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Bob Wilder and Rowland Keith


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#1 m.tanney

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Posted 31 January 2003 - 17:34

  Bob Wilder and Rowland Keith were a couple of SCCA racers of the 1950s. According to other TNF posts, Wilder was seventh in points in 1952, and won the Mt. Equinox hillclimb in the same year. His most notable result was a third at Sebring in 1953, co-drving a C-type Jaguar with Sherwood Johnston. Rowland Keith's best result was probably his victory in the Queen Catherine Cup at Watkins Glen in 1950.
  In Time and Two Seats, and on some internet sites, Wilder and Keith are identified as Canadians. Were they? I've never seen anything on Wilder's background. I have seen sources that identify Keith as an American, either from Boston or New Hampshire. Of course, he could have been a Canadian resident of the US. Or it could be a mistake rooted in the fact that Wilder and Keith drove a Canadian-entered Healey at Sebring in '55, and Keith partnered of a couple of Canadian drivers at Sebring in '57.
  Can anyone tell me anything about these two drivers and, especially, their backgrounds?

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#2 Gerr

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Posted 31 January 2003 - 19:13

Only info I have is from the Watkins Glen GP program, September 19-20, 1952.

The entry list has this: Car No. 6, Entrant Robert Wilder, Address Palmer Mass., Car Ardun-Allard, Class 3. Rowland Keith is not listed.

There is the 1951 SCCA driver points standings listed in this program:
9th. Robert Wilder, Total 2010 points.
Wilkes Barre 10 points "Old Gray Mare"
Thompson, Conn. 1000 points Allard-Ardun J-2
Equinox Mountain 1000 points Allard-Ardun J-2
10th Rowland Keith, Total 2000 points.
Thompson, Conn. 1000 points MG TC(S)
Watkins Glen 1000 points Cooper (du Pont)

#3 m.tanney

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Posted 01 February 2003 - 19:09

  Thanks for the info. Although I suspect that the identification of both drivers as Canadians may be wrong (hence the TNF posting), who knows? If I was a Canadian and serious about sports car racing in the early '50s, I'd probably have moved to the US. At the time, the road racing scene in central Canada was confined to three or four race meetings per year, all at Edenvale, and a few hillclimbs.
  BTW, there were other(?) Canadian drivers at the Glen in '52. Squadron Leader Russ Moodie of Ottawa was 4th OA and 1st in the F3 class in the Seneca Cup. Glen veteran Reg Ogilvie, also of Ottawa, was 21st in the Queen Catherine Cup in an MGTC. Tommy Hoan of Hamilton was 4th OA (1st in Class E) in the same race. There may have been others. The problem for someone who's interested in Canadians who raced in the US is that, unlike European drivers, they tended to blend in.

#4 m.tanney

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Posted 21 February 2003 - 01:59

  I managed to track down Rowland Keith. An interesting fellow, very nice. Maybe not the sharpest memory, but then I did call from out of the blue. I suspect that, given some notice, he might have some interesting things to say to someone researching American sports car racing in the '50s. Anyhow, he confirmed what I'd suspected: he's a native of New Hampshire,not a Canadian. Bob Wilder, his friend and sometime co-driver, was from Massachusetts. Keith also believes that the misindentification stems from his two races at Sebring in Austin-Healeys entered by Jim Fergusson of Toronto. In '55 he was partnered by Wilder, in '57 by Canadians Alan Miller and Ed Leavens.
  If anyone ever does an errata list for Time and Two Seats, they can add this to the list.
  So, that's it. It would have been nice to have found a couple of (relatively)successful Canadian SCCA racers from the early '50s, but it was always a longshot.

Mike

#5 erkelly2

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 07:03

Robert John Wilder, Jr., was a native of Massachusetts. He was probably born in Palmer, Massachusetts, in 1921 +/- one year.

His father and mother (Marjorie) were residents of Palmer in 1920 and 1930 (US Census Reports), so Jr. was probably born in Palmer, or a nearby city if mother chose a different city's hospital for childbirth.

Sr. was an accountant in 1920 and a manager for an electric company in 1930.

Robert J. Wilder and Rowland Keith were co-drivers in the first Sebring endurance race on 31 December 1950, which was a six hour event. They are shown as Canadians, which is not correct. It is possible that they were driving a car from a Canadian dealer, but Robert Wilder was shown to be the entrant.

They were driving an MG TC, 1098cc, and finished 14th overall, 20 laps behind the winner, Fred G. Wacker and Frank Burrell, driving an Allard J2 with Cadillac engine.

Some other drivers and entrants in this event, include Briggs Cunningham, John Finch (Fitch?), Tom Cole (killed at Le Mans several years later), George Weaver, Phil Walters, Jim Kimberly, Bill Spear, Luigi Chinetti, Alfredo Momo,

This information is extracted from http://www.racingspo...ml?sort=Results.

I have not started research on Rowland Keith yet.

Rick Kelly, Motorsports Memorial, erkelly2@cox.net

#6 Graham Clayton

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Posted 15 April 2011 - 12:39

Some results for Rowland Keith mentioned in "Northeast American Sports Car Races 1950-1959" by Terry O'Neil, (Veloce Publishing Ltd, 2010)

1954

July 24 - Brynfan Tyddyn - Formula 3 - 1st (500 Cooper)

October 10 - Thompson Raceway - Class C modified cars - 3rd (Allard)

1956

July 21 - Brynfan Tyddyn - Formula 3 - 1st (Cooper)

September 2/3 - Thompson Raceway - 2nd (F3 500 Cooper) behind John Meyer's Meyer-Cadillac Special