Holden HDT VC Commodore
Driven by Ray Ellis and James Maude
Ray Ellis was a truck driver and was involved in motorsport in the 1980s, including driving in the Sports Sedan/GT Championship, and in Australian Touring Cars including endurance races at Sandown and Bathurst.
Jim Maude was well known in motorsport as a rally navigator, and was inducted into the Victorian Rally Hall of Fame in 2005. Jim passed away in 1992.
Jim's son, Brett, recalls that Ray was crazy at heart and always drove his "Brock" Commodore flat out, and rarely in a straight line. He loved his beer and laughed a lot, and rarely discussed his personal life.
Jim's passion was rallying. His name is on the CAMS (Confederation of Australian Motor Sport) honour board as he was one of the great navigators and trials directors of the sixites, seventies and eighties.
Brett says that both Ray and Jim had been chased numerous times by police but never caught. Ray would normally outrun them, and Jim would take to the dirt.
The jumped at the chance to enter the Cannonball, and believed they had a strong chance of winning. They felt that the race would be won or lost in Victoria, as once teams reached the Nullarbor they would be more closely governed by police.
Jim mapped out a route through central Victoria, using secondary roads to avoid the police.
They drew the 32nd starting position, so were the second last team to depart.
They used Ray's red HDT VC "Brock" Commodore for the race. Ray had swapped out the drivetrain from his race car into his road car. It was fitted with a big fuel tank and a roll cage and, when asked at the first checkpoint about what fuel they were running, they replied "Avgas" (aviation fuel).
Ray's son, Troy, said that the Cannonball Cup was one of Ray's favourite stories.
They were the last team to start, but Troy said that they had overtaken the entire field within a few hours.
They ran intro trouble somewhere near the Victoria-South Australia border where they collided with a large hare while travelling at over 200 km/h. The animal impacted with the front inside tyre and caused damage to a tie rod.
The car was still driveable, but they were only able to travel slowly. It was night time and they would have to wait until morning to get the car repaired.
They weighed up their chances of continuing on and winning after repairing the car, and decided to pull out. Brett says that they were somewhat dubious about the event organisation and this may have also influenced their decision.
They did reach the first checkpoint, but we are not sure if this was before or after the accident.