Tour to the Sunshine State

14.08.2024 - 17.08.2024


Exploring the country on either side of the NSW-Queensland border, the tour is inspired by the 1969 Southern Cross Rally and is traversing many of its competitive sections. The scenery is spectacular and the roads are on the most part magnificent. The terrain varies from the coastal hills to the rugged Great Dividing Range and beyond to the
grazing country of the Darling Downs.

A social, non-competitive Tour with the option of Regular (with gravel) or Tarmac Course of about 1,700 km.

1, 2 and 3 days options are available and particularly suitable for those who may wish to attend the Historic Leyburn Sprints.

Murwillumbah (Start) - Nimbin - Lismore (Overnight) - Woodenbong - Aratula - Toowoomba (Overnight) - Leyburn - Texas - Warwick - Toowoomba (Overnight)- Nanango - Kilcoy - Kallangur (Finish)

Tour Organiser: Ian Richards assisted by Winton Brocklebank.


Event news

When we decided to celebrate the 1969 Southern Cross Rally in a Social Non-competitive Tour we didn’t quite realise the likely response from participants from that old event nor even if there were many still around.

Firstly while not participating in the Tour but there to talk with us at Toowoomba will be Allan Lawson, Director of the 1969 Southern Cross. That event was unlike any other Southern Cross as Allan had to go to Queensland to run it as NSW were having an issue with the Police and Shires Association, so his job was doubly difficult.

The 1969 Southern Cross was won by Andrew Cowan and Dave Johnson in a UK prepared BMC 1800, left in Australia after the London to Sydney Marathon of 1968.

Victorian rallyist, Tim Kennon, has for several years now been the owner of this car and Tim will be driving the 69 SX winning car in the Tour to the Sunshine State. Entered in the marathon as a BMC 1800, as were another 7 cars including all the factory cars, and the win in the 1969 SX advertised it as an Austin 1800 (Australia didn’t sell Morris 1800s), Tim insists that he has proof that it is really a Morris 1800. The car comes with the Lucien Bianchi Trophy that it won in 69 SX.

The set-up car from 1969 was driven by Graham Thompson who will be with us again this time driving the Sweep car for the Regular Course in the Tour.

Ian Richards, Tour Organiser for the Tour to the Sunshine State will be doing set-up in August and will have Roger Bonhomme sitting beside him. Roger navigated Barry Ferguson in the Holden Dealer Team Monaro GTS to fourth place in the 1969 event. Barry himself has not yet been able to commit to enter the Tour.

Another finisher and second place in Class D in 1969 was Peter Houghton. He is joining us in August although not in the same Peugeot that he used in 1969.

Victorian Bob Watson, who led the Waltons Rally Team of Renault TS’s in the 69 SX, will be with us in August as will be Dave Boddy from Newcastle. Dave is now well recognised as one of Australia’s best navigators, but in 1969 was driving his own entered Ford Falcon. He is recorded as bettering by one minute both Andrew Cowan’s and Colin Bond’s times in a section during the 69 SX.

And we have Dave Johnson, winning navigator with Andrew Cowan for the 69 SX, on the organising team for the Tour and driving the four days of the Tour with the rest of us.

There are another couple of ex 69ers that may still join us for the Tour to the Sunshine State.

The problem that the Tour organisers have now to overcome is how to get the stories from all the 69ers told during the course of the Tour.

Full details of the Tour and Entry details available from This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


  • Enquiries to Dave Johnson 0493 812 474.
  • Email Expressions of Interest to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.