Rob Roy welcomes new era

Monday 20 March, 2023
Photos: Bruce Keys
The MG Car Club of Victoria has run a highly successful Rob Roy Revival at the new and improved Rob Roy Hillclimb on the 19 March.
A strong field of 79 cars was entered in the popular event with a variety of cars from all eras, including Formula Vees, Formula Junior and sports racing cars, allowed up to six runs on the newly resurfaced circuit.
Outside of competition runs, there were plenty of activities to keep fans entertained throughout the day, including a 1950s/1960s fashion show, live music, trade stands and demonstration laps. 
In addition to the packed day of activities, a major highlight was the official opening of the newly resurfaced Hillclimb circuit, which was being used for the first time.
Having succeeded with its application to the Victorian Government’s Community Motorsport Program, with $2.1 million handed out to clubs during the first round in 2021, the MG Car Club Victoria received $494,894 to upgrade the famous Rob Roy Hill Climb facility, which included resurfacing the existing track.

In addition to the resurfacing, the Club also created a chicane along the main straight, sealed and extended the existing return road directly into the pit area and created a new independent tyre cleaning area at the start of the course.
It also expanded the venue’s undercover area, from one ‘Octunda’ to three, along with improved spectator, competitor and visitor amenities and a redeveloped entry road into the site to make it accessible to all cars.
Originally set to run over Saturday and Sunday, competition had to be cancelled on Saturday as a result of the Victorian Government’s total fire ban.
Despite the setback, Sunday proceeded as planned with event organisers adding extra runs to the schedule and all attendees remaining upbeat and positive, which contributed to the overall atmosphere of the event.
Taking out victory on the newly resurfaced track was Laurie Bennett in his Elfin FF600B, with his winning time of 26.66 seconds on his fifth run proving too difficult to beat.
In second place and half a second behind was Darren Visser in his Bates Cyclo, while ASP Clubman driver Angus Mitchell rounded out the outright podium.
Australian legend John Bowe AM also competed in the Hillclimb with the former Australian Touring Cars Champion and Bathurst winner serving as the event’s Patron and placing 18th overall in his Chevrolet Camaro.
Click here to view results.

Club Secretary and member of the organising committee, Tony Lupton, was pleased with the overall outcome of the day and lauded competitors, officials and spectators for contributing to the atmosphere.
“Saturday’s cancellation proved a bit disappointing, but the amount of people who came back on Sunday was remarkable and overall, I think the event was a huge success,” Lupton said.
“This was the official opening of the upgraded venue and marked a new era for the Rob Roy Hillclimb and we couldn’t be happier with it.
“The Club has worked hard to get the facility to where it is now, and we are extremely grateful to have had the opportunity of the grant and to Motorsport Australia for helping make it possible
“These changes will provide huge benefits to the operational side of our events now – namely the new return road, which will allow cars to come back to the pits without going on track.
“The new tyre cleaning area at the start line is another change that makes the process of running events more efficient. We actually got to see this efficiency firsthand on Sunday due to the fact that we were able to add more runs on Sunday.
“We were also able to remove the notorious dip at the end of the causeway, which previously was a deterrent for a number of cars to compete, but now, we have the opportunity to have a broader array of cars competing. 
“The overall reaction from all who were in attendance was incredibly positive. People were smiling and talking about the wonderful venue it is and were pleased to come back.
“It was just a really good atmosphere and we were stoked.”

Also in attendance was The Hon. Shaun Leane MLC, President of the Victorian Legislative Council, who officially opened the venue, along with the Mayor of Nillumbik, Cr. Ben Ramcharan and Motorsport Australia CEO Eugene Arocca, who praised the club for its new look.
“Congratulations to the MG Car Club of Victoria for their efforts in renovating this historically significant course to a state-of-the-art venue, as well as running a fantastic event” Arocca said.
“It was great to see these positive changes that had been a result of the Victorian Government’s $500,000 commitment to the club, which matched the Government’s commitment in order to complete major upgrades to the venue. The Victorian Government has been a very strong supporter of motorsport and we are extremely grateful for their commitment.”
“It was a wonderful atmosphere and the Rob Roy Hillclimb circuit’s significant contribution to motorsport history only continues to grow.”
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