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Rob Roy Hillclimb - Victoria, Australia


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#1 275 GTB-4

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Posted 23 May 2006 - 02:57

There does no appear to be a thread dedicated to this historic Australian Hillclimb. It has no doubt been mentioned in other Hill related threads though...here is one related thread:

http://forums.autosp...ghlight=rob roy

and, please, lets not interfere with the other chaps talking about that Mr Roy here:

http://forums.autosp...ghlight=rob roy

Let me kick this off by asking how did the hillclimb get its name?

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#2 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 23 May 2006 - 09:01

John Medley or David McKinney might know. ;)

#3 Patrick Fletcher

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Posted 23 May 2006 - 09:34

Failing an answer from the OZ faction [TNF badge holders] it then must have been named after the French artist Rob Roy [1909 - 1992] who was also a vintage car enthusiast, always capturing the action of the moment.

#4 Ray Bell

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Posted 23 May 2006 - 09:55

So when did it start running?

I would think mid-thirties... maybe Clive Gibson knows?

#5 Tim Murray

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Posted 23 May 2006 - 10:05

1st February 1937, according to this useful site.

#6 James Page

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Posted 23 May 2006 - 10:26

Originally posted by Patrick Fletcher
Failing an answer from the OZ faction [TNF badge holders] it then must have been named after the French artist Rob Roy [1909 - 1992] who was also a vintage car enthusiast, always capturing the action of the moment.


:lol:

#7 Ray Bell

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Posted 23 May 2006 - 10:34

Has the length ever changed? I think perhaps that the finish was brought forward a bit to give more room for slowing down, or am I confusing it with somewhere else?

If not, they've nearly halved the lap time over the years...

#8 James Page

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Posted 23 May 2006 - 10:54

I would have thought those times seemed about right, Ray. If an ERA was in the 31s in 1938, a modern Pilbeam should be in the 18s or thereabouts. It certainly looks like a bloody quick hillclimb from the map of the course!

I'm a bit confused by this statement on the website:

"Rob Roy shares the distinction with Shelsley Walsh and Prescott (UK) of being one of the only specially designed bitumen surface hillclimbs in the world."

Does that suggest that Shelsley was specially designed as a hillclimb? I thought it was originally a farm track. Or have I got the wrong end of the stick? It wouldn't be the first timeā€¦

#9 Vitesse2

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Posted 23 May 2006 - 11:24

The track map reminds me of Great Auclum - very similar!

James: I wonder if Whitehead might have been sandbagging a bit. His ERA blew away all the locals in the AGP, including the Kleinig Special, which had - I believe - originally been built as a sprint car for short ovals. And that was on a dirt surface! I doubt he used twin rears at Rob Roy either.

#10 L'Autista

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Posted 24 May 2006 - 02:36

Hey guys, I am in the process of finalising an article on the Rob Roy hillclimb event that was held by the VHRR guys on 7th May. Wet conditions meant the turnout was small, but the diversity of cars (ranging from Grand Prix Talbot-Lago to a mid-nineties auto celica) made it worthwhile from a viewers standpoint.

I will post up the link when I have the finalised times to publish.

Adam

#11 Ray Bell

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Posted 24 May 2006 - 04:53

Originally posted by Vitesse2
.....James: I wonder if Whitehead might have been sandbagging a bit. His ERA blew away all the locals in the AGP, including the Kleinig Special, which had - I believe - originally been built as a sprint car for short ovals. And that was on a dirt surface! I doubt he used twin rears at Rob Roy either.


You cannot underestimate Kleinig's usefulness in a hillclimb, however...

The car had a much bigger engine, with plenty of torque, and was driven by someone that was said to be absolutely dynamic in the short bursts of a hillclimb. I don't think Whitehead could afford to sandbag.

The Kleinig car, to elaborate some more, was built for all kinds of racing. It had an MG chassis and was originally built to run a supercharged Miller engine. The installation of the much larger Hudson straight 8 meant it was a small car for that engine.

It was also used as a road car, and the Penrith Speedway on which it commonly ran in its early days was a one-mile oval.

#12 Ray Bell

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Posted 24 May 2006 - 09:23

Originally posted by Vitesse2
.....I wonder if Whitehead might have been sandbagging a bit.....


Start again...

With a bit of Medley investigation and a chat to Clive Gibson, this comes up:

1. The first record at Rob Roy wasn't 35.42, because the same car had done a 37.39 at the opening event on February 1st of 1937.

2. In February 1938 Tim Joshua won the day with a 35.65. Thus far Kleinig had never been there. In fact, the Kleinig 'racer' still had its Miller engine, which was totally unsuited for hillclimbs. To that time, all of Frank's serious hillclimbing had been done in the much heavier MacIntyre Hudson, the spare engine of which became the central part of the 'racer' at this time.

3. Probably Whitehead was 'sandbagging' in the class runs during the first part of the day, setting a liesurely time of 35.40. But at the end of the day the fastest cars were, in the manner of the way the event was run each year, called up for a final runoff. Here Whitehead let it all go to record his 31.46, while second best was the typically off the pace car of Jack Phillips (undoubtedly carrying Ray Parsons as ballast as always) on a 35.48.

4. In November 1938, Ted Gray in the Alta V8 slipped in a win with a time of 31.51, only (as can be seen...) a whisker away from Whitehead's time.

5. On January 30, 1939, Barrett took the Alfa Monza to second place with a 31.53. He was to eclipse this in October with a 30.72... however... Kleinig had set the new mark of 29.72 to win that day.

6. In October 1939 the finishing order of the first three in the final fling was Arthur Wylie on 29.95, Ken Wylie on 30.96 and Barrett not going quite as quickly with a 31.04.

Clive recalls that Frank used to tell everyone that his opening lap at Bathurst in '38 was faster than Whitehead's. But John couldn't dig up the lap times and the ones he's published in his Bathurst book only cover those still running at half distance. They are a matter of public record in the papers of the day, however, accessible in State Libraries.

So Kleinig never went to the Melbourne events when Whitehead was there. But he eclipsed his time handsomely at Rob Roy just seven months later, and at Aspendale both he and Barrett had a lash at Whitehead's time and were a whisker slower. As Ted Gray also was.

So close were they that Barrett tried a tad too hard and rolled the Alfa in the effort.

#13 Terry Walker

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Posted 24 May 2006 - 11:48

Rob Roy hillclimb was named after the nearby district or suburb. But why was the suburb so named?