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BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION

Born and raised in Southern Ontario, Rob is the second-oldest sibling in a family of five children, having two sisters and two other brothers.  A passion for art and racing appeared to be in the blood from an early age; fascinated by the image of a tire-smoking dragster Rob produced his first real motor racing drawing at age 6. As young boys, Rob and his older brother Ron were also heavily influenced in racing by their uncle, Chuck McLaren. He was a regular participant in the Canadian rally scene and gave his young nephews their first 'driving lessons' in a Renault 8 Gordini rally car - both boys were under the age of 12 at the time! That first lesson ended with the Renault nose-first off the road when Ron overcooked his approach to a corner.  Sitting in the ditch, Chuck heaped praise on the young driver; in his first off he had instinctively dumped the clutch to avoid stalling the car!  Not long after that experience, the two boys accompanied their uncle to Mosport Park, attending the Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix for the first time.  It was an experience that left a lasting impression on the Fellows boys.

Now bitten by the racing bug, karting seemed the natural place to start. Rob cashed in $125 of paper route savings and, with his father bankrolling the balance, purchased his first racing kart.  It was a well-used Dart chassis but Rob was thrilled, and could't get enough - during the school week he would race home at noon to eat his lunch in the kart, while dreaming of checkered flags and victory laps. Ron soon joined his younger brother in karts, and both were quite successful at the regional level.  Now racing with current equipment, Rob's first taste of Mosport Park's fast sweeping corners came in 1973 when he entered an invitational enduro kart race.  Driving a sprint kart while everyone else was in a laydown chassis and severely under-geared for the 2.4 mile circuit, Rob managed to outlast all but two of his competitors to finish third.

When age permitted the brothers graduated to cars; first Ron and then Rob competing in a Datsun 510 owned in part by their Uncle.  The boys showed plenty of talent, but were handcuffed by a lack of financing and had limited success in their transition to racing cars.  Rob decided to stop, while Ron went on to try his hand in a Formula Ford but he too was soon forced to step back.  In 1985, the formation of the Players/GM Motorsport Series in Canada was the catalyst that would turn their racing fortunes around. Ron seized the opportunity and teamed up with Richard Spenard, his boss at the Spenard/David Racing School. Sponsored by home and automotive retailing giant Canadian Tire, Ron and Richard became a formidable duo. The series continued to grow, and in 1987 Rob made his debut in professional racing, joining the series as an independent. In what was an auspicious debut, Rob qualified just outside the top 10 before racing his way up to 6th place. Not content with that and looking for a top 5 finish, Rob closed the gap to the 5th place runner.  On the last lap he managed to get alongside his rival, and attempted to out-brake him at the end of the circuit’s long back straightaway. Neither driver would give however, and both cars ended up off the road.  Rob got back on to finish 8th, his engine seizing at the checkered flag from a punctured oil filter sustained in the off.  Disappointed, but happy with the knowledge he was competitive, Rob made two more starts in 1987 before joining forces with his older brother the following year.  With primary sponsorship from Sunoco and Mackenzie Financial Corporation, the two formed their own team and had immediate success; Rob won his first professional race in 1988 and went on to finish the year in third place, just behind Ron and Series Champion Richard Spenard. It was a tremendous overall result and a performance that would earn Rob the series’ Rookie of the Year title.

The battle resumed in 1989; this time it was a Fellows taking the crown as Ron brought home his first professional championship. Rob then duplicated that effort by winning the overall title himself in 1991, but not without some serious drama.  His championship already in hand, Rob capped off the season by destroying his car in a violent wreck at a non-championship shootout race, in what some say had become the family tradition. His older brother had managed a similar feat at the last race of his championship year as well...

The Players/GM Motorsport Series was canceled after 1992, and Rob took a shot at making the move to big cars in 1993.  With financial assistance from Sunoco, a three race deal was struck with Tom Gloy Racing to compete in the SCCA Trans-Am Series.  Results were encouraging and highlighted by an 8th place finish at the Toronto Molson Indy event, earning Rob the Rising Star of the Race award.  However, without the necessary funding to compete further, Rob was again forced to put his racing career on hold. In 1996 he returned to SCCA competition, driving a Ford Mustang for AER Manufacturing in the World Challenge Series.  The team and driver were new to the series and had a character-building debut season but enjoyed a much better year in 1997, winning two races and finishing a close third in the championship fight.  Failure of a front suspension arm while leading the event at Trois Rivieres diminished their opportunities for an overall championship that year.

The AER team took a hiatus from World Challenge after the 1997 season, and Rob became involved in several projects; some related to racing and some not. As a self-taught watercolorist and oil painter, he began devoting time to further developing his life long appreciation for art.  Rob produced his first limited edition motorsport art print in 2001, based on the Pratt & Miller C5R Corvette team and their record-setting performance at the 2001 24 Hours of Daytona.  In an effort to broaden his scope of experience, Rob also took on several graphic design opportunities; among other things producing commercial logos and also paint and graphic schemes for racing teams.

In 2003 Rob returned to racing, once again driving the AER Manufacturing Roush Mustang in SCCA SPEED World Challenge GT Series competition. A modified version of the same car he drove up until 1997, results in the well-seasoned Mustang were encouraging; Rob was as high as 5th in points nearing the mid-point of the season.  The team was working hard, trying to make the most of the opportunity - but while the in-house engines built at AER proved very competitive, the old chassis was showing its age. With little chance of winning and with costs to compete in the series escalating, the axe came down after the June race at Road Atlanta. Rob missed the second half of the season and finished up 15th overall in points.

With his primary focus once again on art, Rob continues to work on developing a competitive racing opportunity for the future.  Married to his wife Cathleen in 2001, the couple gave birth to their first child in September of 2004; son Daniel Charles. With racing taking a back seat for the time being, Rob is keen to further develop the motorsport art business started in 2001, focusing on subjects of historic significance.

 

 

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