Mal Ballard saw the leading cars come through Williams in Western Australia...
One evening, myself and a few others were parked near a servo in Williams WA, talking shit and amongst other things, discussing the cannonball race that we had heard about on the radio that day. From what was broadcast on radio, the race was going to go through Coolgardie and then West along the Great Eastern Hwy, with the cops having a roadblock there in order to shut it down. We never expected it to come through Williams, because the checkpoint at Albany wasn't public knowledge at the time.
It was a quiet night when we heard a hot V8 car coming into town at high speed and braking heavily in order to pull up and get some fuel at the servo. It was a six wheel Holden ute which fueled up in a hurry and then took off North at high speed. At first we didn't know what was going on because it seemed to be all very rushed. Very shortly afterwards a VK? sedan did the same thing. I decided to chase it because it was the most exciting thing that had happened in years, and at that point I had the fastest car in town. I was able to catch it and keep up for about 50km with my speedo pointing straight down (about 250-260kmh) until we reached the State Forest at Bannister which I knew was full of suicidal roos. At this point I decided that I wasn't ready to die yet, and slowed down, turned around and returned to Williams.
We saw a few more headlights heading North in a blur, and began to realise that at least some of the Cannonball competitors had bypassed the Coolgardie roadblock via Albany and the run was happening right through our little town. I didn't know for sure until the next day when it was confirmed on the radio that the cars had passed through Williams via the Albany Hwy. There was almost nothing on the radio after that, and it was years before I found out what had actually happened.
I have attached a pic of my car as it was at the time of the race, and it is still parked in my shed here. I wasn't an official entrant so it's probably not relevant other than for interests sake as I was running with the top 3 for about 50km.
I started the thread on the holiday forum because I couldn't find anything online, and was wondering if the race had been deleted from history.Mal Ballard, 23 January 2017