Following the (£30,000) Inca trail. Sixteen thousand miles long and sixteen thousand feet high! Just two of the tough facts of the Daily Mirror World Cup Rally. But in cold print they hardly hinted at the hazards which faced competitors over the next five weeks. The route which John Brown and John Sprinzel surveyed was probably the toughest test ever set at at that time for a rally car and its crew. Seasoned competitors who had been over parts of it on reconnaisance runs agreed that they had never seen anything quite so long, tough and demanding before.
Picture if you can dirt track roads strewn with fist-size boulders winding high through the Andes mountains with treacherous drops of a thousand feet into the valley below. In some places the route went into the snow line – days later the drivers would find themselves in the tropical jungle in the hinterlands of Bolivia. Many of the tortuous ‘Prime’ sections consisted of roads that would cause the average family motorist to turn back. The rally drivers would average close to 50 miles an hour over these roads and tracks.
The five days in Europe contained as much competitive motoring as half a dozen normal International rallies. After the warming-up section through France, Germany, Austria and Hungary to Sofia – the Bulgarian capital – the curtain rose with a high-speed section from Pec to Titograd. This stage, famous in the history of rallying’s Liege-Sofia-Liege, gave newcomers a taste of the rough and dusty trails of the Yugoslav interior. During April the dust may have turned into treacherous layers of snow and black ice. Another speed section further Westward brought the drivers past Trieste and across Northern Italy to the famous Monza race track for their first brief ‘rest’ of eight hours. Then on to the testing hills above San Remo for more snow-ravaged mountain tracks running against the relentless clock.
Note: This article is adapted from text originally written by John Sprinzel and published in the original Official Programme
1970 World Cup Rally Entry List
The Entry List for the London to Mexico event , correct at the time of going to press in early April 1970.
Car 20 Austin Maxi
Car 20 was this Austin Maxi entered by Marshalls of Cambridge. After lying in 35th place at Lisbon, the three woman crew made it as far as the Pampas Prime, part of an 1800 mile run between Santiago and Montevideo towards the foothills of the Andes, before sliding out of the event in the pitch dark night into a rain-soaked quagmire, with no means of extraction. This car survives in remarkable running order and will be one of the highlights of the Show.
Car 28 Moskvitch 412
The USSR team Avtoexport fielded no less than five Moskvitch 412s in the event. Car 28, pictured above, finished 12th overall and was one of two Moskies that made it to Mexico City.
Australian Rally Champion Ken Tubman
Australian Rally Champion Ken Tubman one of the winning trio in a Citroen DS on the 1968 London to Sydney Marathon is seen here on the 1970 World Cup Rally. What is less well known is that Ken played a key role in securing the release from prison of Philip Young during the later 1977 London to Sydney Marathon. Holed up in a Tehran cell, after going up a one-way street the wrong way, and with only a Turkish girl accused of living off immoral earnings in the cell next door to talk to, Ken Tubman arrived before leaving Iran to continue his marshalling duties. He was met by the district’s chief of police.
“There are questions being asked in the British parliament about you,” said Tubman sternly.
“How come?” said the police chief through his interpreter. Well…. said Tubbie, drawing breath and now speaking very slowly…. “If you think holding up a Daily Mail reporter in a cell without charge is something that will escape the attention of the top of your government, and the British government, you are very much mistaken….”
Philip Young was released the following day, and flew out of Tehran in a Dakota for India, where he met up with his navigator John Corner who had driven the car across Iran and Pakistan….they had missed the boat out of Madras by a couple of hours when the rally sailed on for Penang, and the Malaysia section.
Car 94 Ford Cortina GT
The RAF Motor Sports Association entered this Cortina GT, car number 94, seen driven here by Flying Officer Soames-Waring.
Car 50 Volkswagon Beach Buggy
Using the principles of light weight and ease of maintenance anywhere in the world, the three-man crew of car 50, this Volkswagen Beach Buggy set off optimistically through the streets of London on April 19th 1970.
Car 18 Ford Escort
Finns Hannu Mikkola and Gunnar Palm pilot Car 18, their Mk1 Escort 1850GT FEV 1H to victory and a place in history after 16,000 long, hard miles across some of the toughest terrain known to man. The other 22 finishers are listed here below.
1970 World Cup Rally finishers list
Finish at Mexico City, May 27th 1970
Mexico City, May 27th 1970 and the finishers are escorted in order by Mikkola’s Escort towards the City’s Football Stadium and a very well earned celebration and rest.