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The sport of Microding started in what can best be described as odd sort of way. Bob & his Dad Edwin Robinson built a motorized car in anticipation of a child they would hosting through the “Fresh Air Program” for the summer of 1954. As the process of putting this car together was taking place, some kids from around the neighborhood began to take notice. A boy asked Bob and his dad if they would consider assisting him in building a car similar to the one they had built. Bob & his dad agreed, and it ballooned from there, soon many of the kids from near by neighborhoods were asking for help in building a car. All told six were build that year.
Photos (1) - Bob at NYSMA Banquet in 2004
(2) - Taken on “Bob Robinson Day” June 10th 1990. At
Little Wheels Speedways
During the winter Bob decided there was a need for standardization, so he sat down and drew up the first plan set that included drawings, instructions on how to put one of these cars together. The plan set also included a couple of photos so people would know what they should look like when finished. Next the subject of what to call the car came up, Bob didn’t want it to be confused with go-karts, that were starting to appear. His car didn’t go nearly as fast, because of the jackshaft design Bob employed, to gear down the motor. Another important feature of Bob’s car was it could be assembled using simple hand tools of the day by a youth ages 9-13. As discussions ensued about what to call it, the name “Microd” was conceived “Mic” for Mico meaning small and “rod” meaning car. Mic-rod, “Microd” it fit. As the warm weather of 1955 approached, kids began to take their “Microds” out of winter storage and fire them up. Shortly thereafter knocks could be heard on the Robinson’s front door, with children requesting a “Microd Plan Book” and help in putting one together. As the number of cars began to approach 30, village officials contacted Bob with the idea of making a “Safe” place where kids could run their “Microds”. Bob went to work drawing out the first microd track. It included several important characteristics, first he made the straight-aways 150 feet long because it took that long for the motor to go from the bottom of its power-curve to the top of its power-curve. Second he put u-turns at both ends and made them tight enough to scrape off enough speed to bring the motor back to the bottom of the power-curve again. After coming up with a lay-out for the kids to race on, a system of races or procedures needed to be organized. Bob’s original Race Program included a Time Trail, Heat, Australian Pursuit, Elimination and Feature race each race day. Bob also included basic rules that would be used while racing and he designed “Microding’s” first point system.
“The final test of a leader
is that he leaves behind him, in other men the conviction and the will to
carry on!” Walter Lippman
“The final test of a leader is that he leaves behind him, in other men the conviction and the will to carry on!”
Bob Pictured with Tom
Brogan, Philip Conboy &
Paul Brooks At the Forming
Of The Auburn Microd Club
During the summer of 1955 “Look magazine” did a article about this new sport of “Microd Racing”, that was happening in the upstate New York town of Skaneateles. Soon requests for plan books, racing rules, track lay-out drawings and any other information Bob could send them. One request came from as far away as Australia, Bob once remarked to me! As the summer of 1955 wore on, a man (Tom Brogan) approached Bob and wanted to know if the kids would want to race during “The New York State Fair” held the 7 days preceding Labor Day back then. They raced on the “main Straight-away of the stock car track, a large crowd attended the spectacle, and people cheered as the kids raced. When the race ended the winner had his picture taken with the governor of New York & was awarded a large trophy, later known as the “Governor’s Cup”. Smaller trophy’s, ribbons & patches were awarded to the other drivers participating. Microding was a hit! This exhibition race at the NYS Fair, greatly increased people’s awareness of Microding, soon Bob was receiving requests for help in starting/setting-up new Microd clubs through-out the central NY region. As the Spring of 1956 approached 3 new clubs were set to begin, Auburn, Camillus & Syracuse, which would race right on the NYS Fair Grounds! Also new in 1956 Bob formed M.T.T. - Microd Technicians Team, this was his name for his sanctioning body that would over-see the sport. At about this same time the New York State Microd Association (NYSMA) was formed, all 4 clubs would participate and the organizations stated purpose was to coordinate efforts & choosing drivers for the “New York State Championship Race” to be held during the NYS Fair each year. It was at this time Bob decided to start a newspaper about microds, the “Microd News” all told 6 issues were published that year. The paper helped introduce new perspective members to what microding was about. Also included were point standings for each of the 4 clubs, op-ed articles, feature articles about different drivers, as well as current happenings, jokes & cartoons. Microding continued to grow and in 1957 one more club were added, Homer (Now Mid-State) bringing the total to 5. It was about this time when Bob’s dad Edwin died and Bob was left to take over the family business. As time demands from the family business grew, Bob decided to withdraw himself from the center of Microding. With Bob fazing himself out, NYSMA which had been created just to coordinate efforts for the “State Fair Race”, became the sanctioning body that would now over-see the sport.
Bob was only with Microding a few short years, but he gave the sport everything it needed to survive. A plan book, track drawing, rules, point system etc., all put together in a very organized manor, easily duplicated. I know he was proud the sport is still going 50 years later, not many things last 50 years these days he said to me. So many of the documents or “systems” he put in place were so well thought out. Many are still in use today!
count the number
of seeds in one
God can count
in one seed!
Robert H. Schuller
Bob & A.J. on
October 5th 2003
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