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Rob Roy opens Victorian hill climb championship

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As one of Australia’s premier hill climb circuits, the Rob Roy Hillclimb track has hosted its fair share of dramatic events in the past 80 years and this year is looking no different. 

Already entered into the much-anticipated event is four-time Victorian champion Garry Martin and 2017 Rob Roy winner, Michael Barker. 

After taking out his maiden round last year, Barker will be hoping to replicate his 2018 form as he looks to secure a vital opening round win against Martin.

“Rob Roy tends to be a home track for me so if I am going to do well anywhere in Australia, it would be at the Rob Roy,” Barker said. 

“Last year, Garry was only able to complete one run after suffering an issue with his car, but he was still able to place second which is a huge testament to his skill. 

“He was second fastest on the day and I was fastest, but that was as good as it got for me as Garry ended up champion, which is no surprise because he has the quicker car.” 

With Barker feeling right at the home at Rob Roy, the Victorian believes the track is one of the best in Australia, despite what some people think of it. 

“It’s not a track that a lot of people like,” Barker explained.

“Some people say that it’s just a power track but it's not quite true because if you’re travelling quickly, you need to have your wits about you.

“In 700 metres, there are four corners that can bite you if you’re not careful and those corners are serious corners as well, they are not just pointed up a hill. 

“It’s not just a power track as many people say, it’s more than that, it’s a very good track and it’s famous for a reason. ”

Since making his debut in 2015, Barker has significantly improved each year of competing, placing fourth outright, third and second twice, while Martin has won the past four consecutive years. 

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While age does not seem to be an obstacle for Barker, the 71-year-old remains realistic about his chances of securing a title over the driver 20 years his junior.   

“A win can always set up the championship but realistically my car is 50kg heavier than Garry’s car and it’s down about 30 horsepower,” Barker added.

“The reality for me to win the championship is not really a possibility but I will still have a go and try my hardest. 

“If I can start off with a good result then it will set me up for a championship tilt but right now I’m going to focus on my own performance, just like every other event.

“What ever comes out of the race comes out of it and I believe that you have to be in it to win it. I am feeling confident that I can get a good result at Rob Roy.”

Entries for the Championship’s first round will remain open until Monday, 14 January and can be entered here through the member portal here.

The 2019 CAMS Victorian Hill Climb Championship’s first round takes place at Rob Roy Hillclimb track on Sunday, 20 January.

 

Photos: Gary Hill
Published: 10 January, 2019