Matters of Moment, January 1969
• The Result of the Marathon
So the greatest rally ever organised is over! The first six placings, confirmed as Motor Sport goes to press, are presented pictorially. From a rather over-dramatised start, and easy run to Bombay, the Marathon warmed up in Australia, to become a tough, testing contest. For a long time it looked as if racing driver Lucien Bianchi would wits for Citroën, giving France a much-needed boost. Then his co-driver crashed.
Britain, too, badly needs a shot in the arm, and the warmest possible congratulations go to Rootes for providing it, by winning outright with a twin-carburetter Hillman Hunter. What a grand effort, to heat a field of 98 with a lone entry! The praise goes, probably 50/50, to Cowan-Coyle-Malkin and the sturdy, reliable Hunter. While Ford of Britain struggled with twin-cam engine troubles and other maladies, although leading for much of the way, Rootes won, B.M.C. were 2nd and 5th. Ford Falcons GTs 3rd and 6th, and a Porsche 4th, among the first six closely-packed cars. Ford of Australia, with three Falcon GTs, took the Team Prize. Already Rootes speak of an order for 5,000 additional Hunters for assembly in their Australian Factory, received as the victory news was broken. Everyone should now look with increased respect at the Chrysler-Rootes product. No longer can it be said that front-wheel drive, a rear-engined car, a foreign make, or even a highly-sophisticated design (although the Citroën nearly emphasised this) is required to win a merciless 10,000-mile London-Sydney rally. Damn Good Show, Rootes. — W. B.