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Tony Roberts (racing driver)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Antony Martin Roberts, (17 November 1938 – 2000), was an Australian race and rally driver.

Career

Roberts won the 1968 Datsun 3 Hour Trophy at Sandown in Melbourne with Bob Watson, giving the Holden HK Monaro GTS327 a debut victory. In 1969 Roberts, then a prominent rally driver competing for a major Holden dealership, and with just a single season of circuit racing experience, was invited by Harry Firth to join his newly formed Holden Dealer Team and went on to take victory co-driving with Colin Bond in the 1969 Hardie-Ferodo 500 HDT Holden HT Monaro GTS350.

Roberts and Bond won the 1970 Rothmans 12 Hour at Surfers Paradise, also in an HDT Monaro GTS350. Then Roberts drove a Holden Torana sports sedan which was used as a prototype for the Torana GTR XU-1 which debuted later in the year.

During the 1970 Hardie-Ferodo 500 Roberts was involved in a sensational incident late in the race when, after losing control, he launched his Ford XW Falcon GTHO Phase II backwards over Skyline before tumbling down the hillside.

Roberts made seven starts in the history of the Bathurst 1000, after his impressive debut with a third place (with Bob Watson) in 1968. Roberts (with Colin Bond) won Bathurst in 1969.

Roberts was the first three-time winner of Australia's Alpine Rally in 1966 (with Peter Haas as navigator), 1967 (with Peter Haas as navigator) and 1968 (with Mike Osborne as navigator).[1]

Tony Roberts died in 2000.[2]

Roberts was posthumously inducted into the Victorian Rally Hall of Fame in 2014. The award was accepted by his daughters Samantha and Tiffany.[3]

Personal life

Roberts was born Antony Martin, on 17 November 1938 at home in Walmer, Kent, England, the eldest of two sons.

In 1951 at the age of 12 years, Roberts, his parents and younger brother migrated to Australia as ten pound POMS. They settled in Melbourne.

Roberts attended Prahran Technical School and graduated at the end of year 10. He worked for a time at General Motors Holden as a draftsman.

In 1963, Roberts married Helen Marjorie Renfree, an accomplished equestrian.

In 1970, their first daughter Samantha Marjorie was born and in 1972, their second daughter Tiffany Elizabeth.

In 1976, Helen died at the age of 32 leaving Roberts to raise their young daughters single-handed.

Roberts continued to run and manage his own automative service business and later became a Saab dealer. Unfortunately in the mid 1980s, Roberts was forced to close his business and as a result, his mental health deteriorated.

Roberts suffered from mostly untreated clinical depression for the last 15 years of his life as a result of a cumulation of very challenging life events including widowhood and unresolved grief, single parenthood and the loneliness this entails, the difficult transition from sporting fame and accolades to a civilian life and losing his sense of identity with the closure of his business, at a time when men did not seek help and acknowledgement of mental health issues was taboo. Combined with type II diabetes that was poorly managed, Roberts died at home in 2000 at the age of 61.

Career Results

Complete Bathurst 500/1000 results

Year Team Co-Drivers Car Class Laps Pos. Class
Pos.
1968 Australia AM Roberts Australia Bob Watson Holden HK Monaro GTS327 D 129 3rd 3rd
1969 Australia Holden Dealer Team Australia Colin Bond Holden HT Monaro GTS350 D 130 1st 1st
1970 Australia The Tony Roberts Team Ford XW Falcon GTHO Phase II E 124 DNF DNF
1971 Australia Dusting & Co Pty Ltd Holden LC Torana GTR XU-1 D 125 17th 10th
1972 Australia Essendon Chrysler Australia Lawrie Nelson Chrysler VH Valiant Charger R/T E49 D NA DNF DNF
1976 Australia Clemens Sporting Car Servies Pty Ltd Australia Frank Porter Alfa Romeo Alfetta GTAm 1301cc – 2000cc 149 16th 4th
1977 Australia Bill Patterson Racing Australia Doug Chivas Holden LH Torana SL/R 5000 L34 3001cc – 6000cc 154 7th 6th

Complete Sandown Enduro results

Year Team Co-Drivers Car Class Laps Pos. Class
Pos.
1968 Australia Bob Watson Holden HK Monaro GTS327 D 116 1st 1st
1970 Ford XW Falcon GTHO Phase II E NA NA 5th
1971 Australia Dustings of Burwood Holden LC Torana GTR XU-1 D 124 3rd 2nd

References

  1. ^ http://www.hra.org.au/index.php?q=node/37
  2. ^ Greenhalgh, David, "Vale Tony Roberts" in Normoyle, Steve (Ed.) The Great Race 2001 (Chevron Publishing, 2001) p. 52.
  3. ^ https://www.vicrally.com.au/awards/hall-of-fame/
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Frank Gardner
Kevin Bartlett
Winner of the Sandown 3 Hour
1968
(with Bob Watson)
Succeeded by
Allan Moffat
John French
Preceded by
Bruce McPhee
Barry Mulholland
Winner of the Bathurst 500
1969
(with Colin Bond)
Succeeded by
Allan Moffat
This page was last edited on 6 February 2019, at 13:24
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