It is never an easy task to write some words about a person who has recently passed away, do I consider his early life, about which I know virtually nothing, his working life, which I know only a small part, or the part of his life which I was privileged to share?
Trevor Roberts, rally driver, motor club chairman, and committee member is the part of his wonderful life that I knew best and the part that I feel is the only one that I am qualified to speak about.
I first met Trevor, when as a 18-year-old, I joined Clitheroe Motor Club in 1968. Trevor was the chairman at the time and went out of his way to make any new member feel most welcome. Trevor and his navigator at the time, Roy Honeywell, were regarded as one of the leading lights of the Northwest road rally scene, so to me they were heroes. I did the usual rally apprenticeship for a few years, competing on as many rallies as possible without much success, when due to Roy’s decision to navigate for son Bill, Trevor asked me to take over the hot seat in his MiniSport sponsored Cooper ‘S’.
We enjoyed the best part of 5 years competing together in which time he taught me so much about the sport, and we managed to win a few events along the way. The thing that was very apparent was the way that Trevor was so well respected by all who knew him in the motorsport scene, his friendly manner and easy going nature was so evident, and people just loved him for it.
Of course, I made plenty of mistakes on rallies with Trevor, but he always accepted them with grace, later drivers I went with did not. One time I told Trevor to take a slot left down what was shown on the map as a white goer, dutifully Trev slotted left and shot down the white, as we progressed at some speed, the grass got longer and longer the further we went, and it became obvious that no one had ventured down this track before us. Eventually the sump guard beached itself on the centre of the road and we could go no further. Trevor didn’t shout but just said “No problem I have a shovel in the boot”. Oh great, I thought we’re saved. Trevor appeared with said shovel which was of a size very similar to that of the type you kept on a little stand next to the fire at home. I think I shouted some obscenity at poor Trevor. That was one of the differences between Trevor and me.
Trevor’s seating position in the mini was virtually in the back seat because of his height over 6ft., his seat was that far back. This helped to save us on an event in Wales, where we came across a very irate farmer blocking the road and gesticulating franticly. We stopped the car and the farmer came charging towards us, that is until Trevor opened his door and uncoiled his tall frame from the car like a jack in the box, whereupon the farmer with total shock and then some fear, ran to his tractor and shot off leaving the road clear. Trevor hadn’t needed to say a word.
I used to make fun of some of the quirky things on his mini, namely it’s A35 sidelights and especially the fact that it ran a dynamo rather than an alternator. Spectators could always tell when we were coming by the dim headlights and spotlights compared to everyone else. Trevor didn’t worry about such things, he used to say that the lights would be better if it got foggy and to be fair, he was pretty quick in the fog.
In later years Trevor became a steward on the Tour of Mull and subsequently a valued committee member of the 2300 Club. His wisdom was exceptional.
As well as rallying, Trevor’s other sporting passion was sailing, and I even trusted him to take me on a trip on Windermere. I certainly wouldn’t have trusted anyone else to transport me in a wooden vessel over water.
In his working life Trevor worked at Primrose Garage in Clitheroe, a dodgy second-hand car salesman, I used to call him, but that was far from the truth. I don’t think there has ever been a more trustworthy salesman you could possibly buy a car from. Indeed, I bought a few new cars from him over the years, and in that role his wonderful personality shone through.
The years of navigating for Trevor helped me on the way in my rallying career, for which I shall be eternally grateful and probably I never fully thanked him for. Sadly, now I never will get that opportunity, but I hope that he was proud of what he did for me.
To his wife Anne and all his family, my sincere condolences. To his many friends in the rally world, in the business fraternity of Clitheroe and the Rotary Club, we have all lost a true friend and an absolute gentleman.
Ian Grindrod, 2300 Club