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Vale: Doug Stewart, Ralliart Australia founder

Australian rallying legend, Doug Stewart. Photo: Stuart Bowes

Australian rallying is mourning the passing of former Mitsubishi Ralliart Australia boss, Doug Stewart.

A former President of the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport, Round Australia Trial winner and friend to many, Stewart passed away on Monday evening.

Stewart established Ralliart Australia in 1988, and for many years was a leading player in Australian rallying.

His team ran a string of Australia’s best rally drivers, including Ross Dunkerton and Ed Ordynski.

While Doug was known for his administration roles at CAMS, including the position of CAMS President between 1969-1971, he will always be renowned for his contributions to rallying.

Doug had three distinctive roles in his association with Trialing/Rallying – competing in post war Trials, the CAMS Administration and then owner, and participant, of the Mitsubishi Ralliart Team.

In 1955, after having just been elected President of the Motoring Club of Australia in his mid-twenties, Doug met car enthusiast Jack Witter and as a result, a love for long distance trialling begun.

Doug Stewart driving a works Mitsubishi Galant in the 1971 KLG International Rally of the Hills. Photo: Graham Ruckert

They entered a Volkswagen in the 1957 Ampol Round Australia together and won, with Doug’s preparation for the event including lightening the car by cutting handles off their toothbrushes and mailing their clothes on ahead to reduce weight, the key to their success.

Driving the Volkswagen again in 1958, the pair came equal first with Don Garard and Jim Roberts, while in the 1964 Ampol Trial, Doug joined Barry Lloyd to finish fourth, before claiming a top five finish in the 1970 Ampol Trial alongside George Shepheard.

Doug’s motor sport success was as a driver, team owner and manager. He owned the Ralliart franchise in Australia and this involved competing at such events as the Southern Cross International Rally in the seventies and the Wynns/Australia Safari in the late eighties and early nineties

His team also contested the CAMS Australian Rally Championship throughout the eighties and nineties, before leading successful rally campaigns in Asia Pacific during the same period.

Doug Stewart (centre) with team members Ed Ordynski, Iain Stewart, Chris Randell and Spencer Lowndes in 2003. Photo: Stuart Bowes

The success achieved by Ralliart in both Australia and Asia paved the way for the forming of Ralliart Europe under Andrew Cowan.

Under Doug’s stewardship, Ralliart won consecutive Southern Cross Rallies between1972 and 1976, consistently beating some of the more fancied overseas crews.

In the Sydney to Darwin Wynn’s Safaris, which is equivalent to the Paris Dakar Rally, Cowan took Mitsubishi to wins in 1985 and 1986, whilst Doug himself won in 1987, before Ross Dunkerton won in 1988.

The wins to Ralliart continued in the Australian Safari as David Officer took out top honours in 1989 and 1991 and Kenjiro Shinozuka in 1990.

Doug brought professionalism to the essentially amateur sport of Rally, and always carried a gentlemanly air about him. In 1972, he was awarded the CAMS Award of Honour, the highest award bestowed by CAMS.

In his everyday job Doug was, at one stage, International Marketing Manager for Travelodge, in charge of over 400 hotels and motels in the USA and Australia.

Doug Stewart’s funeral will be held on Friday, March 1st at 2pm at St Mary’s Church, Hagley, Tasmania, and after at Fitzpatricks Inn, Westbury.

Source: RSM / ARC media

Martin Holmes remembers Doug Stewart:

Remembered: Doug Stewart, an appreciation

Retrospective: A Datsun 1600 called ‘Son of Grunter’

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