THERE is probably no better way to sum up the late Bob Jane – tyre king, racetrack owner, hero and raconteur – than the name on the sidewall of his most popular product, the All Rounder.
The tread pattern that Bob Jane left on Australia was deep and covered a broad footprint in a sometimes explosive path through boardrooms, race tracks and through the hallways of his family homes.
Bob Jane, who died last month aged 88 after a 22-year battle with prostate cancer, leaves an indelible mark on Australian racetracks as a race campaigner who threw all his passion and abilities at winning.
The same hallmarks extended to his business. He started Bob Jane T-Mart in Melbourne in 1965, expanding to the current number of about 130 outlets.
The tyre chain introduced its own tyre, the popular budget-priced Bob Jane All Rounder, to compete with its increasingly cheaper rivals. He held the tyre chain until 2006 when, after suffering a stroke, it was taken over by his son Rodney.
Mr Jane countered this with a $2.9 million lawsuit against his son in 2013, but it was dismissed by the Supreme Court of Victoria.
He was declared bankrupt in 2016 with creditors including the Australian Taxation Office that was reputed to have been owed $105 million.
His racing career included winning the Armstrong 500 endurance event four times – between 1961 and 1962 at Phillip Island and 1963 to 1964 at Bathurst’s Mount Panorama, in addition to four Australian Touring Car Championships between 1962 and 1972.
Mr Jane’s funeral will be held next week after the running of the Bathurst 1000 race.
By Neil Dowling