The Tribute Meeting was attended by a big crowd followed Saturday evening with a dinner and presentation at the Junee Ex-Services Memorial Club.
Illabo promoter Kerry Phelan and his staff are to be commended on another successful fixture. These Tribute Meetings at Illabo Motorsport Park, which celebrate the career of a former NSW and Australian speedway identity, have not only proven very popular but have grown in status over recent years.
People travelled from interstate and throughout New South Wales to acknowledge Bob’s career.
Two of his restored cars – the ex Darren Munro Super Modified and the Gambler Sprintcar – were a part of the on track presentation. The Munro car is particularly significant in Bob’s career after he drove it into history as the first main event winner at Sydney’s Parramatta City Raceway on the official opening night, Friday, February 18, 1977.
The Gambler Sprintcar of the mid-80s era took Bob to a number of main event victories at PCR and other circuits and helped him toward a career highlight of 33 PCR feature race wins.
Bob was presented with an appreciation plaque on behalf of Gasworks Motor Sport Inc Illabo Motorsport Park (located 16 kilometres north east of Junee) prior to doing some demonstration laps in the #78 Sprintcar.
As an indication of his popularity within the racing fraternity, there were further presentations made from the Vintage Sprintcar Association of Australia, the Vintage Modified Association of NSW and the Vintage Speedcar Association of NSW at that evening’s dinner.
Bob Blacklaw’s speedway involvement started back in the late 60s when he initially served on the pit crew of Sydney Super Modified driver Ian McManus at Westmead Speedway in 1967.
Bob then linked with former NSW Speedcar Champion and 60s star Bryan Cunneen and was on his pit crew right up until Bryan’s retirement from the sport following a nasty crash on the Sydney Showground pit corner in 1969.
Bob later joined the Sydney Showground crash crew before he embarked on a very successful racing career in the early 70s. His first-ever drive was in Jim Winterbottom’s Super Modified at the Kembla Grange Speedway south of Sydney.
This was followed by a stint behind the wheel of the Doug Phillips Super Modified which was
the car formerly owned and driven by Sydney’s Bill Booth.
His foray into Sprintcars commenced with an ex-Tim Moncrieff (Tasmania) Tognotti car and in later years Bob was one of the first drivers who purchased the newly released American Gambler Sprintcar. He also raced an OTR Sprintcar from the production line of Melbourne’s John Sidney.
After a very successful career which included victories in the 1979 and 1982 New South Wales Sprintcar Championship and four Parramatta City Raceway Sprintcar Championships, Bob retired from racing in the year 2000.
There was a time when Bob put Sydney’s Skip Jackson in his car for a stint and in 1992 he and Skip came close to winning the Australian Sprintcar Championship at PCR. Skip was right there where he needed to be with laps running out in the final before a muffler problem ended his title chances.
His collection comprises the famous Johnny Anderson Sprintcar out of California, the equally well known Bill Warner “Moon Eyes” Super Modified, the ex-Bob Tattersall Cascio Offenhauser Speedcar, the Ray Redding Holden Midget (Sydney) while his most recent restoration completion is the Don Meacham Offenhauser Speedcar brought here by Californian Meacham in 1968. His latest acquisition for a complete restoration is the #28 Speedcar driven in the latter half of the 60s by Sydney’s Don McRae.