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Thread: Rob Mahoney says Hi

  1. #1

    Rob Mahoney says Hi

    Hi Everybody, I'm writing to you from Melbourne, where I have lived for the last 30 years, sporadically dreaming of and sometimes driving high performance road cars. I've enjoyed reading the Roaring Season articles and posts for a while now and thought it would be fun to join in.

    I grew up spending many days with my Dad, Des Mahoney, while he tore around the back roads of Auckland and the Waikato road testing cars for reviews he then wrote for the Auckland Star, the evening paper which died out in the 1980's. Dad also took me to most of the meetings at Pukekohe from 1963 until 1973, when he left the Star and went into PR. During that time I also had the privilege of being with him when he interviewed leading local and visiting drivers for weekly page in the Star and while he researched his book, "Trio at the Top." It was great fun, I think one of the most memorable moments was when we visited Clive Hulme at Te Puke, where he gave us a spectacular demonstration of his water divining skills. Even my Dad, a typically sceptical Journo, had to admit he had no rational explanation for Mr Hulme standing stock-still while the loop of no.8 wire he was holding in front of him wrapped itself tight around his hands, as he stood over the water main.

    In those days racers often drove their cars to the circuit and also used their saloons for joyriding. Some of my earliest memories involved sitting in the back of fearsome cars like Brian Innes's Zephyr, on one occasion loaned to Dad for the day, going for high speed drives through the night with the sound of the open exhaust bouncing off cuttings on the main drag to Hamilton. Dad was a pretty good driver who had tested with Ross Jensen at Ardmore on occasion, coming within 2 seconds a lap of Ross, but he never had the wherewithal or real ambition to take the the track, nor have I, until recently.

    Bruce McLaren arrived at our front door a couple of times in his Jag and Mini Cooper while in NZ for the summer and he would generously take us for a ride, demonstrating his great skill without ever making you feel like you were in any danger. His father Les was also a fantastically safe driver on the road, something I have noticed in all the racing drivers I have been lucky enough to observe behind the wheel. Both men were of course, great enthusiasts and always willing to give like-minded people their time and attention.

    It broke my Dad's heart when Bruce died as they had always kept in touch socially as well as maintaining a professional relationship since the early days, with Bruce supplying the Star with a regular column for the motoring page. Dad soon drifted away from the sport entirely.

    Dad passed away seven years ago and I have his copy of Trio at the Top, poignantly signed by Pat McLaren, Denny Hulme and Chris Amon, amongst other memorabilia.

    After experiencing all of that, I was naturally infected by the car bug, and money willing, have owned a few sensational cars over the years, currently one of only two Vegantune Evante TC160's known, which is at present being civilised by Peter Macrow, a great and humble driver/mechanic and father of leading local drivers Tim and Adam Macrow. The Evante had been very poorly maintained for most of it's life and needed someone of Peters calibre to put it right. Now for the roll cage and some time on the skid pan, followed by a few small events...
    Last edited by robmahoney; 02-22-2017 at 12:36 PM.

  2. #2
    Hi Rob, welcome to The Roaring Season! Its great to have you here. I hope you don't mind but I enjoyed your intro so much I copied it to our General Discussion forum where I'm sure others will jump in and reply.

  3. #3
    Thanks Steve, I'm glad you enjoyed it!

  4. #4
    Good read Rob thank you , love hearing stories about Bruce & Denny etc etc , water divining is interesting , he had hidden talents that some would not relate to .

  5. #5
    Originally posted by robmahoney present being civilised by Peter Macrow, a great and humble driver/mechanic.....

    Peter repeatedly won the annual open-wheeler features at Hume Weir, he did so well in the later F3 years too. A quiet and well-respected driver all round.

  6. #6
    Thanks Guys, yes Ray, Peter is quietly running his garage in Oakleigh and preparing a Ralt RT4, which he is going to test at Winton as soon as he can, to see if he thinks he can still race. If he decides not to compete, he says he'll sell it and build another one! Unfortunately he is having a bit of trouble with arthritis at the moment, the first time in his life that he's had any medical problem. I don't think he's going to let it hold him back for too long.

  7. #7
    Greetings Rob - your Dad's 'Rothmans' book is referred to often while 'Trio' is a superb title and book.


  8. #8
    Thanks Michael. Somebody "borrowed" the last family copy of the Rothmans book years ago. I tried to find a copy in second hand shops in NZ with no success. It's good to know that people are still enjoying his books. I'll try to find it again, on the internet.

    Writing the first post brought back a lot of memories, including the times when my brother Jim and I both went to the track with Dad. On a couple of occasions, he sent us down to the paddock to interview drivers, "Go down and see what's going on with Stewart and Hill." We'd head off with our press passes dangling around our scrawny necks, all of 17 and 10 respectively, past the sometimes prickly stewards and Jim would talk to the drivers in between practise sessions, while I observed. They must have found it pretty amusing to be asked a bunch of pertinent questions by a team of boys, but were always friendly. They were very relaxed times. It led to Jim doing a lot of writing about boxing until quite recently, as well as being Chief sub-editor on a number of Auckland papers. I also made a couple of shoe-string budget films about historic racing here in Victoria with the help of the VHRR, a decade or so ago, which I will post highlights from here eventually. I'm building up to doing some more films. It's a lot of fun, but exhausting when you're doing it in your spare time...
    Last edited by robmahoney; 02-26-2017 at 02:35 AM.

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