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Bob Watson is a qualified mechanical engineer, former Australian and Victorian champion car rally driver, International rally winner, author of several motor sport books, part time motoring journalist, motor sport event organizer, and inaugral inductee into both the Australian and Victorian Rally Halls of Fame.
*News Flash: Bob inducted into the National Rally Hall of Fame.
Visit the noticeboard for details.
Bob commenced his working career as a mechanical engineer at Holdens at Fishermens Bend. After a short engineering cadetship he worked in the Experimental Department at Holden on engines, chassis and brakes. He became brake design engineer for Holden before leaving to follow a career in motor sport.
He won the Victorian Trials championship in 1968 and 1969, and in 1970 became Rally Competition Manager for Renault Australia, co-ordinating Renault’s rally program throughout Australia. He won the Australian Rally championship in 1970 driving a Renault R8 Gordini, and a further two Victorian championships in 1970 and 1973.
In 1973 Renault withdrew from motorsport and Bob returned to work at Holden as Resident Engineer for Bendix Automotive. In 1977 he was asked to organize a team of Peugeot cars for the Singapore Airlines London to Sydney Marathon and finished fifth overall, first in class and first all- Australian crew with team mates Ross Dunkerton and Roger Bonhomme.
At the conclusion of this successful project Bob opened a car repair and servicing workshop, Bob Watson’s Service Centre located in Hawthorn in Melbourne’s east in partnership with a friend and former Renault rally team mechanic, Bruce Shepherd.
In 1990 Bob sold his share of the business to Shepherd, and then began organizing a series of long distance rallies, including the Australian leg of the 1993 Lombard London to Sydney rally and the round Australia Mobil 1 Trial in 1995. The Mobil 1 Trial celebrated Mobil’s centenary in Australia and had 134 starters. It was won by Ed Ordynski and Ross Runnalls in a Holden Commodore.
In 1995 Bob returned to work at Holden, first in the Holden Engine Company and then as chassis engineer in the newly formed Asia Pacific Engineering group which was set up to engineer Opel products for the Asia Pacific region. He then joined the team that developed the Holden Adventra, the first AWD car designed and built in Australia, to develop all chassis components.
Leaving Holden yet again he assisted in the organizing of two Grand Prix Rallies in 2004/5, the Great Ocean Road Escape for Porsche in 2006, and then directed the 7500 km Red Centre to Gold Coast Trial in 2008. He is the recipient of a Confederation of Australian Motor Sport Service Award, and is a life member of the Historic Rally Association. He has been a member of the committees of the Austin Seven Club of Victoria, The GMH Motoring Club, the Light Car Club of Australia, the Historic Rally Association and has served on numerous CAMS committees and sub committees.
Bob is an inaugral inductee into the Victorian Rally Hall of Fame (2005) and the National Rally Hall of Fame (2013).
Sadly Heather, Bob's wife, of 38 years passed away late in 2010 after a brave ten year battle with cancer. See 'Heather Watson'.
Bob is the author of three motor sport related books - his autobiography, 'In Control', the history of the Light Car Club of Australia, 'Phillip Island to Fangio', and the life story of rally driver Ross Dunkerton, 'Dunko'. Click the buttons on the menu bar for more detail.