Vintage Rob Roy Hill climb

Sunday 19 August 2012

Rob Roy Hillclimb is Australia’s first purpose-built Hillclimb venue, and was first used in 1937.

2012 marks the 75th anniversary of this truly historic venue in Australian motor sport, and the Vintage Sports Car Club of Victoria dedicated its 2012 Vintage Rob Roy event to the anniversary. The VSCC has partnered with the MG Car Club of Victoria to run the Vintage Rob Roy event as the first of two 75th anniversary events.

The Rob Roy Hillclimb saw some of Australia’s great motor sport personalities in its early days. Tony Gaze has a permanent place in its history with the “Gaze’s Gully” named after him following a crash which saw him & his Alta fall down the steep gully – there is now a guard rail to prevent this from happening again, although a few years back Bill Prowse tempted faith in the Alfa Ricciardi spyder when he ended up on top of the guard rail! Jack Day, Peter Whitehead, Frank Klenig, Arthur Wylie, Tony Gaze, Stan Jones, Lex Davison, Bruce Walton, and Bill Patterson were all Outright Record Holders in the original era of the venue, and Diana Gaze was the Outright Ladies Record Holder.

The Vintage Rob Roy event for 2012 was no doubt the best yet, with 91 pre-war entries across many classes, and of course the club’s annual Billy Cart races at lunchtime.

John Fitzpatrick stole the show & took the presentation award with his 1920s Sunbeam acting as the tow vehicle for the 1912 Bedelia Cycle car. Unfortunately though, the cycle car failed to reach the causeway on each of its attempts.

Grant Cowie outclassed the 11 Austin 7s competing & finished 8th overall with a fastest time of 30.37 seconds in the Brooklands “Rubber Duck” supercharged racer. John Hickford drove his Lancia Lambda ‘Perkins’ special to second place in class, knocking off the European throughbred Grand Prix Bugatti T35C of George Hetrel.

David Bell finished first in his class in the ex. Lou Molina MG TB Supercharged special, outclassing the John Gillett MG K3.

Paul Schilling did double duties with his air-cooled Jinx 500cc car, and a drive in Jim Russell’s Ford V8 Special – the latter taking him to third fastest time of the day (28.72 seconds), against Jim’s 27.97 seconds for second fastest time of the day. In fact, Paul narrowly got third as Bill Redpath (Redpath Special) clocked a 28.73 !

Darren Visser took out fastest time of the day in his air-cooled racing car, the 1966 Cyclo with a 26.22 second run.

Times were slow compared to usual with low ambient temperature & heavy rains in the lead up. The paddock area represented somewhat of a mud bath, particularly by the end of the day.

The paddock area was like a magnificent step back in time with rows and rows of pre-war vehicles. Trevor Montgomery brought up ‘Little Alfa’, the ex Diana Gaze entrant, a brace of Lancia Lambdas, Delages, an Overland, Fiats, Lagonda, Bugatti & MG.

Report by: Charles Rogers / Historic Racing Australia

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