the actual roads that were used in 1968 and, where these roads are no longer considered worth retracing due to major upgrading, using several exciting sections from the 1993 London – Sydney Marathon re-run.

And we want you to join us. We’ll use the route instructions from that original event, prepared by the British Motor Corporation survey team who covered the route just weeks before the actual event. We’ll also use the route instructions for two brilliant stages used in 1993 just to experience the conditions which prevailed all those years ago.

Along the way you’ll get to appreciate all the last-night dramas that made reaching the finish line so difficult or in some cases, impossible. You’ll experience the climb to more than 1,000 metres over Goldies Spur, the awesome Nunniong Road, the infamous Big Badja stage (in 1968 claimed to be the steepest and most difficult road in NSW), the mysterious Hindmarsh Station, Ingebyra, Numeralla and Nowra Junction where the leaders, Lucien Bianchi and Jean Claude Ogier had their win ripped from their grasp when a spectator’s car ploughed into their Citroen just miles from the final control, leaving Scotsman Andrew Cowan and his crew to take the honours in their Hillman Hunter.

The proposed tour will take three days as we drive through some spectacular mountain country on our way to the Coast. We’ll travel in a convoy of restricted numbers after leaving Wangaratta on Monday 24th. November (this date is yet to be confirmed) for the start of our adventure.

Although the Marathon crews drove without rest (remember – in under 60 hours!) right across Australia, we’ll stop for a rest for the nights where you will be able to choose your own accommodation to suit your budget – motels, on-site vans or cabins, or you can pitch a tent. At night we plan to get together to hear some tales of that event from some of the crews who actually competed back then, and whose stories are amazing.

After travelling through the Australian Alps for three days, we finally arrive at our destination, and that of the final competitive stage of the Marathon in 1968, Nowra, on the south coast of NSW.

So here’s your chance to be part of the history surrounding this remarkable event. You’ll be provided not only with a tour guide but with comprehensive route instructions, details of the various accommodation choices en-route, a booklet of period press cuttings and photos, and a special memento of your trip.

The tour is suitable for a variety of vehicles, including period rally cars from the era, modern rally cars, some road vehicles (provided they have sufficient ground clearance) and 4x4 or SUV vehicles. Bear in mind that some sections of the LSM  Re-Run are rough and rocky, or steep and slippery so vehicle choice is critical.

RallySport Promotions are still in the early stages of planning the event but are expecting strong interest in the 40th. Anniversary Re-Run. Our website will be constantly updated with the latest information in the coming months, however, as mentioned, entry numbers will be strictly limited.

To ensure a place in the Re-Run, you should place an “expression of Interest” letter, together with a refundable deposit of $100 (should the event fail to go ahead for any reason). It is anticipated that the tour cost will not exceed $500, however your fuel and accommodation and food costs are your responsibility. EOI’s will be issued in order of receipt.

Help us celebrate this great event by being part of our 1968 London – Sydney Marathon Re-Run. It’s an experience you won’t forget.

For further information as it becomes available, log on to www.rallysportmag.com.au or email us.

Enquiries can be directed to Jeff Whitten on (03) 5722 1250.

Ask us for an Expression of Interest form, CLICK HERE.

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