Track designer says lay of the land should lead to ‘an exciting course’ at High Rock Raceway
By Steve Huffman
SPENCER ó Elliott Forbes-Robinson paused a second when asked how many tracks he’s designed during his 40-year racing career.
He pretended to do some fast multiplying.
“Counting this one,” Forbes-Robinson finally announced, “it’s my first.”
Then he grinned.
Forbes-Robinson has designed the track for the proposed High Rock Raceway. He visited the site recently, taking a four-wheel all-terrain vehicle for a ride around the land, much of which is in the process of being graded.
More work is taking place at the track than is evident to motorists passing along U.S. 70/29 or Interstate 85.
Forbes-Robinson is gray and trim. Think of a stereotypical aging race car driver and he’s the kind of guy most would envision.
In a racing uniform, Forbes-Robinson doesn’t look unlike actor and racing buff Paul Newman, a man with whom he’s friends.
“I love the lay of the land,” Forbes-Robinson said of the site of High Rock Raceway. “It has tremendous elevation changes. It’s going to be an exciting course.”
While Forbes-Robinson has never before designed a track, he’s done a little bit of everything else when it comes to racing. He’s claimed victories in seven different series and championships and was once part of Evel Knievel’s race team.
Forbes-Robinson was a 2006 inductee into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America, having started his career in 1968 with the Sports Car Club of America. Since then, he’s competed in a variety of racing series ó Formula 5000, second generation Can-Am, World Sports Cars, NASCAR and Rolex Sports Car Series, included.
Despite his age, Forbes-Robinson remains active in the sport, having raced at New York’s famed Watkins Glen International as recently as two weeks ago.
“I’m 64 and dumb enough to keep racing,” he said, laughing.
Forbes-Robinson was born in southern California, his father a sports car racer. Forbes-Robinson was raised primarily in California though the family also lived in Australia (his father’s birthplace) for five years.
He moved to Lake Norman 28 years ago.
Across U.S. 29/70 from the site of the proposed High Rock Raceway is a single building from which course officials operate. Inside the building is a huge map that details the layout for the High Rock Raceway.
Forbes-Robinson pointed to the map, describing the track that he envisions.
“We’re going to have an 80-foot rise in a 300-foot stretch right here,” he said, motioning with his right hand, the pitch of his voice seeming to increase with excitement as he spoke. “It’s all coming together, just wait and see.”
Forbes-Robinson said High Rock Raceway will feature S-curves that resemble those at Watkins Glen. A straightaway will measure just a hair under a half-mile, allowing drivers to put the pedal to the metal and accelerate to their heart’s content.
Forbes-Robinson said the track will be functional for everything from sports cars to motorcycles and said even NASCAR drivers will use it on occasion to practice emergency handling.
High Rock officials said plans are for the track to be used for teen driving courses and said the 2.5-mile layout might even be used for some of the local bicycle races that are staged annually in Salisbury.
“We want to use the track as many days of the year as we can,” Forbes-Robinson said. “We want to be a contributing member of the community.”